Priyanka Chopra seeks her second touchdown with the NFL

By Havovi Cooper
September 12, 2013

Priyanka Chopra is not a household name in the United States, but the Bollywood actress and singer will try to change that on Thursday night when she kicks off the National Football League’s Thursday Night Football game with her single “In My City.”

In this case, the city will be Foxboro, Massachusetts, where the New England Patriots will play the New York Jets. While Chopra will be in Mumbai, heart of the Indian film industry, the NFL Network will broadcast a video of her singing the song against a backdrop of football players and sportscasters.

“The most important thing is exposure,” she said. “(It’s an) intro to who I am and what I do.”

Chopra is a huge name in India of course, and wherever people gather to watch Bollywood hits around the world. But the 31-year-old has yet to make her name in a big way in the United States. It’s not that she and her people haven’t been trying. In July, she released the song “Exotic” with rapper Pitbull, and “In My City” came out as a collaboration with American rapper Will.i.am in 2012.

Now, “In My City” will be played at 13 games across the United States during the 2013 NFL season. It’s a step up for the song, which last year was aired during the pre-game shows.

“I have never measured my success by whether I can make it in Hollywood,” Chopra said. “For me it’s all about being creative. It doesn’t matter which language I do it in.”

Bolly-Holly crossovers are a rare act. Anupam Kher, Aishwarya Rai and Om Puri have done it now and again. Shah Rukh Khan, widely considered the king of Bollywood, has never made a big impression in the West, except perhaps at the immigration line. Widely reported in India, few people heard about it in the United States.

Another Bollywood legend, actor Amitabh Bachchan, made an appearance in Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” as Jewish gangster Meyer Wolfsheim, but it was more of a news item for Bollywood fans than anyone else.

If there’s a competitive advantage that she enjoys, Chopra said, it is embracing her “inner Desi.” What sets her apart from other pop singers in the United States, she said, is how her beats fuse in a unique way with her Indian heritage.

Still, the idea is to be an international hit rather than a crossover hit, she said. “This for me is not a crossover … I am an entertainer and this is what I do… I think it’s the right time for ethnicities not to matter on global scale.”

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