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Very much in Race!

ANUJ KUMAR
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Chat Deepika Padukone says she stands by her gut feeling

Well Placed Deepika Padukone PHOTO:AFP
Well Placed Deepika Padukone PHOTO:AFP

“Intelligent, manipulative, edgy,” that’s how Deepika Padukone describes her character Elena in the sequel of Race releasing this week. Yet another glamorous avatar for the young lady? “If you remember in the first part every character was grey and was trying to double cross other characters. The mood is carried forward in the sequel. As for the glamorous avatar, I am playing a business woman who uses her gender to gain an upper hand. She is a manipulative seductress, once again a character which is far removed from real me and therein lies the challenge.”

Well, last year she successfully crossed a similar obstacle in Cocktail , where she proved better than the film. She might not be taking trophies home, but she has been nominated in the best actress category in most popular wards. “It was a great year for female actors. Usually there are one or two strong performances but last year it was a very close contest as it was very difficult to choose between the performances of Vidya, Priyanka and Sridevi.” She says 2012 was a year when female actors finally got to play something more than just eye candy. Or support superstars? “The characters that actors pick also depend on the acceptance by the audience. All these films where female actors had strong roles were well received. It gives us the confidence to go further.” After a couple of films not many had expected Deepika to play characters which were wild and manipulative. From picking modelling as a career or opting to shift to Mumbai at a young age, Deepika says she has been very instinctive from the beginning. “I often go by my gut feeling and stand by my decisions.”

However, it is seen that in many cases Bollywood sees female liberation as only sexual liberation or the freedom to dress in revealing outfits. “I can’t speak about everybody but in Veronica’s case (the character she played in Cocktail ), her choices are well defined and she comes across as a free-spirited girl not only in the way she dresses up but also the choices she makes in life.”

Soon Deepika will be returning to safety net of star power as she pairs with Shah Rukh Khan in Chennai Express and Rajinikanth in Kochadaiyaan . “It is not that every film that is made with a superstar or every film which aims at 100 crores has no role for the female actor. Chennai Express is a romantic comedy with loads of action where I have a substantial role. Yes, I dived into Kochadaiyaan because of Rajini sir. I didn’t ask anything but one should realise it is not a regional film. It is an Indian venture which is pushing the boundaries in terms of content and technology. For the first time motion capture technology is being used not just for Rajini sir but all the main characters in the film.”

ANUJ KUMAR

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