Priyanka Chopra has done what no other Indian star has been able to do — cross over without sacrificing her stardom in either Bollywood or Hollywood.

Nickyanka!

Really, Cosmopolitan? The Priyanka Chopra-Nick Jonas coupling has achieved Brangelina status already? Virushka must be so annoyed. They had to work far harder on their romance to earn their moniker.

Cosmo’s definitive timeline of Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra’s summer 2018 romance, which went from “0 to 100 in the space of a year”, even comes with an all-important survey.

Will you be okay if Priyanka and Nick break up?

Barf. Sorry, I meant Barfi!

All this even before Priyanka Chopra’s mother has had the time to form a proper opinion of the American singer her daughter has brought home. This is India. Mummies matter. Madhu Chopra has said: “I’ve met him for the first time, so it’s too early to form an opinion.”

But the rest of us clearly do not have that problem.

The couple have landed in Mumbai with more force than a monsoon propitiated by a mass wedding of frogs. And the deluge of coverage has kept us apprised of every earth-shattering step in their journey.

Of course there was that mandatory pulling-the-blinds-up moment to avoid the paparazzi on the way from the airport, but not before we learnt that Nick was in a pink tee and blue denim jacket and PeeCee was dressed all in black.

There was a “hearty meal” enjoyed with family and friends, a rainy dinner date with mother and ten others at Yauatcha, Bandra-Kurla Complex.

There was a silly, let’s mug for the cameras ‘tip tip barsa paani’ rain dance with cousin Parineeti Chopra in Goa.

Actually, in its own VIP way, all of it sounded almost normal, like young people having a good time with friends, family, loved ones and Instagram. But in our celebrity-addled world, we are unable to just let them be. We have Nickyanka-ed it.

Media has to make up entire articles based on “exclusive” interviews with Parineeti Chopra who divulges sensational details like: “It was like a family trip and there were friends with us too. So it was a friends and a family trip actually. It was short and sweet. I was there for like 24 hours and I had a great time. It was a great trip.” Kudos to whoever had to build a story around that.

A source “quite close” to the Quantico star has said they are set to get engaged end of July or early August. That’s in addition to all the build-up with the Instagram koochie-cooing, where we learned that the couple had taken their relationship to the next level via Instagram flirting.

There have been those articles and comments where experts weighed in on the all-important subject of “does age difference matter in a relationship”. Remember all the similar articles that were written about Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor (age difference 10 years) or Shahid Kapoor and Mira Rajput (14 years)? Hmmm, thought so.

All of this proves one thing definitively, without a quantico of doubt. We need to get a collective life. And that means getting out of Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra’s lives.

Priyanka bringing a young gora boy home to meet her family is not news. Or at least it’s not as ground-breaking news as what she has already done in her career.

She has been Miss World. She has acted in Hollywood. She has starred in an American television series, choosing Quantico out of 26 scripts sent to her. She was listed among the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes in 2017. She has worked with UNICEF for over a decade. She’s been appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She has her own production company. She is the first Bollywood star signed by Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles. She’s recorded songs and released a single with Pitbull. She has been a voice artist for a Disney film and is apparently developing her own sitcom for ABC. She’s crossed over and crossed back and established herself as a true international star. She is an Indian face on a Manhattan billboard. She’s had her hits and her flops, but she’s done what no other Indian star has really been able to do — cross over without sacrificing her stardom in either -wood, Bolly or Holly.

Sure, she has generated some eye rolls with that first single and her statements about feminism when she called Quantico not “bra-burning feminist” but “empowerment”. But in that same interview she said: “I want to have done work worth being remembered for.”

Yet coming to India with Nick Jonas is what sends us into a frenzy?

Nick Jonas is a Billboard Hot 100 star in his own right, a Disney sensation and a member of People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive list, but compared to Priyanka Chopra and the odds she’s had to surmount to get to where she is, he could be ‘Nick Who’. He’s the one who has lucked out.

But one good thing has come out of the entire circus. It was not that long ago that Priyanka was being trolled for visiting a Rohingya refugee camp as the UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and being moved by the plight of the children. The Quantico episode about “Hindu terrorism” forced her to apologise for hurting sentiments and reaffirm her status as a “proud Indian”. Now all that has been buried by pictures of the backs of Priyanka and Nick at the airport going to Goa. Nick Jonas has been good for some whitewashing at least.

Sure, some of the same trolls will no doubt be doubly annoyed that Priyanka is adding insult to injury by finding a white man for herself instead of a suitable Indian boy, despite all that “proud Indian” protestation. And worst of all, she looks radiantly happy about it with little of the fake coyness we expect from our stars when they are in their “rumoured” dating phase.  For the trolls there’s no saat khoon maaf but Priyanka should not care.

It’s true Quantico is cancelled and Baywatch was nominated for the Golden Raspberry Awards. But I don’t even have to be her fan to recognise this is still Priyanka’s moment in the sun. And it’s not because of Nick Jonas. He’s just the cherry on top of the cake.

Of course, does this mean she’ll get paid as much as the biggest male stars in Bollywood?

Sandip Roy is a journalist, commentator and author.

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  1. Good one, but stardom brings with it its own share of issues. The celebrities cannot avoid the prying eyes of the paparazzi and have to deal with it. Sad, but true.

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