Actress Priyanka Chopra on Friday clarified that calling Sikkim insurgency-prone was in context of her film “Pahuna…” but she is apologetic about hurting the sentiments of the people of the hill state, and hopes they forgive her.
“It saddens me that a comment I made during a recent interview at TIFF has caused this much pain when that was never the intention at all,” the Bollywood star said in a statement.
“I never meant to imply that Sikkim has an insurgency. My statement was in the context of the film that deals with people who seek refuge after they suffer from conflict.”
Calling Sikkim “a peaceful, green state with peace loving people”, Priyanka said: “I know my statements have hurt the sentiments and pride of the people of Sikkim and for that I truly apologise.”
On Thursday, the National Award winning actress came under attack for a statement she made in Toronto when she was discussing “Pahuna: The Little Visitors“, her Sikkimese production which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
She had told ET Canada: “This is a Sikkimese film. Sikkim is a small state in the northeast of India which never had a film industry or anyone who made films from there. And this is the first film ever that’s come out of that region because it’s very troubled with insurgency and troubling situations.”
The remark was widely slammed, with some Twitter users calling her “politically illiterate”. Priyanka sent a written apology to the authorities in Sikkim, but they wanted another apology in more “clear cut terms”.
Priyanka said: “I have always taken pride as being someone who is informed about the world but this time, some of the statements made were incorrect and while I should have been better informed about certain facts, I take full responsibility for what I said.
“I understand now that our film was not the first Sikkimese film to be made, but our aim has always been to provide local talent, both actors and technicians, a global platform to shine. My team and I have had a wonderful experience working in the state and with the local cast and crew and are thankful to the support extended by the government of Sikkim.”
A well-known face, Priyanka said she understands the “impact of the statements made and hope that the people and government of Sikkim find it in their hearts to forgive me”.
Directed by first-timer Paakhi A. Tyrewala, “Pahuna…” is about three Nepalese children who get separated from their parents, escape the Maoists in Nepal and flee to Sikkim.
It was launched as an association between Priyanka and her mother Madhu Chopra’s banner Purple Pebble Pictures and Sikkim’s Ministry of Tourism.