To be better than myself in my last film — that for me is competition, a mature Deepika Padukone tells Bhumika K.
There’s something about beautiful people who can also articulate lucidly that makes them so much more attractive. Among the bevy of beauties who’ve come, hung around, and vanished from Bollywood, Deepika Padukone has made sure she’s held her own ever since her Hindi cinema debut with Om Shanti Om in 2007.
And that’s why Bangalore clamours to call her its own.
It’s a bit disappointing, then, when she says: “I don’t consider myself a Bangalorean or a Mumbaikar. Of course I get extremely nostalgic each time I come to Bangalore. Even today, I passed by my school (Sophia’s) on my way here and it made me so nostalgic. People ask me if I meet my parents each time I come to Bangalore. I mean, how can I not do that? I can’t come to Bangalore and not meet my parents. But Mumbai has given me a lot as well. In the last five years that I’ve been there, it’s given me the independence of being a working woman.” Deepika was in Bangalore to promote her latest film Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD), to be released on May 31. “The last time I was here in Bangalore was last month, just for a day. I suddenly had a day off from work and I came home.”
She’s also basking in the glory of being crowned People magazine’s Most Beautiful Woman for 2013. “Of course it’s a huge compliment. But, for me, being beautiful is about being a good person, not about physical attributes. When I say someone is beautiful, it is the way the person conducts herself. It’s more a state of mind…it is how you feel.”
Critics haven’t been very easy on her, though. Criticised for her limited acting abilities and glorified for her looks in her earlier films, it was with Cocktail that she was seen as really coming of age as an actor. “I don’t think anything has changed from my side. I always put the same amount of conviction in every role I play,” says Deepika evenly.
“Sometimes you just need the right people to come into your life at the right time. And for me Illuminati (a production house started by Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan that made Love Aaaj Kal and Cocktail) has been that. Vijan and Homi Adajania (director of Cocktail and Deepika’s next venture Finding Fanny) have constantly had faith in me as a performer. And to those who invest such faith in you, you give back that much more. The rest of the world didn’t understand why I chose to do two-heroine films. My conviction in my role and in my character is all that maters. All an actor needs is a director who has faith in you.”
Having set the bar high with her grey-shaded performance in Cocktail, she says rather coolly: “My intention is to be better than myself in my last films — that for me is competition.”
Among her forthcoming films, Kochadaiyaan with Rajnikanth and Chennai Express with Shah Rukh Khan tie her up with the south. Deepika sounds rather unhappy at the suggestion that these are “south” films. “I’ve always wanted to work with Rajni Sir. It’s not a south film just because it’s being made in Tamil. A cinema is not about being Tamil, Telugu or Hindi. It’s a film as far as people relate to it. In fact Kochadaiyaan is being presented as an international film, which uses Hollywood techniques that haven’t been used here before. It’s being released in several languages including Japanese.”
Deepika has also been one of the regular faces at cricket’s current shame, the IPL. She even danced at the opening ceremony of this year’s IPL While she shows discomfort being asked about the current muck (and money) being raked up at the IPL with the spot-fixing scandal, Deepika says, “Coming from a sporting family and being a sportsperson myself, it’s extremely disappointing. We have a wall full of trophies in our house that belong to my father (Prakash Padukone ) back home and one among them is the International Fair Play Award that my father was given. It’s also extremely disheartening that because of the actions of a few people, the game has to lose credibility.”
Deepika describes her latest film, with ex-boyfriend Ranbir Kapoor, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani as a love story set in today’s time. “Youth and parents will relate to it. It’s about various relationships, not just boyfriend-girlfriend, it’s about the relationship you share with family and friends. And how they change as people. Director Ayan Mukherji has a knack to touch your heart…the way he did in Wake Up Sid.”