Priyanka Chopra Jonas on ‘The White Tiger’ and the Race to Be ‘The First Jonas to Win an Oscar’

Also in this episode: "Minari" writer and director Lee Isaac Chung, and the Awards Circuit Podcast roundtable.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas
Caitlin Cronenberg for Variety

The White Tiger” was the kind of story that Priyanka Chopra Jonas was craving to be involved with creatively. “I’m really looking for a trajectory where I have the ability to play various characters and genres and not be bogged down or put into a box or a stereotype of what I can do,” she tells Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast. “That was my career in India. Pinky [her character] is a product of modern, urban India that is in touch with the world. It’s educated, understands the opportunity, rights and trajectories. That is what the movie is about.”

With upcoming roles in “Matrix,” the new sequel from Lana Wachowski, and her role as Pinky Madam in Ramin Bahrani’s “The White Tiger,” the actress and executive producer is finding her stride and challenging herself as a creative artist. Listen to the podcast below!

“The White Tiger” tells the story of Balram Halwai (Independent Spirit nominee Adarsh Gourav), an Indian driver who uses his wit and cunning ways to make his rise from poor villager to successful entrepreneur in modern India.

The film’s bright spot is Priyanka Chopra Jonas as the beautiful and spicy Pinky, where she commands her scenes, providing a call-to-action to Hollywood producers: use her for your upcoming projects, or better yet, write one for her. We spoke with Chopra Jonas about how she discovered the novel written by Aravind Adiga, her earliest influences in film and television growing up in India, and how she’s lovingly supported by her husband, singer-songwriter Nick Jonas, who says she’ll likely be the first “Jonas to win an Oscar.”

The talented actress also dishes what she can on her role in the sequel of “Matrix” and her yearning to get into directing her own film in the near future. She also gets very candid about growing up and not knowing that she could be an actor. “I didn’t know it was a professional choice,” she says.

Also in this episode, writer and director Lee Isaac Chung talks with Variety artisans editor Jazz Tangcay about his film “Minari,” which has been buzzing with awards attention. He discusses his process of making the film (distributed by A24), along with his reaction to the film’s submission at the Golden Globes in the best foreign language film category, despite the very American themes it explores.

And the Awards Circuit Podcast roundtable discusses the nominations for the Independent Spirit Awards in both film and television, along with the winners of the National Board of Review that were announced. We also discuss John Lee Hancock’s “The Little Things” with Denzel Washington and Jared Leto, plus Fisher Stevens’ “Palmer” with Justin Timberlake and Ryder Allen.

Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, hosted by Clayton Davis, Jenelle Riley, Jazz Tangcay and Michael Schneider (who produces), is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every Thursday.