Deepika Padukone likes to be grounded no matter how successful she gets and deal with life as it comes. Awaiting the release of two big films she talks about cinema, family and more …
In Piku, you worked with Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan. Were you afraid of being eclipsed by them in the movie?
No, it was a learning opportunity. How often does one get the chance to work with Amitji and Irrfan in this capacity? I was excited about it and I feel you are only as good as your co-star.
Did the deglamorised role in Piku appear to be a risk when you are on the top of your business?
It’s not something that I thought of as the character didn’t require it. In fact, a few of the looks in the film are my own. There were days when we were shooting montages and I’d go to the sets in jeans, T-shirt and chappals. Shoojit would say ‘just be like this today’, and I have literally walked on to the set and done the shot because I think the character is required to be very real.
How real are you?
It’s easy to get carried away by the fame, the success and the kind of love we get. It’s important to be surrounded by grounded people like my friends and family. It’s like I go to work in the morning and I do what I have to do; they also follow the same and when we come back we are us and I’m me. I’m the same girl that I was for my friends in school.
How much of a high does being a part of hit movies give you?
It’s a very satisfying feeling. That’s also because it’s a lot of hard work. I’ve had to learn on the job and I hate saying this, but the fact is that I don’t come from a film family. While my parents have always been extremely supportive of my career decision, I still had to learn from scratch. I’ve made my mistakes, have been a part of not-so-successful films and have had to deal with criticism. I have been through all that, so I can finally appreciate what I’m going through in my career now. It’s not fallen in my lap, it’s not been easy.
Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani side by side. Must be tiring?
Promotions are tiring, but I’m getting used to them. Both the films have been really challenging. Tamasha has drained me emotionally because of the content that Imtiaz has prepared. It is one film which will shake you up. Bajirao has been draining both emotionally and physically. The actions, the stunts everything about the film have been challenging but I’m happy I could be a part of the film, more so because after Ram Leela I thought who knows when and if ever I would get to work with Bhansali sir again. But it happened quicker than I thought it would.
You drew a lot of criticism at the beginning of your career but you have taken that constructively and changed for the better.
It’s not that I wasn’t aware of these things before people pointed them out. I’m a South Indian and I can’t change that. There is that culture that is an essential part of me.. In the South, people don’t speak Hindi much. I grew up in a completely different cultural background. I look a certain way, I speak a certain way and it’s not that I wasn’t aware. But, as you mentioned, there are so many things ... I wouldn’t want to discuss everything.
People said I couldn’t act, my diction was an issue ... may be for some people it still is. But for me my biggest learning curve was culture. Back home when I was growing up we were insulated, so there was not that much exposure to other cultures and other languages. That exposure I have got only now after coming here to Mumbai and travelling the world.
How do you decide to do a film?
It’s instinct. I don’t think there is any thought or calculation as such. It’s definitely instinct and what you believe in and what you stand for.
On the subject, the My Choice video you were part of drew flak. Any comment?
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed with the way it all turned out eventually. What was surprising was that for forty-eight hours it went viral in a positive way, and then suddenly something changed. It was definitely disappointing because it was never the intention.
Among the new lot of heroines, there’s a big display of camaraderie on social media, most of which is fake. Agree?
No I don’t agree. It’s definitely not fake. At least I’d like to believe that, because from my side, it’s not and I think everyone today is more spontaneous. If you feel something, you say it, I guess that’s what it is. There has always been this perception of girls not getting along. We may not all be best friends -- the nature of the business doesn’t allow for that -- but having said that, it’s definitely possible to be cordial and respect one another.
If you decided to get married, would you be able to lead a family life away from the limelight?
I can easily do that. For me, nothing is more important than the relevance of family in our lives. It’s that feeling of completeness!
Your biggest fear?
Not being able to spend enough time with my parents. After Piku, it’s playing on my mind more and more.
A sure-shot hit film with a top hero where you don’t have much of a role or a small film, great role, but risky venture? Which one would you pick?
I would choose the smaller film because that would be more exciting and challenging to do.