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Updated: May 24, 2013 20:55 IST

The ex factor

Harshikaa Udasi
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Actor Deepika Padukone. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy
The Hindu Actor Deepika Padukone. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

“Chemistry cannot be forced,” Deepika Padukone says as Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani with Ranbir Kapoor is set for release

It’s amazing how she can manage a straight face through the barrage of questions that she is facing from the media on a certain ‘ouch’ topic. The maximum reaction they elicit from her is the smallest smile and eyebrows knitted quizzically. Deepika Padukone, certainly knew that her pairing in Ayan Mukerji’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD, releasing May 31) with ex-beau Ranbir Kapoor would invite queries, and the lass decided to grin and bear it.

“But why are people talking about me and Ranbir this way?” she says, in mock innocence. On getting assistance from Ranbir seated right next to her for a tête-à-tête with scribes, she relents, “Okay. Look we are two professionals who know better than to let our personal lives interfere with our career. People have appreciated the chemistry between me and Ranbir. So when Ayan, a good friend to both of us, approached me with the role, I said ‘why not?’ I really think chemistry cannot be forced; it is intangible. You either have it or you don’t. If we do, then let’s use it for our films together,” says Deepika.

Ayan’s second outing after Wake Up Sid, YJHD is a slice-of-life youth film just like his earlier one. Ranbir Kapoor plays Bunny (Kabir Thapar), a happy-go-lucky guy who hosts a travel show. He meets Deepika (Naina), a live-by-the-rules girl who was also his classmate in school. The two personalities are as different as chalk and cheese, and when they chance upon each other in their late 20s on a travel trip, they realise that certain decisions don’t come easy.

“I think the credit for us acting in this film goes to our professionalism and our families. We have both been brought up in a regular way. Both of us come from celeb families and if had been made to believe we were special kids, we wouldn’t have been mature enough to handle life. Also, when we approached the film, it was like Bunny and Naina interacting with each other, not Ranbir and Deepika,” says the actor.

Asked about bringing variety into her roles, Deepika (who usually gets urban roles but has also acted as a freedom fighter in Ashutosh Gowariker’s period film Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se and a deglamourised small-town college girl in Prakash Jha’s Aarakshan) says that though her roles may be urban, the flavour in each is unique. “I think with Race 2 and especially Cocktail in recent times, I have achieved that. Veronica (of Cocktail) has been by far my most demanding and challenging role, in spite of seeming urban and relatively ‘easy’ to play. She was anything but me and to get under the skin of such an intense character was quite difficult. But then, I am always on the lookout for more depth in my roles,” she says.

Deepika reveals she is working in a Konkani-English short film Finding Fanny to be directed by Cocktail director Homi Adajania, who had earlier directed the critically-acclaimed Being Cyrus. Arjun Kapoor will star opposite her in the film. “I found the script very exciting even though I wouldn’t be certain if ‘offbeat’ is the word to describe it. I trust Homi completely as a director.”

Exciting year ahead

About her upcoming films, Deepika says 2013 is a special year for her. “I am excited because I have four films lined-up for release. Besides YJHD, there is Kochadaiyaan with Rajini sir, Chennai Express with Shah Rukh and Ram Leela with Ranveer Singh. It is a big year in that sense, yes.” She smiles. This time it lights up her eyes.

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