"I AM WHERE I AM TODAY BECAUSE OF MY OWN HARD WORK"
With a string of successful films in her kitty, today Deepika Padukone is one of the most sought-after actresses in Bollywood. From her debut film OM SHANTI OM to her last release PIKU, the gorgeous actress has very firmly established the fact that no one can hold a candle to her when it comes to portraying different characters on celluloid with elan. With her new release TAMASHA, Deepika reunites with her LOVE AAJ KAL director, Imtiaz Ali, and YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI co-star Ranbir Kapoor. Talking to Bollywood & TV Reporter Mohnish Singh, the actress opens up about her upcoming projects, relationship and her fears. Here are the excerpts:
IS CHEMISTRY WITH YOUR ACTOR AN IMPORTANT PART WHEN YOU SIGN A FILM?
I think the biggest downfall would be if you come onboard thinking that 'let's create chemistry'. It's like saying 'come on, let's make a hit film!' It is really stupid, you know. In fact, it's for people to see, people to sense and people to judge. The only thing that we can do as actors is to come onboard individually, because we feel the same kind of passion for the script, and for a director to cast us, because he sees that we are right for the part or as actors we will do justice to that part. In the process of being honest to that process the chemistry should genuinely happen on its own. You can't create that. And the day you say 'come on now, let's create some chemistry' would be your biggest downfall. I think what adds to chemistry is what the film gives us as actors to play with and how the characters are written. It's actually very technically in the characters and how they are layered. So fifty percent of it is what is on paper and what director and writer have written, and fifty percent of it is what actors bring to make those characters memorable and special.
DEEPIKA, YOU ARE ON THE TOP OF THE LADDER NOW AND WE HEAR MANY ACTORS SAYING THAT IT'S VERY LONELY AT THE TOP. SO WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON IT?
See, I don't like to believe that I'm at the top of the ladder because if I'm at the top then there is nowhere to go from there. So, I would like to believe that I'm still on the way and that there is lot more to do and lot more to achieve. As far as loneliness is concerned, then it is Yes and No. For example, when people come into my life today, there is a feeling in me that are they friends because they genuinely care or are they wanting to be friends because of who I am of what I have achieved. So that sense is always there, but the flipside and the positive side to that is that I have had a very solid upbringing and I have had a very solid group of friends who have been a part of my life since nursery.
DOES THE FEAR OF FAILURE GROW WITH EVERY SUCCESS? THE MORE YOU, WIN THE MORE YOU STAND TO LOSE?
I have experienced it all. Whether it's in my sporting career or whether it's in my film career, I have experienced the highs and the lows. And I am where I am today because of my own hard work and maybe that's why I am so possessive and protective about it because this is the only thing that I can proudly say, my own. So no, I don't know. I don't think of success or failure when I am working. I think of passion, hard work and honesty when I am working and everything else follows. And of course I have seen the lows in my career and I have seen the high in my career and I don't take either of them for granted. People are like you are riding a high now so how does it feel? To me it feels no different for me as I am just working. I am not someone who pays too much attention to the praise or what is being written or what people say about where I am in my career. It's just a part of life. I wake up every morning and go to work like any other day.
ANY KIND OF FEAR YOU HAVE AS AN ACTOR OR INDIVIDUAL?
No. I think the only day I will worry is when I stop getting exciting roles. I think that's my only fear because I feel as an actor, I have so much to give and I feel like I have learned so much. And there is a lot of fire and hunger in me to juice every part I get. So I think that's the only fear I have that maybe someday some exciting part may not come to me. That is the only fear, no other fears.
TALKING ABOUT THE ROLES ACTORS TAKE UP AND OFF LATE THE EXTENT TO WHICH ACTORS ARE GETTING INTO THE SKIN OF THEIR CHARACTERS. DOES THAT IN ANY WAY AFFECT THE PERSONALITY OF THE ACTOR?
I'm sure it does. A lot of people give a lot of themselves - physically, mentally and emotionally to become the character. Like if he (Ranbir) is getting into Sanjay Dutt's character for his biopic, it is not going to be easy for him and somewhere no matter how much you try he will be affected, even though he has a very solid balance in his personal and professional life. So somewhere it is carrying that character home every day. Like it has happened to me also. It's happened during COCKTAIL and during BAJIRAO MASTANI too. You give so much of yourself to your character that you play and so sometimes there is a residue of the character in you for some time and you can't get over it. But, the little residue remains for sometime because you can't say like OK shooting has finished, so let's get out of that zone. Maybe there are actors who can do that, but I'm not that kind of actor. When I finished COCKTAIL, it took me a lot of time to come out of Veronica's mind space, her zone and behaviour. I had to recollect who I am. Similarly with BAJIRAO MASTANI too. So some of the films demand that.
SINCE YOU WERE SHOOTING FOR 'TAMASHA' AND 'BAJIRAO MASTANI' AT THE SAME TIME SO DID YOU FACE THE SAME THING? WAS IT DIFFICULT FOR YOU?
See, for TAMASHA it was still slightly easier to get into the character in a sense that at least from a character point of view it is slightly more real and relatable character. Tara could be anyone of us today. For me Naina Talvar was just me, I just had to be myself and Tara is also someone similar again. But it is not Mastani or Veronica, where it is completely different from who I am. But there are shades of familiarity. What was difficult in TAMASHA was especially the second half bits where there is a lot of breakdown and emotional drama in between both the characters. That is tough on you as an actor because you are manipulating your feelings and emotions on a daily basis. We could have woken up in the morning had a great breakfast and were ready to shoot and then you will be like 'Oh now I have to get into another scene'.
IS THAT YOUR PAST WHICH HAS MADE YOU SO PRIVATE WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR PERSONAL LIVES?
Absolutely yes, if there is a certain aspect of our life that you are not comfortable in sharing, it is because of our past experiences. What happens is from a journalist's point of view, it's reporting. But from a human being point of view, it causes a lot of stress on a relationship. And what we experienced in that effort of being honest is there was no end to the speculations.