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Happy birthday, Priyanka Chopra. Sorry I betrayed you - by Subhash K Jha

A senior entertainment journalist reflects on his relationship with the Quantico star.

Updated: Jul 18, 2018, 11:24 AM IST

In July, India's best entertainment export since Satyajit Ray - and I say this without an iota of irony - Priyanka Chopra, is going to be 36. This birthday comes with a new love-relationship in this global desi girl's life.

I have to confess I had never heard of Nick Jonas until our Priyanka Chopra started dating him. Nick probably saw Priyanka dancing to 'Desi girl' in Karan Johar's Dostana and made up his mind.

I also have to confess that Nick is not the first American entertainer to date Priyanka Chopra. Years ago, she dated the Hollywood superstar Gerard Butler for a while. It was a big boost for her image and perhaps on a personal level too she felt flattered.

She could barely contain her excitement when she spoke about Gerard. This brief relationship finished off her other, more durable relationship with Shahid Kapoor, who never forgave Priyanka this fleeting betrayal. Not that she ever asked him for forgiveness. But we can effectually say that when it came to the murder of her relationship with Kapoor, the Butler did it. Ha ha.

The other relationship that was lost during this Gerard phase in Priyanka's stormy life was the one she shared with me. At the time, she trusted me unconditionally as a friend and confided excitedly about her new interest in the American hunk. Neck deep into tabloid journalism, I foolishly wrote about it.

It destroyed her trust in me. Years later, Priyanka still refuses to forget and forgive. I have made many attempts to reach out to her. But apart from a 'Thank You, Subhash' that I get as acknowledgement for my birthday greetings to her each year at this time, there is no acknowledgement of my existence. A friend who tried to patch us up recently came back with Priyanka's remonstrance regarding my betrayal.

I guess I will just have to live with my guilt about the betrayal of Ms Chopra. And at the same time, I feel proud of how much she has achieved in the international arena, all on her own steam. Not that her American movies so far have given her substantial space or respectability. Her Hollywood debut in Baywatch was pretty much disastrous. Her second Hollywood outing in A Kid Like Jake is far more dignified. Though she has only a few scenes in the film, she has performed them well.

The best thing to have happened to Priyanka in America is… no, not Quantico (the American series that started on a high note whittled to a whimper when she featured in an allegedly anti-national episode) but Nick Jonas. Nick, who once dated the very hot sexy and saleable Selena Gomez, looked very comfortable during his visit to India to do 'pari-paona' to Priyanka's mother.

But is the couple getting married? I doubt it. Not in the near future at least. There are lots of rumours flying around about an engagement during Priyanka's birthday. But as she turns 36 on July 18, I suspect she has much bigger plans than marriage. Priyanka always was a dreamer. She is one of those lucky dreamers whose dreams come true.

I can't wait to see where she goes next. Happy Birthday, Priyanka. And, sorry.

(Subhash K Jha is a film critic and movie expert)

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)