19 stunning photos of Deepika Padukone from the Elle archives
Including never-before-seen photos from her modelling days
December is always a special time of the year—this one, even more so, as we clock in 20 years on Indian newsstands. So how do you commemorate two decades’ worth of cutting-edge fashion and inspiring stories that have kept women all over the country entertained, informed and stylish as ever? With five covers, of course—and five extraordinary personalities behind them: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Virat Kohli, PV Sindhu and M.I.A. blurred the lines between their respective fields and came together to mark the occasion like never before.
“To celebrate 20 years of India’s original fashion magazine, we wanted to spotlight five superstar achievers who together define our world in this ever-changing moment,” says ELLE Editor Aishwarya Subramanyam. “Here’s our mission statement: our five covers celebrate the trailblazers. Those who defy their critics, bare their fears, make their own rules, turn pressure into performance, speak truth to power. The Mavericks. The Originals.”
Getting together five powerhouses wasn’t simple, but for our 20th anniversary, nothing less would do. “It would have been easy to throw in confetti, sparkles and bling to celebrate this milestone. But we chose the classic route. Quality trumps volume, as we opt for a slightly minimalistic vibe; letting our contemporary interpretation of today’s classics do the talking,” says ELLE’s Fashion Director Malini Banerji.
Thankfully, Deepika’s unrelenting confidence took care of half the job, making sure that everything she touched flattered her. “With the New Year staring us in the face, we gave into the celebratory mood with a regal red Bibhu Mohapatra gown with dragonfly detailing,” explains Malini. “Her luminous glow and super-toned figure meant that it took us just 20 minutes to finalise the outfits. She owns whatever she wears and her elegance can only be described as effortless.”
While Deepika is no stranger to the spotlight, Olympic medallist PV Sindhu came as a surprise package. “She may not belong to the modelling fraternity, but it’s hard to tell: her enthusiasm for fashion is infectious. She is game for everything, and takes a keen interest in everything she’s wearing. She’s a photographer’s dream,” says Malini.
Flip through the gallery to check out our special anniversary covers.
On the cover: Silk and twill dress, Bibhu Mohapatra. Gold, brass, palladium and pink-gold earrings, brass and metal earrings with gold finish; both Louis Vuitton.
Photograph: Prasad Naik. Styling: Malini Banerji. Art Direction: Reshma Rajiwdekar. Hair: Gabriel Georgiou/ Anima Creative Management. Make-Up: Anil Chinnappa.
Georgette dress, Rs 75,000, Namrata Joshipura. Emerald earrings, price on request, Amrapali.
In a short 30 years, Deepika Padukone has managed to go from former badminton champ to Kingfisher model to possibly, India’s most powerful female actor. We first recognised Deepika’s potent superstardom when she shot for our June 2005 cover, where she was touted as the model of the moment. Two years later, she would make her dream debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om, and begin her stratospheric rise to the very top of Bollywood’s celebrity food chain. Fast-forward to December 2016, when Deepika fronted our 20th anniversary cover issue, and little about her drive, poise and beauty has changed.
In her most recent interview, we asked the jet-setting star to describe her perfect day. She told us she’d “hopefully have slept by 10.30pm the night before as opposed to late, like 11.30 or midnight. I’d wake up at 8am, eat a good South Indian breakfast, throw in a workout. Then I’d clean my house. The whole house. Open all the cabinets, count the crockery. Make sure everything is in order. Then I’d do my accounts.”
While we’re hoping Deepika’s plans for the big 3-0 are a little more exciting than that, we thought to pay tribute to the reigning queen of Bollywood with a little trip down memory lane.