The Daily Fix

The Daily Fix: With apology for ‘Quantico’, Priyanka Chopra is latest victim of flimsy nationalism

Everything you need to know for the day (and a little more).

The Big Story: Outrage-o-rama

Priyanka Chopra has joined the list of Indian celebrities who have been forced to issue public statements of remorse for hurting hyper-nationalist sentiments. On Sunday, the actor apologised for the plot of an episode from the American television drama Quantico, in which she has played Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Alex Parrish since 2015. An episode titled The Blood of Romeo, which was aired on June 1, featured a Hindu extremist conspiracy to set off a nuclear explosion in New York City ahead of an India-Pakistan peace summit. The episode outraged Hindu nationalists, prompting Chopra and Quantico’s producer and broadcaster, ABC, to offer a public declaration of regret.

After being attacked for participating in the episode, Chopra felt compelled to reiterate her nationalist credentials. “I’m extremely saddened and sorry that some sentiments have been hurt by a recent episode of Quantico,” she said in a tweet. “That was not and would never be my intention. I sincerely apologise. I’m a proud Indian and that will never change.”

The controversy comes at a delicate time for Chopra. She is making a return to the Hindi film industry after her Hollywood sojourn. Quantico will wrap up in August after the end of its third season due to falling ratings. Chopra will be starring in the upcoming Bharat alongside Salman Khan, and is also the producer of films in several Indian languages. She is the mascot of tourism for Assam and endorses several brands.

Chopra had already stirred anger in May for criticising the eviction of Rohingyas from Myanmar. Her statements came after a trip to refugee camps in Bangladesh in her capacity as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. She was promptly trolled by Hindutva supporters, who are critical of the presence in India of a small number of refugees from the predominantly Muslim community. Chopra is well aware of the professional and personal costs she would have to pay should troublemakers threaten to boycott her.

Chopra has been the symbol of Indian global aspirations since she won the Miss World crown in 2000. Her ability to land roles in Quantico and in Hollywood productions such as Baywatch (2017) have been a matter of pride for Indians. But despite the international prominence that Quantico earned her, Chopra has been rudely reminded of the shallowness of Indian pride by her hyper-nationalist cousins back home.

Chopra’s retreat is easy to understand. Not so ABC’s note of apology. The station’s carefully worded statement emphasised that Quantico was “a work of fiction” that featured “antagonists of many different ethnicities and backgrounds”. The network’s capitulation has been criticised for being selective. Commentators have noted that ABC has never expressed remorse for depicting terror plots led by Muslims (the villains in Quantico include an Islamic terror group). Through its apology, ABC played along with the notion that that the existence of Hindu extremism simply isn’t possible – even in fiction.

The Big Scroll

  • Why the latest episode of Priyanka Chopra-starrer Quantico has enraged Indian fans.
  • Dear Mr Doval, we need to talk about Hindutva terror, writes Aijaz Ashraf.
  • Why saffron terror is not a myth, argues Ashok Swain.

Punditry

  • We need to amend the anti-defection law and forge political consensus to avert the subversion of democracy that is currently underway with speakers and governors more interested in being loyal to their parties than the Constitution, writes Kapil Sibal in the Hindu.
  • The Narendra Modi government has shown signs that it doesn’t mean to let Trump’s stance on Iran derail the oil trade with it, writes Kabir Taneja in Mint.
  • An efficient and sustainable solution for better prices really lies in getting the markets right by overhauling the agri-marketing infrastructure and its associated laws, argue Ashok Gulati and Shweta Saini in the Indian Express.

Giggle

Don’t miss

Behind the Shillong communal clashes are olld grudges, a real estate row and Khasi nationalism, reports Arunabh Saikia.

“For some, like the electronics store owner, the protests were not just an opportunity to settle old scores but a chance to ‘serve the Khasi people’. There is definitely a ‘communal angle’, he said, but quickly added that he has ‘nothing against genuine municipal workers’. He explained, ‘I have problems only with illegal migrants who have come and settled there and colonised the area.’”

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Movies can make you leap beyond what is possible

Movies have the power to inspire us like nothing else.

Why do we love watching movies? The question might be elementary, but one that generates a range of responses. If you had to visualise the world of movies on a spectrum, it would reflect vivid shades of human emotions like inspiration, thrill, fantasy, adventure, love, motivation and empathy - generating a universal appeal bigger than of any other art form.

“I distinctly remember when I first watched Mission Impossible I. The scene where Tom Cruise suspends himself from a ventilator to steal a hard drive is probably the first time I saw special effects, stunts and suspense combined so brilliantly.”  

— Shristi, 30

Beyond the vibe of a movie theatre and the smell of fresh popcorn, there is a deeply personal relationship one creates with films. And with increased access to movies on television channels like &flix, Zee Entertainment’s brand-new English movie channel, we can experience the magic of movies easily, in the comforts of our home.

The channel’s tagline ‘Leap Forth’ is a nod to the exciting and inspiring role that English cinema plays in our lives. Comparable to the pizazz of the movie premieres, the channel launched its logo and tagline through a big reveal on a billboard with Spider-Man in Mumbai, activated by 10,000 tweets from English movies buffs. Their impressive line-up of movies was also shown as part of the launch, enticing fans with new releases such as Spider-Man: Homecoming, Baby Driver, Blade Runner 2049, The Dark Tower, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and Life.

“Edgar Wright is my favourite writer and director. I got interested in film-making because of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the dead. I love his unique style of storytelling, especially in his latest movie Baby Driver.”

— Siddhant, 26

Indeed, movies can inspire us to ‘leap forth’ in our lives. They give us an out-of-this-world experience by showing us fantasy worlds full of magic and wonder, while being relatable through stories of love, kindness and courage. These movies help us escape the sameness of our everyday lives; expanding our imagination and inspiring us in different ways. The movie world is a window to a universe that is full of people’s imaginations and dreams. It’s vast, vivid and populated with space creatures, superheroes, dragons, mutants and artificial intelligence – making us root for the impossible. Speaking of which, the American science fiction blockbuster, Ghost in the Shell will be premiering on the 24th of June at 1:00 P.M. and 9:00 P.M, only on &flix.

“I relate a lot to Peter Parker. I identified with his shy, dorky nature as well as his loyalty towards his friends. With great power, comes great responsibility is a killer line, one that I would remember for life. Of all the superheroes, I will always root for Spiderman”

— Apoorv, 21

There are a whole lot of movies between the ones that leave a lasting impression and ones that take us through an exhilarating two-hour-long ride. This wide range of movies is available on &flix. The channel’s extensive movie library includes over 450 great titles bringing one hit movie premiere every week. To get a taste of the exciting movies available on &flix, watch the video below:

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of &flix and not by the Scroll editorial team.