Breaking the Norms
Priya Kansara laughs from the other side of the screen and plays along. Twenty-six years old, British but with roots in India, after a cameo in Bridgerton, she is the protagonist of the very successful Polite Society, directed by Nida Manzoor and now in cinemas for Universal. She plays an Indian girl called Raia passionate about martial arts who would like to become a stuntwoman and who does not believe in arranged marriages even for her sister. Her acrobatics fill the screen but the thing she cares about most is something else. Girls, she maintains, have the right (and the duty) to choose their own destiny.
Does she feel that her character, Raia, is similar to her? “We are very similar in wanting something that can be considered different from the usual. She wants to be a stuntwoman and I have always wanted to be an actress, which is not a very traditional career. So we are both passionate and a bit rebellious in our own way. We both also care about our family, I’m very close to mine. When I was a teenager, however, I don’t think I ever felt as sure of myself as Raia is. I was too worried about what others might think of me.”
The Power of Choice
What value does marriage have for her? “I think it is still a very debated topic. Being married is often still considered a social norm to be respected. It is still believed that women are not “complete” until they are married or that marriage should be a step to be taken to be complete. But I don’t think that’s true. Everyone should be free to choose what to do with their lives.”