"We physically didn’t look alike."
Priyanka Chopra has reflected on her casting in Mary Kom and said that the role should have gone to someone from Northeast India.
The actress added that while she was hesitant to take up the film, she did so because she was “greedy as an actor”.
Directed by Omung Kumar, Mary Kom was based on the life of the boxer from Manipur who won several honours, including an Olympic medal and multiple world championship trophies.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Priyanka Chopra said:
“When I played Mary Kom, I was very sceptical taking it on in the beginning because she was a living, breathing icon and she made a place for so many female athletes.
“Plus, I look nothing like her.
“She comes from the Northeast of India and I am from northern India and we physically didn’t look alike.
“In hindsight, the part should have probably gone to someone from the Northeast.
“But I was just greedy as an actor to get a chance to tell her story, because she inspired me so much, as a woman, as an Indian woman, as an athlete.
“When the filmmakers insisted I do it, I was just like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do it’.”
From boxing training to spending time with Mary and her family, Priyanka Chopra said that she prepped a lot for the 2014 film.
Priyanka revealed: “I went and met Mary, I spent time in her home, I met her children, I met her husband.
“I had to spend almost five months training to learn the sport, which is not easy, by the way…
“And to physically alter my body as well, to get into an athlete’s shape.
“So, physically, it was really tough, mentally, it was really tough.
“Because I physically didn’t look like her, I decided to embody her spirit.”
“So, I spent a lot of time with her so that she could educate me about what her choices were, why she made the choices that she did.”
At the time of its release, Mary Kom was deemed controversial for its casting choice, with some calling the decision to cast Priyanka instead of an actress from the Northeast “racist”.
Mary Kom won the National Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment in 2014.
Priyanka also won several awards for her performance, including the Screen Award, Producers Guild Film Award and Stardust Award.
Meanwhile, Priyanka Chopra will next be seen in Farhan Akhtar’s Jee Le Zaraa co-starring Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt in the lead.