"Whatever happens, panties should be seen."
Multitalented actress, model, and singer Priyanka Chopra Jonas, has gone one step further, releasing her debut novel Unfinished (2021).
Priyanka’s book became a number one best-seller in America before its official release in the UK by Penguin on February 11, 2021.
Unfinished climbed the charts to best-seller level on Amazon in the UK, India, and America.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas had planned on writing a book for a long time and utilised her time in lockdown to pursue her ambition.
From being an outlier in Indian society to feeling like a misfit in America, Priyanka digs deep in Unfinished. Priyanka left few experiences out of Unfinished.
The only aspect she wasn’t keen on mentioning was her relationships with fellow Bollywood stars.
Unfinished, she explains, focuses on her journey. Thus, other stars were absent from Unfinished to detail her life and route to success.
Of course, her whirlwind romance with beau Nick Jonas is an exception in Unfinished. Priyanka details how she met her husband and had a happy ending.
However, not everything was always picture-perfect in the life of Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
Priyanka spoke with DESIblitz about her memoir Unfinished. She also gifted a copy to a renowned British Pakistani as well as having a special rendezvous with Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh.
Round Table with Priyanka
Priyanka Chopra Jonas had a round table talk on January 14, 2021. Upon invitation, the UK South Asian media had a chance to present Priyanka with questions about Unfinished before its official release.
Priyanka, firstly, explained to DESIblitz the genesis of Unfinished. She stated that there’s a lot more she wants to do in her life and achieve. She said:
“I’m rather young to be writing a memoir.”
Priyanka continued that Vogue asked her in 2017 if she ever wrote a book, what would it be called. Priyanka answered that it would be called “Unfinished” and in 2021, that is the name of her memoir.
Writing Unfinished was not without its challenges. Priyanka reveals that Pam Cannon, her publisher, wanted her to delve further into her experiences.
Priyanka struggled, initially, to fully express her experiences in her book:
“I’ve been a very private person.
“Just because I’m a public person and I’ve been a public person for more than half my life doesn’t mean I owe an explanation to everyone about my choices, decisions, or my life.
“I’m not a head-of-state. I’m just an actor.”
Priyanka is optimistic about embracing change. She says:
“I don’t know how to write a book. I just kind of went with it.”
Priyanka elaborates that she also learnt a lot while writing. She also followed her publisher’s advice and redrafted Unfinished. She dove into herself and shared more with her readers, despite having reservations.
Priyanka is glad she went on to follows Pam’s advice. She is also “really grateful” that Pam pushed her with Unfinished.
Thus, Priyanka transcended her boundaries and discussed how people change over time.
Priyanka states that she tries to be true to her “evolution.” Priyanka welcomes new versions of herself into her life and proudly tells people that she is “a different person” if people expect her to “stay the same.”
Unfinished is a best-seller in India and America. Hence, Priyanka’s book achieved great success across cultures. Priyanka details her ability to prevail across cultures:
“I’m not someone whose afraid of new cultures or new things.”
Priyanka welcomes new cultures and explains that her first time celebrating the American holiday, Thanksgiving, was after marriage. She is very liberal in this context and considers it a learning curve.
Priyanka appreciates the chances she has been given and how she manages to balance working in two vastly different countries. She spoke about her work, saying:
“I’m one of the very few people that have had the opportunity to work in two of the largest film industries in the world.”
Despite her success in the two largest movie industries, Priyanka remains humble:
“This is a new career in a new country for me, and I’m trying to do the best.”
In light of this, Priyanka offers South Asian youth advice about writing. She discusses how audiences have changed and that there will always be an audience due to technology.
Priyanka acknowledges the lack of South Asian representation in Hollywood. She is enthusiastic about South Asian writers getting involved and “implores” it.
Priyanka also gives a message to South Asian writers:
“If you have any stories, definitely come to me. I’m really looking for them.”
Priyanka is working with South Asian writers and is “craving” more content. In terms of her writing, she confidently says that everyone who is mentioned in Unfinished has read it.
Her husband, Nick Jonas, of course, is included in the list of readers. She isn’t quite sure about his review:
“I don’t know what he thought about it.”
However, it is clear what the rest of the world thinks about Priyanka Chopra Jonas’ book, Unfinished.
Her debut novel climbed to the top of the charts in its pre-sales in America and India. It is a best seller.
Unfinished details the life of Priyanka Chopra Jonas from childhood to her marriage with Nick Jonas in America. Her strong bond with her forward-thinking parents in India is depicted clearly.
Priyanka says of her parents:
“They never treated me as merely a child – they treated me always as a person.”
Despite growing up in a conservative country, her parents were progressives. They went against tradition and had a love marriage.
They encouraged their daughter, Priyanka, to pursue her education. Her parents were military doctors and despite their values, the family had to face discrimination for having a daughter.
Priyanka recalls her grandmother telling her of phone calls she received after Priyanka was born. “But it’s just a girl,” people would say.
The gender discrimination from an Indian cultural lens is evident. Priyanka goes on and vividly remembers a baby girl being abandoned under a car simply because of her gender.
Priyanka writes in Unfinished:
“Mothers fussed over their sons but were afraid to discuss their daughters’ problems.”
Priyanka cries about the mistreatment of girls. The misogynistic undercurrents of Indian culture are also presented in Unfinished.
However, those experiences served as a path to forming Priyanka’s humanitarian values, which she says in her memoir. She is an advocate for children, especially girls.
Priyanka’s open-minded parents allowed her to move to America and stay with relatives there. In typical Desi fashion, Priyanka stayed with her extended family. In America, she became aware of being different due to her brown skin.
Priyanka highlights colourism and racism in Unfinished as well as her own mistakes with promoting skin whitening. Though, Priyanka humbly apologises for her mistake and hasn’t repeated the offence in more than a decade.
Priyanka also pinpoints other aspects of American culture she found shocking. For example, she didn’t experience the same benefits in America as being a middle-class kid in India i.e. no maids and chefs.
She learnt to make her own bed and do laundry in America.
There were five kids and two adults sharing a one-bedroom apartment. Priyanka reveals the depths of her experiences. Priyanka portrays the hard work she put in for her glitz and glamour lifestyle she now leads.
There were restrictions on Priyanka, whilst she was cared for by her Kiran Masi (auntie). Namely, no boyfriends. It was humbling to read that Priyanka had the same rules as most Desi kids.
Priyanka also divulges more about the racism she experienced. She was told:
“Brownie, go back to your country!”
Unfortunately for young Priyanka, her school guidance counsellor did not address the situation. Back then, Priyanka explains, there weren’t any repercussions or school policies addressing racism.
Though, Priyanka hopes this has changed.
Priyanka made a return to India, and before her pre-board exams, she prepared for her beauty pageant. This is significant as many South Asians in Desi countries and in the diaspora normally have to prioritise education.
Priyanka speaks of her family who are “respected professionals” and her traditional route was to “get a good job.” In this way, Priyanka was expected to pursue academia “not parade around in swimsuits and high heels.”
Evidently, Priyanka is an anomaly in India and America. Despite this, she surpasses the barriers in both cultures. In the book, there is a lot more about her iconic Miss India win:
“I’m dark, I’m dusky,” she thought about herself against her light-skinned competitor.”
Priyanka learnt to embrace her complexion with her win. Though, one question remained on her mother’s mind.
Even when Priyanka won Miss World, her mother, in South Asian tradition considered what would happen with Priyanka’s studies.
Her family had no choice but to accept Priyanka’s alternative path in life – that of stardom.
However, her home city wasn’t so accepting. Cruel gossip spread about Priyanka and her family in India.
Priyanka moves into acting and discusses “masala movies” and how Bollywood produces double the number of films as Hollywood annually.
Even in the acting world, Priyanka stayed true to her values. She was told by a producer:
“Whatever happens, panties should be seen.”
As a result, Priyanka quit the next day. Priyanka went against the mould and created her own shape in the world of Bollywood. She mentions how:
“Painfully ironic that in a country populated by people who are all shades of brown, the standard of beauty is white.”
Despite this standard, Priyanka persevered with her “dusky” skin. She not only made a success of her modelling, acting and singing career in Bollywood, but she also managed to excel in Hollywood.
Priyanka also openly speaks about her failures as well as her successful ventures in Unfinished.
“Is there a world where those who are blessed with more may build a larger table rather than building a higher fence?”
Priyanka demonstrates her hardworking, Indian mindset in the face of racism. After her song In My City came out, she, unfortunately, was met with many hateful comments.
Priyanka responds with how she dealt with the abuse:
“Just keep being an achiever and keep achieving.”
Priyanka is accused of being too bold after she moved to America. The role of Alex Parrish was altered to include her ethnicity.
It was a remarkable achievement for Priyanka as the first South Asian to play the lead character on a network show.
One of Priyanka’s favourite scenes was when she, as Alex, has sex in the backseat of a car. Subsequently, Priyanka had to face criticism from the Desi community.
Priyanka isn’t afraid to dive into cultural differences and speaks about how she had to adapt when she transitioned into Hollywood, including issues such as Indian hand gestures.
Later, in Unfinished, Priyanka describes the heart-breaking death of her father. She was like a “zombie.”
Though the death of Priyanka’s father will never escape her, there is hope towards the end of Unfinished.
Priyanka gets her happy-ending when she meets her now-husband, Nick Jonas. Her hubby travelled to India and went through the Indian wedding traditions for Priyanka.
South Asian culture is clearly close to Priyanka’s heart as she comments:
“South Asians so often come together for their own.”
With this observation in mind, Priyanka aims to create more diversity in Hollywood.
Priyanka discloses that she is working with Mindy Kaling on a comedy, centring on the differences between Indian Americans and Indians raised in India.
Priyanka approached both Indian and American culture with an open mind and has made herself a success globally with her hardworking and unfaltering attitude.
Unfinished Signals a Message of Peace
Shahid Malik, Director of Business Development with a financial services firm based in Mayfair, may seem like an unusual alliance for Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
However, Shahid’s connection to Priyanka goes back twenty-one years.
Shahid helped Priyanka’s parents on a flight to attend Priyanka’s national parade after her Miss World win. He kindly ensured they made the flight on time and had them upgraded to First Class.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas is not one to forget kindness. She sent Shahid a signed copy on February 10, 2021, and referred to him as “Shahid Uncle.”
Priyanka’s gesture meant much more to Shahid. It is a symbol of peace, Shahid says, between an “Indian living abroad” and a “Pakistani in the UK.”
Shahid emphasises how touched he was by Priyanka:
“Most importantly, being a Pakistani, offering help to an Indian and that being appreciated is extremely important.”
Shahid says he had a connection with Priyanka’s father “as a brother.”
Twenty-one years later, Shahid has “tears” in his eyes from the message of unification – a Pakistani helping two Indians and their daughter appreciating the gesture.
Unfinished is more than a book to Shahid. It is a step forward between Indians and Pakistanis. Shahid identifies key similarities between citizens of the two countries:
“We are the same people. We all want love and happiness and peace in our lives.”
Shahid propels people to read Unfinished. He says it “carries a big message.” Unfinished is a memoir that Shahid compels young people to read. He states:
“It’s worth it, it’s worth every word that’s written in the book.”
Shahid recognises that Priyanka encourages people to believe in their abilities and be happy and confident with themselves.
For those who haven’t yet bought Unfinished, Shahid says:
“When somebody as important as her remembers little things in her life that made her successful, you want to copy that success.
“You want to go on the same trajectory. The only way is to read it.”
Shahid is an avid supporter of Unfinished. He is touched by Priyanka remembering simple acts of kindness and stresses the importance of Priyanka’s humble character.
A Night in With Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Ranveer Singh
The “Ultimate Showman” of Bollywood, Ranveer Singh, paired up with one of Forbes “Most Powerful Women”, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, to discuss Unfinished.
DESIblitz had the privilege to attend “A Night in with Priyanka Chopra Jonas” on February 15, 2021. There was lots of laughter and chemistry between these two friends.
Ranveer took time out from his filming of Circus to support Priyanka in the publication of her memoir. During the conversation, Ranveer praises Priyanka:
“You truly amaze me with a number of things. Your kaleidoscopic achievements and multitalented personality.”
He continues complimenting Priyanka, alluding to the fact that she has become a global icon:
“You became a big Bollywood star, and then you became an international pop star.”
Ranveer lists off Priyanka’s achievements and ability to transition into a variety of roles. Ranveer asks Priyanka about her choice of photo for her book.
Priyanka coyly responds:
“Because I looked really smart. I looked like I knew what I was talking about.”
Ranveer discussed Priyanka’s multifaceted personality and jokes:
“I don’t know which PC is going to meet me today. PC has so many facets and dimensions to her personality.”
He emphasises her ability to adapt to her environment and surprise him. He mocks that he doesn’t know if he’ll meet the Priyanka he knew from the 90s:
“This Met Gala- walking, American-talking diva?”
The pair laugh about drunken adventures from the past in India. Then, they proceed in talking about Priyanka’s transition into Hollywood at the same time as Ranveer’s wife, Deepika Padukone.
Priyanka comments that she was far more confident starting in Hollywood as she had experience in Bollywood. Priyanka’s confidence came from the varied and high-profile teams she had worked with. She remarks:
“And that confidence definitely came from working with you.”
Ranveer elaborates on the work they did together:
“We’ve been lovers, we’ve been spouses.”
Ranveer and Priyanka have an extensive history. Ranveer mentions his “sexy, little scar” that he gained in a movie with Priyanka.
The conversation turned sombre with the mention of the death of Priyanka’s father. Priyanka was back on set twenty-four hours after her father’s death.
Ranveer admires Priyanka:
“I haven’t seen anyone with that degree of professionalism.”
Priyanka’s focus on work is truly admirable. She recognises that work is her escape that she can “dive” into. Their chat turned much lighter again as Nick’s name pops up. Priyanka said:
“My husband has a much better wardrobe than mine.”
Priyanka Chopra Jonas often wears her husband’s fashionable clothing. Ranveer highlighted how glamourous Priyanka is and his “love” for The White Tiger (2021).
Priyanka was quick to return the compliment:
“I see that point of effort that you also put into your characters and how much you invest in that.”
Priyanka addressed that she had to do a virtual book tour due to COVID-19. She was looking forward to her book tour after seeing the likes of Michelle Obama promote her book.
Despite having to promote her book in unprecedented times, Priyanka remains optimistic:
“We all do the best we can.”
Ranveer goes on to say that several aspects of life are left unfinished. Though, he states that this can be positive:
“I think you move forward in life naturally.”
Priyanka had put Ranveer on the spot, asking him what his memoir would be called. Ranveer’s book: “A life well-lived.”
Perhaps taking the lead from Priyanka, Ranveer will take the title he gave in an interview to fruition.
He addresses Unfinished to Priyanka as “another feather in your cap.”
Priyanka Chopra Jonas has added another attribute to her endless list of achievements. Her journey in Unfinished is remarkable, from a young woman set to pursue academia in India to a Bollywood sensation and American star.
Unfinished is a memoir that has started to bridge the rift between Indians and Pakistanis, where the South Asian star is an idol to the Desi community.
Unfinished by Priyanka Chopra Jonas is available in all major bookstores and can be purchased on Amazon.