Debut and breakthrough (2002–03)
Chopra made her debut in the 2002 Tamil film Thamizhan playing the role of Priya, the love interest of the protaginist in the film played by Vijay. The film was praised for its wit, although the depth of Chopra’s character was seen as lacking Chopra also sang playback in the film, singing “Ullathai Killadhe” along with Vijay. In 2003, she appeared in her first Bollywood film, opposite Sunny Deol and Preity Zinta in the Anil Sharma film The Hero: Love Story of a Spy. She played a supporting role as a doctor named Shaheen in the film that The New York Times described as “ripping its text from the seething border tensions between India and Pakistan, spicing its conflict with hot-tempered religious zealots bent on nuclear havoc” Despite being one of the highest grossing films of that year, the overall film was not well received by critics.Chopra was awarded mostly good reviews for her debut Hindi performance Later that year she appeared in Raj Kanwar’s Andaaz, playing the character of Jiya who falls in love with Raj Malhotra, played by Akshay Kumar. The film was a success at the box office, earning her a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award and a nomination for Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award. Rediff.com said of her role, “Priyanka Chopra alone clicks with the audience, thanks to her skimpy outfits.
Initial success and struggle phase (2004–08)
Chopra as the seductive vamp Mrs Sonia Roy in Aitraaz (2004), which earned her the Filmfare Best Villain Award.
Her next few films released in 2004 Plan, Kismat and Asambhav performed poorly at the box office Later that year she appeared in David Dhawan’s romantic comedy Mujhse Shaadi Karogi playing the role of a young fashion designer Rani along with Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar. The film turned out to be the third-highest grossing film of that year.She next starred in Abbas-Mustan’s thriller Aitraaz. It was her first negative role and her performance was critically acclaimed She earned a Filmfare Best Villain Award, becoming the second and last female actor to win the award after Kajol (the category has been retired since 2008). She also received a second nomination for Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award for the role. Film critic Subhash K. Jha noted, “A star is born! As the predatory social-climbing seductress who can go to any length to satiate her lust for life, Priyanka Chopra rocks the scene like never before. The film is undoubtedly a triumph for Priyanka Chopra. With half a smile, a twitch of her lip and a movement of her eyebrow she seems to slip into her man-eater’s role with captivating ease”In 2005, she starred in six films. Four of them, Blackmail, Karam, Yakeen and Barsaat failed to do wellHowever, her performance in Yakeen garnered good reviews from critics.
Her other two 2005 releases, Waqt: The Race Against Time and Bluffmaster! performed moderately at the box office. In 2006, Chopra starred in two of the most successful films of the year: Krrish, in which she shared the screen with Hrithik Roshan and Rekha, and Don – The Chase Begins Again, alongside Shahrukh Khan which was a remake of the 1978 film Don. She played the character of Roma, a role which was played by Zeenat Aman in the original movie
In 2007, she appeared in Nikhil Advani’s ensemble piece Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Love. Despite a promising opening, the movie was a financial failure.Chopra’s next release, the much-delayed Big Brother, also underperformed at the box-office. In 2008, Chopra acted in six films. Her first four films, Love Story 2050, God Tussi Great Ho, Chamku and Drona, were critically and commercially unsuccessful. Critics started panning her for choosing the wrong movies and criticising her performances Still, she was noted for her physical performance in Drona with Rediff writing, “Chopra truly impresses with her convincing action heroine skills.