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    There's nothing between Akshay and me: Priyanka

    [Interview by Subhash K. Jha]
    Tuesday, September 28, 2004
    Priyanka Chopra is distraught at rumors linking her with Akshay Kumar as well as producer Harry Baweja''s son Harman.

    "I''m extremely vocal about my life. But I can''t be expected to admit to a relationship where there''s none," Priyanka told IANS in a telephonic interview from the US.

    "I feel very lost in the industry. It hurts me and my family and my relations within the industry," she said. Excerpts:

    What's all this about you and Akshay Kumar and producer Harry Baweja's son Harman?

    I've heard all hell has broken lose in Mumbai. I've been traveling for my world concert tour for the last 45 days. I had no idea all this was brewing. Let me go back a bit. I had a secretary, Prakash Jaju, whom I fired about a month ago. He was acting very funny.

    In what way?

    I really don't want to go on record with the details. He's being very malicious. Most producers and co-stars are talking about it. He's been sending out SMSs against me. He's been threatening me as well. I was warned about him by all my friends. But every time I questioned him he got emotional. I'm a softie at heart. And I got taken in. Obviously I got taken in very badly.

    Why did you depend so much on Jaju?

    You must understand; I was only 17 when I came into the industry. I was a complete outsider, didn't know anyone in Bollywood. So when he took over the reins of my career I had no one to question about him. I wasn't chummy with my co-stars. Nor did I socialize with them after (working) hours. I am basically shy. People mistake that for a superiority complex.

    I think my reserved attitude was a mistake. I should've reached out more frequently, then I'd have known what was going on behind my back. Jaju has been spreading all kinds of rumors. It's very hurtful because he was close not only to me but also to my family. I wonder why he's going to such lengths to harm a 23-year-old girl. I feel very lost in the industry.

    It hurts. It hurts me and my family and my relationships within the industry. I'm not that kind of a person. I know he'll continue to bad mouth me until he realizes he has nothing to gain from it. Let him. I don't want to say anything much about him.

    All I've to say is, I've nothing to do with either Akshay Kumar or Harman Baweja. It's always wonderful working with Akki. I respect him, and there's nothing beyond that.

    Are you denying a relationship with Harman?

    Yes, because there's none. I know Harman only because I'm doing his dad's film with John Abraham. Harman is a very sweet guy. I feel very bad for him. Harman's sister is a very dear friend of mine. So we hang around together. Harman and I do our dance classes together. That's where I first met him. I've nothing to do with either Akshay or Harman beyond a healthy friendship. Jaju has been suggesting that I have something to do with not just those two but also others, including a couple of my producers. I know my family and close friends believe in me.

    Why don't you take legal action?

    I've to find out how much damage has been done. I'm really not seeing anyone. When I do I'll be extremely proud of it. Why should I hide it? I'm extremely vocal about my life. But I can't be expected to admit to a relationship where there's none.

    A newspaper has published details of phone bills showing calls that you've made to Harman and Akshay?

    I don't know how far those details are true. I don't get itemized bills in my home. And if they pick out one or two days' details showing some calls made to Harman or Akshay, then there will be a hundred other days when my bill will show I've talked repeatedly to others. I talk on the phone all the time, and so does the rest of the industry. I wouldn't read too much into my telephone bills.

    I find this prying business extremely hurtful. My world tour has been going very well. I'm with Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Rani Mukherjee, Saif Ali Khan and Arjun Rampal who are so supportive. Then this awful thing happens. I'm dreading going back to Mumbai. I'm such an open and honest person. I never thought anyone would take advantage of me in this way. Such things spoil relationships. Harnam is 23-year-old. Why would I have any qualms about admitting to a relationship with him? But the fact is there's nothing on between us.

    This bothers me so much. My work is suffering. The day I found out my performance on stage went so badly. I fell and hurt myself. We're not used to all this. My family is very conservative at heart. To have all this muck thrown at their daughter is really hurting them.

    Are you bothered about what Akshay's wife would think?

    It's so sick. We work so well together. We've one more release coming up. It would've bothered me if I had known she was insecure about her husband. But I know she trusts him completely and he totally dotes on his wife and son. I've met Twinkle several times. She's wonderful. As a wife I'd be upset. But I want Twinkle to know there's absolutely nothing between us.

    You're looking very hot in the promos of "Aitraaz".

    It's a very important film for me. I don't want people to think of it as just another sexy thriller; because it is not.


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