It’s a race to the finish between Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone for their Hollywood debut.
For now, at least, Deepika has the edge. The teaser trailer of XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage shows her smouldering with Vin Diesel with an ethnic intensity as she warns him that whatever he has come for, will fall short.
Viacom 18, Paramount Pictures partners in India, are planning a big January 20 release, a week ahead of the two big Bollywood releases Raees and Kaabil which opens on Republic Day Viacom has huge plans of capturing the market on release. They hope to give the two Bollywood biggies a run for their money with XXX.
Unofficial source from the company explains, “Deepika plays Serena the girl who gives Diesel tit for tat. She is no walkover in the plot. And she doesn’t play an Indian. The director allowed her to speak in the accent she wanted. She has a very substantial role in XXX, much more so than Priyanka Chopra in Baywatch. If you notice no leading lady opposite Dwayne Johnson ever has much to do. “
Viacom hopes to grab the Indian market on the strength of Deepika’s presence. “Deepika is not going to be seen in any film this year in 2016. In 2017 Deepika will be seen in only two films. XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage at the beginning of the year. And Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati at the end of the year.”
Interestingly she plays a kind of a beauteous warrior in both the films.
Incidentally Baywatch will also be released by Paramount-Viacom in India. But 4 months after Deepika’s XXX. Priyanka, insist unconfirmed reports, is part of a large ensemble cast in Baywatch.
Says a well-informed source, “Priyanka is important but not pivotal to Baywatch. Let’s put this way. Priyanka’s Indian fans would be disappointed by the length of her role. But her newly-acquired fan following in the West would be delighted to see her play the bad girl. Deepika in XXX would be a surprise to the West. They haven’t seen her do anything in the US before. She will be a revelation in the West. At home the Bollywood audiences would for once feel the West has been fair to one of their stars.”
XXX will release in 5 languages in India and will have more prints and screens in India than any other Hollywood film including The Jungle Book.
In brief Deepika as Serena will rock the desi theatres as much as she did with her Mastani act. Out West she will get more footage and attention than any other major or minor Indian actress.