You can't be a film old and then get so lucky. Deepika Padukone’s first film was with Shah Rukh Khan's production, Red Chillies, and her second with Yash Raj Films. By the time she is 10 films old, she would have worked with Indian Film Industry's top 10 production houses.
And that is exactly where the problem lies. While the new generation of actors have exploded in Bollywood, what remains to be seen is how long they will last in India's most competitive and fierce professions. Well, Deepika thinks she will.
In an exclusive interview, the dimpled beauty answers questions to whether Bachna Ae Haseeno will be her boyfriend’s first big hit, whether Bipasha and Minissha are a complete mis-match for Ranbir, will she last as long as Aishwarya Rai, what makes the song Khuda jaane so special and whether she will work with SRK again.
How different is it to be working with your off screen boyfriend on screen?
It doesn't really make much of a difference. At the end of the day, when you're working and you're a part of the film, you are not really looking at whether he is your boyfriend or not because you're in your workspace at that moment.
Your debut film took you to a lavish red carpet premiere in London. Where is Bachna Ae Haseeno going to take you?
Well, I don't know what Yash Raj has planned for this film, but I'm sure it will go somewhere as far as the premiere is concerned and, as for the film, it will go places.
While Siddharth Anand's previous two films were big hits, Ranbir's Saawariya was a complete no-no. Will Bachna Ae Haseeno be Siddharth's hat-trick of hits and Ranbir's first big hit?
Most definitely. That's what I believe. I think we all have worked really hard, but more than us, Ranbir and Siddharth have worked that little extra to add the best. I hope and pray that they both get what they want from Bachna Ae Haseeno.
As far as the pairing goes, don't you think Bipasha and Minissha are a bit of a mis-match for Ranbir?
[Laughs] I am not in charge of casting here. But the way the story and script is, other characters are required and both Bipasha and Minissha have done a great job, whatever little I have seen of the film. That's all I can say.
Brief us about your experience with Ranbir in different cities around the world you've travelled for the film.
Well, I only got to work with him in Sydney and then for the song Khuda jaane in Italy. So both were great experiences. In Sydney, we were there for almost 25 days–we were shooting the scenes. Italy was great fun, too. It was 10 days of shooting this lovely romantic song in these beautiful locations. I don't think I would have discovered this beautiful place had we not shot this song there and now, since we have discovered it, it's a place I would like to go for a holiday or honeymoon.
The most exciting part of shooting this song was that we would shoot everyday and travel in the evening to another location, set up in the next place, and shoot again the whole day. I don't think anyone has ever travelled so much to shoot one song.
So is marriage on the cards?
I'm not thinking of marriage as of now. Definitely not at the moment.
Khuda jaane sung by Kay Kay is slowly topping the charts and we know that the song means a lot to you and Ranbir.
The fact that both Ranbir and I are in love makes the song even more special because shooting the song made it a lot easier. It was a nice experience because it was the first time that we both were shooting for a romantic song together. I'm so glad that Vishal and Shekhar have managed to compile such a beautiful song for us with meaningful lyrics.
We seem to give a lot of credit to music directors and forget the choreographer and the cinematographer who are responsible for making the song visually perfect.
Most definitely. In fact, the day the song released, people started calling us from around the world and sent us messages that the song looks lovely and is a big hit in all the cities. Having said that, the three people I called up first after the news broke out was Ahmed Khan, the choreographer, Sunil Patel, the cinematographer and my director Siddharth Anand for giving us such a beautiful song.
Tell us a bit about your costumes.
My character is a young girl, an NRI who lives in Sydney. She is very trendy and forward in terms of fashion but, at the same time, she is traditional in a way. So keeping all these aspects in mind the costumes were made and when you have a designer like Akki Narula on board, I don't think one really needs to worry about being styled in a certain way because I completely trust him. I've worked with him when I was a model and I'm really glad that I got to work with him in my second film.
At the moment, only Aishwarya Rai, who came from a modelling background, is dominating in Bollywood. A few others like Dia Mirza, Celina Jaitley and Sushmita Sen, too, have made a mark. Will you be as lucky as they are?
Hopefully. Ash is someone I definitely look up to. She is someone I've really learnt a lot from and I used to watch her endorsements, her films and her modelling career right from the time she started off. I also remember watching her when she won the Miss World. If my career goes the same way as Aishwarya's, it's going to be a huge compliment for me.
Yash Raj Films are going through their worst phase in film production. Will Bachna Ae Haseeno bring a smile back to the big banner?
I think it's wrong to generalise. Everyone goes through a bad phase. I appreciate the fact that Yash Raj Films tried to do something different in terms of the kind of films that they made in the last year or two. Some films work and some films don't work but we all have worked really hard on Bachna Ae Haseeno and hope it does well for us and Yash Raj.
After having won rewards and awards for Om Shanti Om, how loyal are you going to be towards Red Chillies Production?
[Laughs] Yes. Shah Rukh Khan and I are working in a song together because Red Chillies is producing a film for Priyadarshan called Billo Barber, which also stars SRK. I don't know the name of the song as they are still working on the concept.
Have you shared screen space with Bipasha and Minissha in Bachna Ae Haseeno?
No. We've shot for a promotional song together and you will see all of four of us together, but apart from that I'm not really in charge of creative. I agreed to do the film because I liked the character and a bit of the script that was narrated to me. I wanted to be a part of this film and I did what I wanted to do.
The last time I saw your dad, Prakash Padukone was in London for your film’s premiere. Does he influence your decision in choosing or not choosing a film?
I talk to my parents everyday, and every move that I make, every endorsement that I do, every film that I do and my everyday activities are all discussed with them. My parents just don't prefer being in the limelight. They prefer being in the back seat and taking care of my career. My dad handles my finances. Today, I wouldn't have been here had my parents not supported me the way they have.
Any memorable moments of your time in Sydney with Ranbir?
We did a lot of sight seeing in Sydney but apart from that, we also enjoyed a lot in Italy where we shot Khuda jaane. When we were shooting for the song, there is this one sequence where there are a lot of pigeons. There is a shot when I turn and the pigeons fly around me. Getting the scene right was very difficult because they had to put pigeon food on my hand before the shot. And these twenty five to thirty pigeons would come and sit on me and before the camera rolled, I could see all these pigeons crawling on my hand and by the end of it I'd have little scratches on my arm. But that was a lovely experience as I am pretty frightened about these things.
How was your experience working with Yash Raj Films? Did you take Yash Chopra's blessings?
I am very glad that I got to work with the Yash Raj banner so early in my career and I am looking forward to doing more films with them. I met both Yashji and Adi several times.