Deepika: I don’t know how to be casual in a relationship

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You expect this leggy beauty from B-Town to be perky and energetic practically every time you speak to her. The lady hasn’t changed one bit since her debut film Om Shanti Om. She may have done a male oriented Chandni Chowk To China in the interim or delivered a career defining performance in Cocktail. However, the spunk in her voice and the love for movies have been uniform throughout. This is evidenced all over again as we get chatting with her about finally entering the ` 100 crore club with Race 2, enjoying a consistent run at the movies for over half a decade, being single and reuniting with her ‘first hero’ Shah Rukh Khan in Chennai Express. Presenting the uncensored Bollywood diva Deepika Padukone…
For Deepika, the race to the ` 100 crore line wasn’t without hiccups. “Brand Race is big enough, you can’t ignore that,” interrupts Deepika. Even as the film was minting money in the opening weekend, average reviews and mixed word-of-mouth meant that there were some scares thrown in its journey. But fortune favoured and eventually, in two weeks, the film crossed the ` 100 crore mark. “I’d like to believe that it was the content that worked. Of course it came under scrutiny, but then the audience gave it a green signal and this is what matters eventually, isn’t it?
In times when you don’t even give one chance to a film, if people went for it the second time over, then definitely there was something going in its favour. Moreover, there was also a lot of expectation right from the time the project was announced. As a team, we were sure that we had a winner in our hands.”
While this pretty much sounds like a controlled and a copy book explanation, one can sense that she is being humble enough by not acknowledging the kind of contribution she ended up making to the success of the sequel. After all, she was hot enough to bring in the audience and her ‘party girl’ image coupled with the fact that she was plastered all over in the film’s promotions (despite it being primarily an all-men affair) was a reason good enough for the audience to step in. “I can’t say that, it would sound pompous,” she laughs. “Well, I am glad that people have appreciated not just the film, but also my contribution, both from the look and performance perspective. If some people out there say that they thought of me after the film was over, that is indeed something. I would like to cherish such compliments. In a sense it was also taking forward those expectations that people had in me since Cocktail.”
But after working in films where she has been playing the female lead, didn’t she reconsider to be a part of a multi star cast film? After all, unlike Cocktail, this wasn’t one film where she was in every frame right from start to the finish. Didn’t that worry her while doing the film or after she saw the final cut? “No, it didn’t worry me at all,” pat comes the reply. “Because in certain films, you need team effort and success wouldn’t have been possible had there been focus on only one or two people. Race 2 is the kind of film that requires girls to be glamorous and look their best. This is what I had to do by being extremely stylish and well presented. From that perspective, it all worked well for me,” says Deepika.
She could well be thanking her stars that she eventually did Race 2 after opting out of it once. Enough mudslinging happened between producer Ramesh Taurani and her before she finally decided to stay back in the film. Eventually, everything worked in her favour, what with the film turning out to be a success for her. “I have always believed that since the film was in my destiny, I was part of it. I am glad that everything worked out and I am a part of this year’s first big success. In fact, I thank everyone for giving me this film,” says Deepika.
In the process, the film has also turned out to be her biggest grosser since her debut flick Om Shanti Om that had collected close to ` 80 crores back then. “Commercially speaking, Race 2 has been my biggest till date though as an actor, I have also gained a lot from Love Aaj Kal and Cocktail,” she says, “Honestly, ` 100 crores and talks around that aren’t something that I think of. In fact, it actually strikes me only when people SMS me stating that my film has done so and so business. Otherwise I am not consciously fretting over numbers. Yes, it is great that Race 2 has got into the ` 100 crore club, but if you ask me, I don’t want to be associated with the ` 100 crore tag!”
Well, she may or may not be saying that, but deep down her heart she would well be knowing that in the months to come, she would have at least a couple of more ` 100 crore films to her name before the year comes to an end. A film which is the hottest contender for this fate is Chennai Express where she has the advantage of not just being the solo heroine, but also be paired opposite none other than Shah Rukh Khan. So can the audience expect a ‘dhamaal’ non-stop fun entertainer here? “You can say so,” she says, “It’s great to be with Shah Rukh again. He had always said that whenever he and I had to come together again, it had to be much more special than our first film since there is always that kind of expectation when a hit pairing comes together.