I’d do a film with Farah and Shah Rukh without batting an eyelid: Deepika Padukone
The tapestries, the sculptures and the many trophies, all draw the eye, but the truly mesmerising sight in Deepika Padukone’s sprawling 26th floor apartment is the panoramic view of the city and the sea. She admits that it was this field of vision which prompted her move from Bandra to Prabhadevi.
“As a child I came to Mumbai every year, during Christmas and New Year, to visit my maternal grandfather. My parents still do. Mumbai for me was the city by the sea and when I moved here at 18, I told myself that I’d get a home overlooking the sea,” she recalls.
Adjacent to the living room is a terrace where she spends an hour every morning with her coffee and newspapers. “I read, have my breakfast, drink in the view and meditate. I need this `me’ time before the day creeps up on me. No one is to speak to me till I’m dressed,” she says.
This laconic turn also extends to her social media presence where she maintains a quiet front but is still among the most popular Bollywood names on Facebook and Twitter.
Instead, Deepika would like to be identified as the characters she plays on screen, be it Naina, Meenamma or Leela. In fact, these three back-to-back Rs 100 crore-plus blockbusters–Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Chennai Express and Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram Leela- made, 2013 an unforgettable year for her. Midway through 2014, she insists there’s no pressure on her for an encore. “2013 was the result of two years of hard work, without a break. But I’ve moved on,” she shrugs nonchalantly.
Right now her focus is on two diversely different films-Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny Fernandes and Farah Khan’s Happy New Year. What they have in common is Deepika’s affinity for their directors. She explains, “The performance in Cocktail wouldn’t have been possible without Homi. And I’d do a film with Farah and Shah Rukh (Khan) without batting an eyelid,” she insists.
2015 will be another big year with three releases-Shoojit Sircar’s Piku co-starring Amitabh Bachchan, Imtiaz Ali’s Tamasha with Ranbir Kapoor, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani opposite Ranveer Singh. “I loved Shoojit’s Vickey Donor, Sanjay is a genius and Imtiaz cast me in Love Aaj Kal without seeing Om Shanti Om and he has a way with love stories,” she smiles.And what about her own love stories? The smile disappears, “Why is it that only actors are asked about their personal lives during interviews? When it’s a sportsperson, a politician or a businessman these questions never crop up. On the sports pages we read about an athlete’s professional highs and lows. The entertainment pages are mostly gossip.”
It’s obvious that the lady is not going to open up about a certain Ranveer Singh. When we wonder at the likelihood of her taking a detour to Barcelona en route to a family vacation in the USA to meet the actor who is currently on a cruise for Dil Dhadakne Do, she sighs, “Barcelona? It’s okay for people to speculate. When there is something, you’ll know.”
Deepika, who wore her heart on her sleeve when she was dating Ranbir Kapoor, has now decided to tuck it away, out of public sight. While on Karan Johar’s chat show she admitted that Ranbir had been her world. “If you’re wondering whether the break-up put me off relationships, the answer is no,” she says.
“I’m not cynical about love. The equation with Ranbir is there for all to see in our recent film. There’s nothing more to say.”
Deepika, once the outsider who was not expected to outstay her welcome, is now the numero uno star and also an applauded actress. How does the world look from up there? “When Imtiaz met me recently he told me he did not expect it to happen so fast. Some see it as fast, others see five years.” Where does she see herself five years from now? “Why is it that only women are asked this question. Male actors are allowed to have a career and a life beyond movies. I want that too and I will. Some actresses quit to start a family but I am fortunate that today the shelf life of an actress is longer.” After she chose Bajirao Mastani over Shuddhi, what’s her equation with KJo today? “Sometimes the media puts out stories without knowing the facts and draws conclusions.
But Karan and I know the reality, so there are no issues and that’s why when I bump into him at a restaurant, there is no awkwardness,” she reasons.
During that encounter were they discussing Shuddhi or another film? “Let the producer speak first, it’s his right,” she retorts.
Can’t a Mastani balance a Shuddhi too? “I’d love to do both films. Karan has my number, if he wants me, he’ll call. I can’t talk about a film before the producer has announced it. So it’s only fair that we wait.”