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Deepika Padukone: The Beauty And The Best



Deepika Padukone

At one point in  her career Deepika  Padukone  was trying to be compete with Priyanka Chopra; which was  like Waheeda Rehman  trying to compete with Mumtaz. Or  Hema Malini with  Zeenat Aman.Hema thinks  Deepika is her true inheritor.

Personally, Deepika reminds  me of Jaya Bhaduri. Both won’t take crap from their co-stars, Jaya refused to work with the  then-reigning superstar Rajesh Khanna. Even when Hrishikesh Mukherjee persuaded  Jaya and Khanna to come together in  Bawarchi, they were  not paired opposite one  another.

Similarly,  you won’t see Deepika  Padukone in  a Salman  Khan pictureshow  because  heroines  are expected to behave a certain  way in his company. Deepika  won’t comply.Not that she is  headstrong. She is just not into pampering  egos.

Like  many beautiful women, Deepika  Padukone craves  for acceptance ,  love  and  approval from  family and friends. She is  among the lucky few to have found all three  from her loved ones, and from the world at large, and that includes the  biggest Indian  female  star  of  all times Hema  Malini.

The eternally beautiful Hemaji once told me, “If there is one contemporary  actress I like the best it is  Deepika. She is  so beautiful and so talented. And so dignified in her  public  conduct. There are  so many of contemporaries who keep shooting off their mouths  to get attention. Not Deepika.I  think  she  is  more talented  beautiful and  dedicated to her work that  I ever  was. And so graceful!”

Deepika is  also  more competitive than Hemaji ever was. She doesn’t come  across as being competitive. But she is. The  only reason she went abroad was to give Priyanka Chopra a run for her money. And no harm in that. Shabana Azmi would  hound a  director  she wanted to work with  until he or she  said yes.

Deepika doesn’t know this. But she makes some  of  the  biggest legends  of  our celluloid feel  insecure. I remember this incident at   the 50th  birthday  of  a director  where  beauty queen  , diva, icon, bahu of  a distinguished family turned  up her nose  the minute Deepika walked in. “What is  she  doing here?” she asked . Errr, exactly what you are  doing?

The first time I  heard  about Ms Padukone was when  my friend Priyadarshan was planning to launch her in a  film called Pirates.  “There’s a new girl from Bangalore.  I think she has  great potential,” he  told me excitedly. The  next thing  I knew Deepika  was  being launched by Farah  Khan. Since Deepika knew nothing about the  Hindi film industry she was  advised that  Farah was a safer bet than Priyan, though that  is  a debatable point.

Our conversations back then were warm but formal. Then one day she  surprised me  by asking, “When do I get to meet you, ?” It  was unexpected. We didn’t get an opportunity to build a stronger  bond.But I am  happy to see Deepika in such a happy marriage after an unhappy  relationship where she  was  totally devoted. I wouldn’t like to go into why that relationship ended. But  she  gave it her all,  as she does  to everything she  does.

The  last two years was  not very kind to Deepika, and  it wasn’t just the  Covid. But Deepika always shows grace under  pressure. I have never seen her do  anything undignified . She is   a very proper lady,  likes all her ps and  qs  in  place and never  errs in her duties.I am sure Deepika will make  a great mother soon. Ranveer will  agree with that.

Deepika  will agree with me  when I say Cocktail  in 2012  was  a turningpoint in her career.

She had said  to me   in an interview, “I was ready to take the risk of playing grey characters. Veronica in ‘Cocktail’ was very different from what I’ve done so far. She didn’t live by any of the rules. But even Veronica was finally looking for the same things that all girls want: permanence, stability and faith in a relationship. The film’s writer, Imtiaz Ali and director Homi Adajania, had the faith that I could pull it off. Their faith gave me the confidence to just go out there and play this wild child. It was fun to play wicked. I’d like to do it more often.”

When she came in  she found the scrutiny of her  personal life very  discomforting. “All this is very new for me. My father (badminton champ Prakash Padukone) was also a celebrity, but we were never exposed to media coverage. Before I went into the modelling profession, I did go into my dad’s profession – it was the expected thing. I played badminton at the national level. But I realised my heart was set on modelling. Movies weren’t even in my range of vision. But after two years of modelling, I started getting film offers I was only 18 then. I didn’t want to jump into anything.”

Deepika  made her  debut  in a Kannada film  Aishwarya. Deepika  is  from Karnataka and it was directed by a young and talented man, Indrajit Lankesh. Furthermore, she  was paired with a huge Kannada star, Upendra.

Recalled  Deepika,  “I  learnt Kannada in school. Farah Khan had already offered me Om Shanti Om. But we were to shoot a year later. So I did the Kannada film.Initially, I was very nervous about working with Shah Rukh Khan. But Farah and Shah Rukh made it very comfortable for me. We did readings together, we met socially so that we were comfortable when we faced the camera. He’s again someone I grew up watching.”

Now  happily married, Deepika  exudes  a sense  of  wellbeing that comes naturally only to those who are secure in their lives. . And she does look  drop dead gorgeous, even in that  very uncomfortable  posture  of sensuality  in  Pathan.


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