It is safe to say Priyanka Chopra Jonas is one of the most popular Indian faces across the globe. She has charted an impressive career, both in Bollywood and Hollywood, garnering a huge fan following worldwide.
Culturally, too, Priyanka is one of the most-recognised faces who has taken India to the world, and continues to do so. It is no surprise, then that the Matrix star is the ambassador of global brands when it comes to them establishing a reach in India.
Priyanka, who has embraced magazine covers from across the world, was seen on Vogue India‘s September 2021 cover as well. While her ruffled red dress was a sure winner, it was a single piece of accessory that was to be the focus of the outfit — her mangalsutra that she described as “elegant and chic, designed for the modern Indian woman who takes charge of her own life.”
“mangalsutra for the modern indian woman who takes charge of her own life” when the revolution comes, priyanka chopra, where will you hide?
— quinboot (@i_quinboot) September 1, 2021
A Bvlgari Mangal Sutra for the new woman!! She is free, she is sassy, she is a feminist; she is who she wants to be (of course after the permission of her husband reinstated by the opulence of the mangalsutra). There are some things even lots of money can’t buy; no not bvlgari
— surabhi modi (@sahaisurabhi) September 3, 2021
That’s all it took to divide the internet over this Rs 3,49,000 accessory, the costliest in the Indian market, by Bulgari, an Italian luxury brand. While some charged Bulgari’s mangalsutra with cultural appropriation, some questioned Priyanka’s motive for advocating the mangalsutra for the modern Indian woman, considering that some consider it to be patriarchal and, therefore, oppressive.
During Bulgari’s mangalsutra launch in India, on an Instagram live, Priyanka asserted that “as someone who is a contradiction and an amalgamation of modernity and tradition, I would rather be like, you know, it’s my choice. And I would buy my beautiful mangalsutra with the money I make, and that’s me smashing the patriarchy”.
But in a recent video that she posted on her Instagram profile, the actor, in conversation with one of the Bulgari mangalsutra designers Lucia Silvetri, contradicted her earlier statement to an extent. She reminisced wearing the mangalsutra for the first time, saying, “Because we’ve grown up with the idea of what it means, it was just a very special moment for me”. In the same breath, Priyanka added that as a modern woman, who the brand claims the mangalsutra is designed for, she is aware of the “repercussions of what it means. ‘Do I like the idea of wearing the mangalsutra? Or is it too patriarchal?”
If you ask us, those are valid questions to ask given the response the brand’s release and her promotion of the same has garnered. But, Priyanka then went on to say in the video that she is that generation “that is sort of in the middle”. “We’ll see, the next generation of girls might do it differently.”
In the video, she also shared how she styles the “contemporary” mangalsutra: “I would wear it with a jeans, with a shirt… Its’s so cool.” As Silvetri added that the black, white, and the beads are from the traditional design, Priyanka said it was “to ward off evil, to protect you”.