My mum always said to me, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Obviously, a career in journalism is not exactly conducive to that sentiment. But most of us know the very thick line that separates criticism drawn out of data points and randomly spewing vitriol mixed with slander. Turns out, the good folks at The Cut, ironically New York Magazine’s feminist-leaning, women’s vertical, don’t. Or, as Joey would say after reading what they’ve written about Priyanka Chopra – “you’re so far past the line, you can’t even see the line. The line is a dot to you.”
A few hours ago, The Cut dropped a bombshell article titled ‘Is Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas’s Love for Real?’. It’s the question that’s been plaguing the (small) minds of all those, who can’t fathom why a 26-year-old white boy would want to marry a woman 10 years his senior. Never mind that she is a global icon in her field, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, an astute and successful businesswoman, and all round kick-ass woman. Oh, and the little matter of her being crowned Miss World, back when she was a teenager, not even a woman. And anyone can tell you, Priyanka Chopra the woman beats PC the teen, when it comes to raw power of presence and style. And how.
Priyanka’s long, long, long list of achievements and recommendations — not that one needs to have those to be worthy of someone’s love — are brushed aside as the writer of the piece enumerates all the ‘facts’ that support her opinion, which is this: “Nicholas Jonas married into a fraudulent relationship against his will this past Saturday.”
She groans and moans about Priyanka’s lavish lifestyle, her expensive tastes, and the whirlwind nature of their romance. And arrives at the wholly logical conclusion that in 2016, when Nick was 24 and Priyanka was 34, it was just the right age for her to want to settle down, while a “bachelor like Nick” wouldn’t even be thinking of it. The writer then details how Nick has a long glorious history of being smitten by older women, and how it was always Priyanka’s plan to make him her “forever bitch”, turning dating into a job. Her scheming nature was revealed by the over-indulgent public spectacle that was their wedding.
The writer of the piece clearly has zero understanding of how Indian weddings work. What seems like some giant, manipulative conspiracy by a calculating star to deprive America of one of its not-so-eligible bachelors is actually pretty standard fare for the Indian moneyed. Even a half-hearted google search about Indian weddings would have told the writer that. Hell, a cursory glance at Deepika Padukone’s wedding photos, the other Indian export to Hollywood, would have been sufficient to disabuse the writer of this notion.
More infuriatingly, this propensity to cast a 26-year-old grown-ass man as a gullible little lamb that could be manipulated by an ageing (the barbs were pretty pointed about PC’s mid-30s imagined desperation) global superstar/scam artist is incredibly offensive, sexist and racist. Priyanka’s current and continued stardom at home far exceeds Nick Jonas’ once-upon-a-time relevance in America’s entertainment landscape.
While she rules Bollywood, and is making waves in Hollywood, he is not even the most popular among the Jonas trio! This too, the writer would know, if they only paused long enough to put the claws back in and put the research cap on. But why would they — it’s easier to paint the brown girl as the scheming shrew trying to weasel her way into the supposedly superior white life, never mind that said brown girl has achieved more than said white boy is likely to. There was so much conjecture about how she’s manipulated him into a wedding “beneath” him, but not even a passing consideration for the notion that he might have hitched his rather mediocre wagon to her rising star???
The article enumerates Priyanka’s love for excess, by pointing out the unused home theatres in her Mumbai and NYC homes. When you’re traipsing around the world shooting, launching businesses, receiving awards, performing your duties as a UN ambassador, and planning a wedding, some times, tragically, you forget to take the bubble wrap off your shiny new gadgets. But why should that stop a pissed off writer from shredding a person’s reputation to bits, less than a week after their wedding, no less.
I don’t know why owning an unused home theatre (or ten) is of any relevance here. It’s not as if Nick Jonas suddenly finds himself saddled with bills, or is being asked to pay for his wife’s extravagant lifestyle. If anything, it’s just further proof that she is already independently ridiculously rich.
The writer complains that when Nick messaged Priyanka on Twitter, she told him “offensively” that her team had access to direct messages on her social media account, which somehow means that she was trying Nick out for size as a partner, in her desperation to get married. Call me old fashioned, but isn’t it common sense courtesy to tell the person messaging you that the medium they’ve chosen to message you on is accessible to people who shouldn’t be privy to a private conversation? How that got turned into one more cog in her cleverly crafted plan to snag herself a Hollywood husband, is a question that should boggle any sane mind.
As someone who has interviewed PC a few times, and anyone who has done even basic research on her will know that it’s a matter of public record that when Priyanka falls in love, she falls hard, fast, and deep. She’s said so herself, on multiple occasions. So unless she was setting the stage for a future romance — with a Disney has-been, — this fits right in with what we know of her, what we’ve all known of her.
You don’t have to love, or even like, a celebrity or their life choices to accord them with the basic degree of respect and civility that one accords to a fellow human-being, especially while speaking about them in public. You can find the over-the-top celebrations, co-ordinated social media releases, pithy sound-bytes, and general overexposure of their wedding day, tasteless, without feeling the need to eviscerate the people behind them. You can even comment on the ridiculousness of the goings on, and maybe get under their skin. But to actually write a piece of poisonous in its intent… Wow. It’s a new low.
*The opinions expressed in this piece are that of the author, and do not reflect the stance of the organisation.