R E V I E W – A U T O B I O G R A P H Y
In the fifth season (2016-17) of Koffee With Karan, Priyanka Chopra Jonas was asked an interesting question by the show host, Karan Johar — what would she name her autobiography if one was ever made? With sheer laughter (and kind of just for the sake of fun, it seemed), Priyanka replied with the name Fire on Ice. Little did we know, by the second month of 2021, we would have it in our hands safe and sound, but with a different name.
Unfinished, a memoir by Priyanka Chopra Jonas, has been published on 9 February, 2021. The book itself is already a hit with the unfolding of both Priyanka’s personal and professional adventures, achievements, and hardships. From being a girl of a traditional Indian family to one of the most iconic figures of Hollywood — Priyanka’s twenty-year-long journey was as tremendous as it was difficult.
To start, the first chapter of this book opens up with the title “Monaco Biscuits and Ladakhi Tea”, which gives the audience a very brief, yet well-put narration of Priyanka’s childhood and family background. She has mentioned her only aspiration was to join Aeronautical Engineering but the sudden prize of Miss World 2020 remarkably changed everything. It was the support from her parents that helped her to move forward in every phase of her life, especially towards Bollywood. Priyanka’s admiration for her parents, their wisdom, and their sacrifice is incomparable and unavoidable throughout her writing.
From the early phase of Priyanka’s life, she had been confronting herself to adjust. In her words,
“As a young girl and then a teenager, it was freeing to know that I wouldn’t be defined forever by who I’d been or what phase I was going through at any given moment.”
Her student life in the United States shares a glimpse of racism, bullying, and the oppression that she constantly felt for being an Indian. Being called names like Brownie/Curry seemed to be a part of her daily life. But at the same time, the reinvention of new things, places, cultures was always fascinating to Priyanka by following the “be like water” method taught by her father.
Unfinished is a book that also exposes sexism, favouritism, and shaming culture in the Bollywood Film Industry. Priyanka’s fair share of ups and downs reveals the bitter truth of how the newcomers were/are treated in the industry.
What is more interesting is that throughout the entire memoir, not for once did it feel like Priyanka is a huge star. The choice of words, the tone, the humour, along with the narration style — everything was reflective of her genuine self to the world that was unknown till now. Contrary to popular belief, the road to Hollywood was not too easy for her either. A rising star of Bollywood, like Priyanka Chopra, had to go through multiple auditions just to prove herself fit for the role of Alex Parrish (an FBI recruit in Quantico). It is no surprise that Hollywood has always been different to those who are outsiders, but Priyanka, with her intelligence and bravery, outsmarted that too. She wrote in her book,
“It seemed to me that once South-Asian characters played ethnicity-defined roles, they often got stereotyped into a box, and I didn’t want to fall prey to that Hollywood standard.”
Fame began to come along with the success of Quantico (2015). Also, the first-ever Hollywood film Baywatch (2017), the Met Gala appearance, the Vogue and Elle UK magazines’ covers (solo), and the UNICEF Ambassadorship — everything was shaping Priyanka altogether as both an actress and a human being.
The description of this whole book is utterly compelling and personal. Several chapters of the memoir refer to Priyanka’s heart-warming relationships with the two men of her life — her late father and her husband, Nick Jonas (a member of the pop-band Jonas Brothers). The description of her marriage with Nick seems quite fairytale-like — appealing and beautiful.
Unfinished shares an insight into what it takes for an ordinary South-Asian girl to reach her goals, fulfill dreams, and yet, stay down to earth. It is refreshing, inspiring, and captivating. As a writer, Priyanka carved everything meticulously in her writing. The authenticity in this autobiography is good enough to offer a positive impression to the readers and her fans all over the world.
Go ahead, folks! A book that has a story of pushing the boundaries is definitely worth the read!
Fiana is a human-ish writer by day and a Scorpio coven witch by nightfall. Reach out to her at @_ffikipedia_ to share any thoughts.