National-level badminton player, award-winning performer, mental health campaigner and international style icon — Deepika Padukone is exactly where she wants to be. Serena Menon reunites the Bollywood actor with her mentor, renowned film-maker and choreographer Farah Khan, as they reflect on her journey from ingenuous debutante to industry leader.
Farah Khan (FK): No one has taken a sabbatical for this long. It’s very brave of you. During Happy New Year (2014), you were doing triple shifts and five movies in a year. Is this deliberate?
Deepika Padukone (DP): Yeah, because I feel like — and I like the word you used, brave — there always seems to be this pressure on women, especially in film, to do everything now, make hay while the sun shines…
FK: It’s always a 100-metre dash, not a marathon.
DP: And I think, somewhere, I got fed up of people telling me that. I don’t look at my career like that. The perception that it is short-lived, so you have to make the most of it. If you’re looking at a career in the long run, it’s important to replenish emotionally, and that’s why this break is important.
Check out Deepika Padukone's stunning shoot in ELLE's September issue:
Photographs: Tarun Vishwa
Styling: Malini Banerji
Art direction: Mrudul Pathak Kundu
Hair: Gabriel Georgiou/Anima Creative Management
Make-Up: Anil Chinnappa
Assisted By: Divya Gursahani, Pujarini Ghosh and Ishani Desai (Styling), Roshel Chawla (Art)