THE SATURDAY INTERVIEW As her third film with Saif Ali Khan hits the screens, Deepika Padukone talks about a ‘Cocktail’ of emotions and upcoming Kochadaiyaan
Deepika Padukone has just had her third film with Saif Ali Khan released yesterday (July 13). While the reports on Saif’s home production Cocktail directed by Homi Adajania of Being Cyrus-fame are still coming in, Deepika spoke to us on why playing Veronica has been a big gamble, on her chemistry with Saif and on working with Rajinikanth in her next film. Excerpts from the interview.
Your look as Veronica D’Costa in Cocktail has become quite the rage. How comfortable were you dressing up in the outfits designed for you?
I think by playing Veronica I am taking a risk. I am stepping out of my comfort zone. But I knew that if I were to become Veronica, I had to be comfortable in whatever she did. Wearing the kind of clothes that I have worn is essential to the character. In fact, I believe when you are dressed as the character you play, you slip into the mood easily. Of course, I had to work not just on my look to get Veronica right; my manner of speaking and body language had to be worked on too. I think Homi (director) has to be thanked for working on building my character while Anaita (Shroff Adajania, Homi’s wife and fashion stylist) has to be given full credit for styling her.
While you have been playing the modern Indian girl with ease in most of your films, there is something unique in each of your characters. What’s special about Veronica?
I get a lot of modern-Indian-girl-with-traditional-values roles be it a Gayatri (Bachna Ae Haseeno) or Meera (Love Aaj Kal) or Aaliya (Break Ke Baad). But mercifully these roles have been quite different from the others, thanks to the directors’vision. I would also like to take credit for infusing different elements in each of them. In the case of Cocktail, I deliberately chose Veronica over Meera (played by first-timer Diana Penty). Veronica is not in the same space as my other characters and even though it is an out-of-the-box character, I was confident I would pull it off.
You and Saif share very good onscreen chemistry. How was it working with him yet again after Love Aaj Kal and Aarakshan?
This is my third film with SaifRace 2. Funny thing is that even after working on so many movies together, I feel like it’s my first with him. Saif is very spontaneous and keeps me on my toes with his rehearsals and wit. He is a super intelligent guy.
Six years after his first film Being Cyrus in English Being Cyrus, Homi Adajania is directing a Hindi film. How was the experience?
You know, a lot of people questioned my decision to say yes to Homi. Just as actors get typecast, so do directors, I realised. A love story is a universal language. You need a fresh mind to deliver it in a unique way. That’s Homi.
You are used to having female co-stars. But with Diana, it must have been different. She is making her debut.
There was a certain awkwardness which Meera required and Diana by virtue of being new handled it beautifully. In fact, from the first day of the shoot to our last meeting, she has grown tremendously.
You are now doing a film with Raijnikanth — Kochadaiyaan. That must have been a tremendous high.
Oh yes, emotionally and as an actor. Rajini sir is like a child in a candy shop. He even talks to his daughter Soundarya like he is an actor in her hands. The movie is very heavy on post-production, so I didn’t have to do much shooting.
What other films do you have in your kitty?
I have Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani with Ranbir Kapoor and Race 2 yet again with Saif. We’ve just returned from a month-long shoot in Turkey for Race 2.
What types of films are you waiting to come your way?
I am craving for a well-carved out action film with a sizeable amount of action!