The queen of hearts Deepika Padukone talks about women centric films, working with Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the secret behind her ever smiling face and a lot more in an exclusive conversation with Nidhi Kumari of Indus Age. Excerpts:
The Indian cinema industry is witnessing women centric films that are doing extremely well. And you have featured in many of those films and now Padmaavat is also surrounded around a woman .What’s your take on that?
There are female centric films and then there is Padmaavat. The important thing to note here is the scale and how big the film has been mounted that a women centric film has never seen. Like there have been women oriented films which I have been a part of- like Piku for example and that gives a different sort of high.
Padmavat is very similar and still very different. While it’s a journey of a woman, her sacrifice, her courage, intelligence put together, but the way this film is mounted, it is one of the most expensive films of Indian Cinema…that in itself is a huge turning point for Indian cinema. And hopefully the beginning of many more to come.
You are playing the character of a legendary Queen..So, how challenging was it for you to get into that character?
Honestly, it wasn’t a challenge. I feel the characteristics that she has are very relatable to me as a woman. Her power, strength, courage, intelligence and vulnerability. In fact, these are the traits which any woman would relate to.
Deepika, what kept you passionate about your film Padmaavat?
I think the fact that the story needs to be told. Her journey, belief, what she stood for, her valour, which is very inspiring and it needed to be told.
Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known to bring out the best out of an actor. How far do you agree with that?
Absolutely 100% …We worked in Ramleela, Bajirao Mastani and now again a period film Padmaavat. Even that time of nurturing our relations evolved and we get to the stage where he cast me in Padmaavat. He has enriched me both as an actor and as a human being, I have learned so much working with him, being around him. His eyes for details and perfections are all to learn from him.
Speaking about the music and dance of the film, it is breaking records….Ghoomar is already the talk of the town…Was it difficult for you to dance with all the heavy jewellery and beautiful costume?
May be it was , now when I think back how heavy my lehenga was or how uncomfortable the jewellery was. But to be honest at that moment, when the camera is rolling I am not really thinking about those things. It is what it is when you’re playing a character and being true to that moment.
Did you have to put any extra effort or find it challenging to get into the Rajputi style, dialect etc.?
Ammm…It wasn’t a challenge. I needed time to think and understand the intricacies of the Rajput culture, like the way they speak, the way they walk, you need to be mindful of that. It was difficult but I enjoyed the process.
…And you are known to take up challenging roles.
I am always drawn to characters where it’s not easy. I need that challenge…Having said that people around me say that I need to do films that are slightly less complicated – maybe to take a break emotionally.
Talking about your co-stars, Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer singh, How was the entire experience of working with Shahid Kapoor and collaborating with Ranveer Singh? And who was more fun working with?
When you are doing a film like Padmaavat, you are not really thinking of who you are having more fun with. Ranveer and I have played eternal lovers in the past. And now we are in a film where we sort of hate each other, we can’t stand the sight of each other… We don’t even have scenes together. So, that’s bizarre an experience.
Padmaavat has only raised the bar of expectations. What is it that you want the audience to take away from when they watch it.
The takeaway should be her power, and strength of courage and everything that she stood up for. While the film will move you emotionally, you will also get inspired.
What’s the secret behind your ever cheerful, calm, poised and beautiful face on and off screen?
Laughs…mentally at peace which you need to work on. I am at peace with everything that I have and all that I have around me.
Any special moment during the shoot of the film that will stay with you?
May be…the moment when Sanjay (Leela Bhansali) and I sat together and we have eaten together. One thing we have in common is that we both love eating. Whenever we had a good scene which was very often, we would order some namkeen or dessert from somewhere.
Any dialogue from the film that you want to share…
The dialogue which I find extremely powerful and impactful which is seen in the trailer as well, Rajputi Kangan Me Utni Hi Taakat Hai, Jitni Rajputi Talvaar Me….
Message for your fans in Australia
Oh! My God, do I have fans in Australia? Wow…(smiles) I have been to Australia a few years ago and I love it. I love all of you because you all have been an amazing part of my journey. You inspire me to do what I do So, thank you so much. I cannot wait to share the Padmaavat experience with all of you.
(Interview courtesy: Mindblowing Films and Paramount Pictures).