Padmavati actor Deepika Padukone: When the heart is in the right place, no one can stop a film

By Alaka Sahani, 2017-11-19 09:37:24

Padmavati is your most ambitious project so far in terms of scale. What does it mean to you?

Itís wonderful not just for me, but for women in cinema in general, considering the kind of budget woman-centric films have had in India. Iím extremely proud of the fact that today Iím in a place where producers (Viacom 18 and Bhansali Productions) not just trust me but cast me in a movie that primarily revolves around the life of a woman character. I have acted in woman-centric movies earlier, too, such as Piku. None of them were like this in terms of scale.

What did you find fascinating about the character of Padmavati?

I look at it through two different lenses. As an actor, I am excited about her strength and courage. I have played strong women characters in some of my films and each one of them is identifiable ó be it Naina from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), Veronica in Cocktail (2012) or Mastani in Bajirao Mastani. All of them have a mind of their own. Same goes for Padmavati. Todayís generation can relate to her courage. For me, the fact that such a film is made and supported is very empowering. Its first poster featured me as Padmavati. I have not seen that in a long time.

How much investment in terms of time and energy have you made?

A lot. While we were shooting for Bajirao Mastani, one day Sanjay Leela Bhansali asked me: ĎWhat are you doing next year? Keep your dates aside as Iím thinking of doing a movie on Padmavati.í So, this kind of started brewing some three years ago. A large part of the preparation for a film is a mental process. For me, it is not so much about going for diction classes or learning the dance moves ó those are simpler. Whatís important for me is that one is completely consumed by the character.

What kind of challenges did it pose for you as an actor?

It is weird that every time I talk about a movie, I feel that it is the most difficult role I have played. I have to say that again with Padmavati. I will work on my next (a movie produced by Vishal Bhardwaj on a gangster, Sapna Didi) in February. Everyone has been asking me why I am taking a long break before that. But I need that time off. Padmavati has taken so much from me ó physically and emotionally ó that I need time to rejuvenate and feel like myself again before I slip into another role.

How affected were you by the controversies around the film during its making?

We are extremely proud and confident of the film we have made. When the heart is in the right place, no one can stop a film. While working on the film, as artistes, we were in a different zone. I only spoke up last month after I finished the film and came out of that zone (she reacted to a group of protester in Surat damaging a rangoli inspired by Padmavati). Thatís when I wondered for how long are we going to remain silent? For how long would the entertainment industry be made a scapegoat for everything that happens in this country? I believe we are constantly answerable to everyone for some reason or the other. Why attack cinema which is full of love and which brings people together? Why curb peopleís freedom of expression? How long can we allow some people to get away with what they have been doing?
When you know someone in a certain way, to turn that dynamic on its head is quite challenging. We didnít meet during the shoot. We didnít have any idea about what the other person was doing.

This is your third film with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ranveer Singh. Ranveer and you played passionate lovers in the first two (Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela, 2013, and, Bajirao Mastani). In Padmavati, you donít even share the screen with him.

It is very weird! Sanjay sir brought the two of us together for two love stories and then he decided to put us in some kind of hate story. We are almost like the beauty and the beast in Padmavati.

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Source: Indian Express

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