Deepika Padukone now an all-rounder: Farah Khan

IANS| Updated: Jan 17, 2014, 12:03 PM IST

New Delhi: Isn`t it interesting that when Farah Khan wanted a newcomer for her 2007 film ‘Om Shanti Om’, she zeroed in on then debutante Deepika Padukone? And when she wanted a "star" for her new film ‘Happy New Year’, it was the same name that struck her.

Farah says Deepika leaves her impressed with her all-rounder quality. "I`m so happy that Deepika is in `Happy New Year`," Farah said.

Busy directing ‘Happy New Year’, she can only look back with a smile at how Deepika has emerged in a league of her own.

Rightly so! The actress delivered four back-to-back hits at the Bollywood box office in 2013 – ‘Race 2’, ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, ‘Chennai Express’ and ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’ - and emerged as a hero among heroes, quite literally.

Each role and film was different from the other and yet each of these sailed smoothly to the Rs.100 crore club. Deepika`s dancing, acting, poise, confidence and most importantly, her versatility, was hailed.

She recently clinched both the best actress awards - popular choice and jury - at the Life OK Screen Awards, where she also staged a startling dance performance.

For Farah, Deepika is an all-rounder.

"Maybe she was very good-looking, she had a fabulous body and she could dance, but in `Om Shanti Om`, we presented her really well.

"After that I felt her potential wasn`t being exploited - either she was not acting too well or the directors were not using her well. But I think in the last two years, she has really come into her own and it`s not shocking that sometimes she does a scene and I`m like `great`," said Farah.

The choreographer-filmmaker remembers how during the ‘Om Shanti Om’ shooting, she had to tell Deepika "everything" about playing the double role of superstar Shanti and a commoner Sandhya.

“‘Look left, look right, now turnaround, now smile`, I used to tell her everything. But now she comes all prepared and does something wonderful in front of the camera,” the 49-year-old filmmaker said.

The process of choosing an actress for ‘Happy New Year’ was long and tedious, but Farah is glad Deepika is playing the "pivotal" part.

"For `Om Shanti Om`, I was confident I wanted a newcomer. And for this one (`Happy New Year`), I felt I needed a top actress to hold a whole drama between five guys together. Deepika was perfect," she added.

The casting for the role that Deepika plays in the movie went on for almost a year, recalls Farah. And then the filmmaker also had the curious media playing the guessing game for a long time.

"It had become a national obsession," Farah quipped.

‘Happy New Year’, a musical heist, features a cast of six actors - Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood, Vivaan Shah and Deepika.

"She`s got such a pivotal role. She`s the only girl and she`s literally their coach and teacher. Deepika has become such a good actress that even I was shocked sometimes with her acting," said Farah.

The movie is currently being shot, and it will be ready for release around Diwali this year.