Riding the crest of fame, actor Deepika Padukone says that right now, nothing but work can hold her attention.
“I don't feel the need to shout from rooftops about the success of my films,” says Deepika Padukone, fresh after the release of Karthik Calling Karthik(KCK). That's her response to whether she's feeling vindicated after a tepid Bachna Ae Haseeno(BAH) and the mega flop Chandni Chowk to China(CC2C) last year. “People got a reason to pin me down because immediately after a film such as Om Shanti Om(OSO), ‘BAH,' which was not a solo film, got released and then CC2C didn't do well. But, I know what I am made of. I am extremely focussed and ambitious,” says the girl, with a steely determination in her voice.
So, Love Aaj Kal(LAK) did bring back the spring in her career and, while the verdict is still unclear on whether KCK is raking in the moolah, Deepika's choices are no longer under the scanner.
She has Sajid Khan's House Full,a crazy comedy, coming up next. The rest of the year is stacked up with banners such as Ashutosh Gowariker Productions ( Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sewith Abhishek Bachchan) and Yashraj Films ( Lafange Parindaywith Neil Nitin Mukesh), and director-turned-producer Kunal Kohli ( Break Ke Baadwith Imran Khan).
A visibly excited Deepika has her long-term plan laid out. “My father always tells me to be honest to my work. I obviously want to be a really good actor that people can speak of highly. For that, I want good roles and good films. Along the way, if I achieve fame and success, it's great,” she says.
To her credit, the actorhas been giving performances that are different. In ‘ OSO,' she was the diva-cum-modern girl; in ‘BAH' she was the confident cab-driving MBA aspirant; in ‘CC2C' she played an action heroine-cum-glam girl; and in ‘LAK,' a girl in love confused by the modern connotations of romance.
She modestly acknowledges that such roles give her a high, but ask her to rate herself among peers, and Deepika fights shy. “I am my biggest critic followed by my sister. So, it's really difficult to even think about ranking myself! My parents have so far been very appreciative of my performances and felt that I have grown with each of them,” she says.
New age cinema
“I am happy to do the kind of commercial as well as new-age cinema that I'm getting a chance to act in. I have been offered a whole lot of crossover films too, but, at this point of time, I am content with where I am. Audiences are opening up to newer forms of filmmaking. I remember Nandita Das saying that she had never imagined that a film such as ‘Firaaq' would be appreciated at popular award functions but it was. That's the changing face of Indian films, I think”
Ex-beau Ranbir Kapoor remains out of our conversation, but asked what she thinks of stars' personal lives being discussed at breakfast with Page 3 news, Deepika shrugs. “It's a longstanding debate if people want that bit as part of their news diet at all, or is it just the media which is over-glorifying this?”
Point out that gossip often flows out of the publicity churners for a film and she says, “Before the release of ‘KCK,' there was so much written about Farhan and me. I think we were too confident about our film to peddle such rumours. If it gets done, then I am very sad. But think about it, even if I go out with my co-stars for dinner, it gets written about as though we are having a roaring affair.” The girl who made it to Mumbai from Bengaluru on her own at the age of 19 says the confidence and trust that her parents placed in her has taken her through. “I am happy the way life has shaped up. My parents trust me, and initially all of us would get disturbed by media reports. Not any longer. In fact, I have been a very independent person since childhood. My parents know that I am a thinking person, and right now nothing but work can hold my attention!” she says.
* House full Sajid Khan's family entertainer also starring Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh, Arjun Ramphal, Lara Dutta, Jiah Khan
* Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se Ashutosh Gowariker's period thriller based on the Chittagong uprising starring Abhishek Bachchan
* Lafange Parinday Pradeep Sarkar's romantic film from the gritty streets of Mumbai for Yashraj starring Neil Nitin Mukesh
* Break Ke Baad Kunal Kohli's debut production by first-time director Danish Aslam, starring Imran Khan