The dimpled beauty from Bangalore, Deepika Padukone sets the pulse racing every time she comes on the silver screen. Deepika, who proved her acting prowess in ‘Om Shanti Om’ and ‘Love Aaj Kal’, will soon be seen in Ashutosh Gowariker’s ‘Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se’. The gorgeous young lady has come of age after facing turbulence in her personal life and is going great despite rumor mongering about her relationship with business tycoon Vijay Mallaya’s son Siddharth.
In an exclusive interview with Swati Chaturvedi of Spicezee.com on her chat show Kahiye Janab, Deepika talks about her B-town innings and her idea of a perfect relationship.
Swati: This is the second time I am meeting you. Please describe Deepika now. How much has she changed?
Deepika: I am very happy with the kind of films I have been doing. And there has been a remarkable difference.
Swati: You are now a critically acclaimed actor. ‘Love Aaj Kal’ according to many people was a “cult” film. You played ‘Meera’ in the film. How similar to or different is Meera from Deepika.
Deepika: Yes. ‘Meera’ and I are very similar. And I am playing ‘Aaliya’ in my forthcoming film ‘Break Ke Baad’ with Imran Khan. For me, playing ‘Meera’ was a lot easier…it came naturally to me but I had to really work hard on ‘Aaliya’.
Swati: Describe Deepika in three words for ‘Kahiye Janab’.
Deepika: I am a very reserved person. It takes time for me to make friends. I do speak to everyone, but I take time to make good friends. I am fond of eating.
Swati: It doesn’t seem so.
Deepika: (Grins and says) I love to eat. And I am very ambitious.
Swati: You mean to say you want to be No.1? Say.
Deepika: (Giggles and nods her head in yes) Yes I want to be No. 1.
Swati: You debuted with ‘Om Shanti Om’, a big banner film with none other than the Badshah of Bollywood. You won instant fame. But what immediately followed were a lot of speculations about your personal life. Considering the fact that you are a professional working woman, what made your career derail after your debut? How much have you progressed to the goal of being ‘No. 1?
Deepika: My focus has never been to become No. 1. I believe that if you are committed to what you do and do it with utmost sincerity and with good intention, everything else will follow. Be it success, money, fame or fan following. I think if you are only focusing on being No. 1, then you lose out on the objectivity to the kind of work you want to do. And you cannot remain in that position if you are not doing it the right way. I believe in doing the right films with the right people and this will strengthen my fan base and eventually take me to the No. 1 spot.
Swati: Do you feel you are moving in the right direction…be it in terms of the films you do, the endorsements you take up, your interaction with media and you personal life.
Deepika: In a lot of spaces…Yes. As far as films are concerned, I am very happy and content with the choices I have made. And in terms of my personal life, as you rightly said, there was a derailment. But that is what people feel. The media threw a lot of light on my personal life, making my career graph look slump. But I am probably doing a lot more work now than ever before and there is nothing that has dampened a healthy growth in my career.
Swati: There is a very clever strategy which is being adopted by a lot of Bollywood couples these days. They tend to co-brand themselves. I wouldn’t name them…
Deepika: Now aren’t you being politically correct?
Swati: No..no…(Smiles) Couples like Saifeena, Abhiash are brand ambassadors of various products. They endorse brands as a couple and also act in movies. Such a strategy does intelligently add to their brand value.
Deepika: (Agreeing with Swati) Yes. True.
Swati: You haven’t done anything of that sort. I have even heard you saying that you don’t want to discuss your personal life any longer with the media.
Deepika: Yes, precisely I think I felt that if I am being honest about my personal life then the media would respect it and not pry more into anything else.
Swati: But wouldn’t you be interested in knowing about a celeb?
Deepika: Yes, I would and I completely understand. I don’t disagree at all that there is a “want” to know more about a celebrity’s life. And this does come as a part of being in this profession. But it is up to me to decide whether or not I want to speak about my private life.
Swati: I have interviewed Ranbir twice on this show. There are plenty of women in India, young, single and old, who want to know who he is dating. And same is the case with you. You are young and a beautiful girl.
Deepika: I understand why people want to know more about my personal life…what am I doing, where and with whom I am going, what I am wearing. Had I not been a celebrity, I would have been equally curious to know more about a star. I think enough has been talked about my personal life and I believe at the end, I am all about my work. How ever many fans I have had since ‘Om Shanti Om’, it is because of my work and they will continue to remain my fans irrespective of who I am dating.
Swati: But that is quite natural. You are young and beautiful…
Deepika: Yes, true, but that does not mean I will stop leading my life the way I want to. I will go wherever I want to…go for movies with friends…dine with my family…
Swati: And cook…
Deepika: (Surprised) How do you know that?
Swati: Siddharth Mallya had tweeted that he wanted you to bake a cake for him.
Deepika: (Blushes) Oh God! Yes I am a good cook. I can bake, I can cook Indian…
Swati: Did you bake a cake for Siddharth?
Deepika: Well…I was about to bake, but only if they had won the match. Since they lost, clearly they were not going to get it.
Swati: How sad. How about giving them a consolation in the form of a brownie?
Deepika: No…they should have worked hard for it.
Swati: You are seen with Siddharth Mallya these days. There is a lot of speculation in the media. I am asking you a straight question. Are you in a relationship with him?
Deepika: (Smiles) Enough has been spoken about my personal life, so let the speculations be. I love the fact that people are curious to know who I am dating, what I am doing.
Swati: So you don’t want to say anything about Siddharth.
Swati: Is Siddharth nice looking?
Deepika: (Blushes and smiles) I am sure he is.
Swati: Don’t you know that?
Deepika: Haven’t you seen him?
Swati: He is very nice.
Deepika: Yes he is very good looking.
Swati: The tweet came into public light and so was the news of Siddharth being among the audience recently when you walked the ramp. So these things do give a chance to people to talk about.
Deepika: Of course. People do have other things to do as well. Just because people keep saying, I will not stop living my life the way I want to. Speculations will never cease to exist. So I want my work to speak and I want to focus on my career alone.
Swati: What kind of roles are you planning to do?
Deepika: I think I have already proved my mettle as an actor. I have done a variety of roles. ‘Om Shanti Om’ was an out and out commercial flick. ‘Love Aaj Kal’ was a romantic love story which talked about today’s relationships. I did ‘Lafangey Parindey’, ‘Housefull’ and now I will be seen in ‘Break Ke Baad’ and also in ‘ Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Se’. I think I am fortunate enough that my directors think I can play any kind of roles. And as an actor it is very important to be versatile.
Swati: You share a great chemistry with all your co-stars. Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan- who among these men is your favourite co-star?
Deepika: (Doesn’t name any one in particular but talks about the experience working with these stars) Yes. When I work with senior stars I talk less and listen more. I keep observing how they work and function. But when I work with Ranbir and Imran, who are of the same age, there is a great comfort level as there is a scope for committing a mistake.
Swati: When ‘DDLJ’ had released, you were just seven. Your first film was with Shah Rukh Khan (it can’t get better than this). Bollywood men never seem to age and the women’s age freezes at 24. Why is it so?
Deepika: I think in India, a woman’s priorities changes after marriage. I am sure Kajol gives priority to her family before anything else, which is why she is seen in one movie a year.
Swati: Will Deepika’s priorities change after marriage?
Deepika: I would like to continue working but everything is up in the air. I can’t say much about it at the moment. But I would like to continue working even if I am not acting. People say I have great managerial skills, so I might turn a producer.
Swati: You made a public comment that you know how bad it is being two timed and betrayal in a relationship really hurts. Who is the person who had betrayed you? Everybody thinks it is Ranbir. But he clarified he wasn’t the one. Your take on that..
Deepika: I would not like to name that person as it would be “unfair” to the relationship. People will say whatever they wanted to say. But there is a certain amount of dignity that one needs to maintain.
Swati: Has your perspective about relationships changed? Define a perfect relationship.
Deepika: No. My perspective about relationship hasn’t changed. I look up to my parents who share a beautiful bond together. They have had so many years of commitment and are still going strong. I would like to have a relationship like theirs.
Adapted by: Gayatri Sankar