Padmavati actor Deepika Padukone: When the heart is in the right place, no one can stop a film


Sanjay sir brought the two of us together for two love stories and then he decided to put us in some kind of hate story. For me, the fact that such a film is made and supported is very empowering. When you know someone in a certain way, to turn that dynamic on its head is quite challenging. Cocktail consolidated your position as an actor. You call yourself a shy and private person. You are often spotted hanging out with other film personalities. I am not looking at churning out X number of movies, but I want to do quality work. What’s your social life like? I believe we are constantly answerable to everyone for some reason or the other. When I got better, something told me that I needed to share my experience. Keep your dates aside as I’m thinking of doing a movie on Padmavati.’ So, this kind of started brewing some three years ago. The good thing is that all of us are supportive of each other and we make the effort to stay in touch. It is very weird! But, if I can’t make conversation, I don’t put any pressure on myself. I would like to believe that I handle it well now. If I don’t like something, I won’t take it up. At the same time, I have chosen to be in a field where it is part of what I do. It was my own assumption that one has to look a certain way or conduct oneself in a certain manner until I realised that the best way is to be myself. I have recently started playing badminton again. Very few actresses would have had that kind of debut. But I need that time off. Her performance has a lot of depth and she puts in a lot of heart into it. Recently, some female actors have talked about the exploitation and harassment they faced or face in the industry. Did you face any such problem? I was inclined to the creative world. — Dinesh Vijan, producer-director
I have observed her growth from Love Aaj Kal. When the heart is in the right place, no one can stop a film. I have acted in woman-centric movies earlier, too, such as Piku. Over the years, she has grown as a person and also as an actor. But was that the outcome of the hard work you put in the preceding years? They can be a disadvantage. My sister and I are different from each other. Over the years, I have picked up books during my travels that mean something to me. Only my family, my team and I know what kind of effort it has taken. Hopefully, it will soon make its way into my kitchen. I bake quite often. We made our own career choices because our parents gave us wings to fly. I can only speak from my experience. — Honey Trehan, director of her next film
Deepika’s upbringing has given her a lot of discipline and the ability to work hard. I play downstairs in my building in the evening. I find it very thrilling to get into different characters every six months. Right now, this book is a display piece. Did you struggle to fit into the industry? Since I am open about it, everyone knows what I have been through. How do you handle the public scrutiny of your life? I could not understand what was happening to me. That’s something I’m never going to change. That’s what I am. I have been very fortunate not to have experienced it. Om Shanti Om (2007) definitely is one. Though the stigma attached to it still exists and we have a long way to go, people are actually observing Mental Health Day! None of them were like this in terms of scale. A large part of my success is because my parents have been so supportive. I understand the public interest in my life, but I find it hard to deal with. Why attack cinema which is full of love and which brings people together? What prompted your choices? This is your third film with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ranveer Singh. 2017-11-20T11:26:28+00:00″>
Updated: November 20, 2017 11:26 am

Deepika Padukone in Padmavati (File Photo)

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There is no formula to that either. Getting over it was easier. What kind of challenges did it pose for you as an actor? Which are the movies that became turning points in your career? They can identify the symptoms. My parents could see that and encouraged it. We are acknowledging the condition and addressing it. What led you to speak about your depression? All of them have a mind of their own. I have always found her to be grounded, warm and gracious. Was it cathartic? How much investment in terms of time and energy have you made? With them, it is more about doing things together like every other family. If the director knows that I have the ability to deliver, then he should also know that I would have the ability to transform myself physically to essay that character. The unfortunate fact about being an actor is that we are like nomads — we are constantly moving from one place to another. We didn’t have any idea about what the other person was doing. So, sometimes, there could be four films of mine in a year or just one. We didn’t meet during the shoot. I have learnt on the job, evolved as a person and all that has made me the actor I am today. That came after my on-the-field experience as well as through my share of ups and downs. I am a baking person. I have not seen that in a long time. I only spoke up last month after I finished the film and came out of that zone (she reacted to a group of protester in Surat damaging a rangoli inspired by Padmavati). You do a Chennai Express (2013) and then Finding Fanny (2014). Even while picking my scripts, I follow my instincts. I can see Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s Chocolate Bible in your living room. I would not say it was hard. At the same time, I’m not complaining. I am extremely grateful that I always had very supportive co-stars, directors and producers. I have got way more than I had ever imagined. She is obviously talented, but after Cocktail, she has been unstoppable. We are extremely proud and confident of the film we have made. Maybe a part of me felt responsible to help other people as there is a lack of awareness regarding it. A lot. It is weird that every time I talk about a movie, I feel that it is the most difficult role I have played. In Padmavati, you don’t even share the screen with him. She has become her own beautiful person today. Everyone has been asking me why I am taking a long break before that. What did you find fascinating about the character of Padmavati? Besides, I don’t want to announce on social media what my mood is like or what I’m having for breakfast. But I wish to keep the excitement alive. I am still awkward in large gatherings. There are some parts of my life I would like to keep to myself. We are almost like the beauty and the beast in Padmavati. However, I had created a certain pressure for myself. I’m with my family. After Om Shanti Om, there was Love Aaj Kal (2009) and Cocktail. A director I have worked with a couple of times told me: ‘You are too good-looking for this part. When people don’t like a film, it does not mean that hard work has not gone into it. Have your looks ever worked to your disadvantage? I love what I do. My parents have given us a normal and disciplined childhood without much luxury, like any other middle-class family. My racquets were rusting and the shuttles were getting musty. It does not work for the story.’ I have never really understood what that means. I have been told that I was not offered some projects because I’m good-looking. I feel liberated today — I had caged it up within me for so many months. I am happy to see how the conversation around mental health has changed. I will work on my next (a movie produced by Vishal Bhardwaj on a gangster, Sapna Didi) in February. Even today when I step out, people call me Shantipriya. This is your 10th year in the industry. For me, recognising these symptoms was the hardest part. That keeps me grounded. I have played strong women characters in some of my films and each one of them is identifiable — be it Naina from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), Veronica in Cocktail (2012) or Mastani in Bajirao Mastani. Her success itself is an inspiring story. You were an outsider when you came in. She has made brilliant choices by picking up different kinds of roles and by making them work for her. But, perhaps, that’s not the case with other people. People’s Choice
Deepika is undoubtedly an amazing actor and an equally gorgeous person. Being an outsider, I was always told that Bollywood is equal to a casting couch. What’s important for me is that one is completely consumed by the character. What does it mean to you? I look at it through two different lenses. I have to say that again with Padmavati. For me, it is not so much about going for diction classes or learning the dance moves — those are simpler. After I spoke up, at least some people jumped that phase. — Mukesh Chhabra, casting director
For all the latest Entertainment News, download Indian Express App While we were shooting for Bajirao Mastani, one day Sanjay Leela Bhansali asked me: ‘What are you doing next year? They did not burden us with their expectations. Padmavati has taken so much from me — physically and emotionally — that I need time to rejuvenate and feel like myself again before I slip into another role. How do you choose your projects? A large part of the preparation for a film is a mental process. When all of you get together, are there frequent badminton games? (After a pause) I find that’s a director’s shortcoming. I may choose not to talk about certain things, but I don’t hide anything either. That’s possible because apart from being an amazing actor, she is a nice human being. Maybe we had not identified with what was being done. The choice is instinctive. How would you say the journey has been so far? Ranveer and you played passionate lovers in the first two (Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, 2013, and, Bajirao Mastani). So, I have come to terms with it. I also know that it is a result of my commitment, hard work and dedication. The rest is in the public domain. Both your sister Anisha (she is a golfer) and you went on to make unusual career choices. Its first poster featured me as Padmavati. We build a life with a certain group of people when we work on a film, but just when we are emotionally getting comfortable, it is taken away from us. Same goes for Padmavati. That’s when I wondered for how long are we going to remain silent? For how long would the entertainment industry be made a scapegoat for everything that happens in this country? Today’s generation can relate to her courage. When you take a break between projects, what do you generally do? She is simple and honest and approaches each role with great intelligence. We move on to our next film and start the same process all over again. How long can we allow some people to get away with what they have been doing? Why curb people’s freedom of expression? I’m extremely proud of the fact that today I’m in a place where producers (Viacom 18 and Bhansali Productions) not just trust me but cast me in a movie that primarily revolves around the life of a woman character. I enjoy cooking, but I love baking more. That’s what my grandparents did with my parents. My sister, on other hand, is extremely calm and intelligent.