Late last summer, when I arrived in New York City from India, there were two things that struck me. One that I heard more Gujrati (a native language spoken in the Western state of Gujarat in India) on the streets of NY than I did in Delhi and that Bollywood superstar Priyanka Chopra’s presence was bigger than I imagined. From billboards to buses Chopra’s piercing gaze, as the leading lady in the then soon-to-be-aired thriller series Quantico, in a strange way, helped me overcome some of my homesickness.

A steep climb

Since then, Chopra has not only gone on to prove that she deserves that attention but has in many ways superseded the expectations.

She’s clinched the People’s Choice Award for her role, has bagged a co-starring role in American blockbuster Baywatch, has been on the cover of Time magazine, is busy shooting the second season of Quantico, and continues to stare at us from cover pages of various American glossies.

Most Americans for the first time ever, paused and took note of an Indian actress and her world beyond the Hollywood hall of fame. Interestingly, the sudden global spotlight on Chopra caught even Indians slightly unaware. Though Priyanka was a superstar before she eyed Hollywood, if anyone, Indians expected Aishwarya Rai would have bridged the gap. However, somewhere along the way Indians realized that having a Hollywood moment is not just about walking red carpets and that’s where Priyanka managed to trump all the other girls.

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The timing

But what is it about Priyanka that made her rise so high? Was she at the right place at the right time? Did she use PR effectively, or was she willing to take the risk while others were wary? While her success may look like a mix of all of these, those who know her from the start of her career confirm that Priyanka had a latent fire that was just waiting to shine. In Bollywood, despite it being the biggest film industry in the world, a role, a recognition or even an ambition to go to Hollywood automatically catapults your status from a non-entity to a must-be-reported about star!

Moment of glory

So even though Bollywood may have a goldmine of talent in actresses such as Tabu, it’s Priyanka that has turned the tide in her favor with smart strategy and a well-carved plan. She’s here for the moment, until of course another Bollywood export such as Deepika Padukone steals the spotlight.