Deepika Padukone has the rare ability to find strength in her own journey


Our March cover star Deepika Padukone has the rare ability to find strength in her own journey

Filmmaker Meghna Gulzar talks about how the global star never second-guesses her decisions

By Meghna Gulzar  March 9th, 2020

There is an innate strength in Deepika; which exists as a paradox because it’s the strength that she can tap into whenever she needs to, while also having a vulnerable core. Depending on the circumstance, her strength or vulnerabilities come to the fore, which I think is the embodiment of someone who has a well-rounded personality. Even before I started working with her on Chhappak (2020), I found her to be focussed, meticulous and single-minded in her determination on what she decides to do.

 

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I respect Deepika’s dedication—once she decided to do this film, no matter what came her way, whether it was the prosthetics, the shooting circumstances, emotions or the psychological impact of having these emotions, nothing made her second guess her decision. She had the empathy and the sensitivity to know the stark reality of playing the role of Malti—“I will take the face off at the end of the day, but the girls that I am portraying in the film don’t have that opportunity,” she says. She was very cognizant of it; that’s what makes Deepika a very empathetic soul. 

There were days when she would come to me and say, “You need to just take care of me today. I feel like I’m spiralling, so I’m just letting you know.” This kind of confidence in someone comes from a place of immense trust. You feel grateful that your actor trusts you, and you feel responsible to protect that trust and those emotions.

For me, choosing Deepika for the role was completely instinctive. When my co-writer Atika Chohan and I were doing our research, we had seen pictures of  Laxmi [Agarwal]. We never thought that Deepika Padukone, the star who is known for her beautiful face and glamorous appeal would even consider a film like this. I really felt that Deepika’s physical attributes were uncannily similar to Laxmi’s, and that there was very little that I would have to do apart from the prosthetics.

 

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Deepika’s biggest strengths as an actor are her discipline and her demeanour. But she also has a hidden talent—it’s the way she eats and enjoys her food; yet her discipline kicks in right in time to make her look the way she does. She’s not apologetic about the way she eats at all, and I love that about her.  

Through her journey—from Om Shanti Om (2007) where she plays two polar characters, to Piku (2015), where she plays the girl-next-door, Deepika makes sure that the audiences connect with her. She’s obviously put in something to achieve that—it’s very unassuming. And beyond her films and work (including The Live Love Laugh Foundation), I admire the fact that family is so important to her; I identify with that quality. She has a strong bond with her sister, mother and father—they are all very grounded people. And then you see her relationship with Ranveer and the importance she gives to her marriage, I respect that a lot. At the end of the day, that’s what anchors you back to the real world. That’s what keeps you earthed. I think it’s beautiful. It makes her who she is. So real. 

Deepika Padukone
Jersey swimsuit, INR 38,000, Hermès. Lamé shirt, INR 1,51,746, Missoni. Tsavorite and diamond pendant necklace, gold necklace; both prices on request, Hanut Singh
Deepika Padukone
Tulle dress, price on request, Amit Aggarwal. Sterling silver earrings, INR 81,500, sterling silver bracelet, INR 1,02,000; both Tiffany & Co.
Deepika Padukone
Silk crepe dress, INR 5,35,000, Louis Vuitton. 18K gold earrings, INR 2,27,000, Tiffany & Co.
Deepika Padukone
Cotton-blend dress, INR 64,090, Prabal Gurung. Opal, enamel and diamond pendant necklace, price on request, Hanut Singh
Deepika Padukone
Jersey swimsuit, INR 38,000, Hermès. Lamé shirt, INR 1,51,746, Missoni. Tsavorite and diamond pendant necklace, gold necklace; both prices on request, Hanut Singh
Deepika Padukone
Silk crepe dress, INR 48,950, Shivan & Narresh
Deepika Padukone
Silk dress, INR 1,39,635, Zimmermann. 18K gold earrings, INR 60,000, Tallin Jewels
Deepika Padukone
Mesh overlay bodysuit, INR 14,500 Kanika Goyal label 
Tulle dress, price on request, Amit Aggarwal. Sterling silver earrings, `81,500, sterling silver bracelet, INR 1,02,000; both Tiffany & Co.

Editor-in-chief: Supriya Dravid; Photographs:Tarun Vishwa; Styling: Malini Banerji; Art direction: Prashish More; Hair: Yianni Tsapatori/Faze Management; Make-Up: Sandhya Shekar; Production: P P productions; Assisted by: Rupangi Grover, Tejaswini Sinha (Styling) , Sejal Goyal (Intern); Location Courtesy: The Standard, Huruvalhi Maldives