Barely out of her enigmatic role as Rani Padmavati in Padmaavat, Deepika Padukone is already gearing up for her next. In an interview with Vogue India for its February edition, she agrees, however, that the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film will stay with her for a long time. Ahead of the film’s release, Deepika Padukone fought a lone battle against the fringe outfits demanding its ban. Strangely, not many from the industry lent her support during these trying times. This, in stark contrast to Hollywood’s ongoing fight against sexual abuse, where actors have put up a united front. “I’m often asked: ‘What can we learn from the West?’ This [solidarity] is one of the first things we should learn from the West,” asserts Padukone, flashing her dimpled smile.
Flushed from the rave reviews coming her way for Padmaavat, Padukone is now stepping into the shoes of a gangster for Vishal Bhardwaj’s next. “Of all the scripts I’ve heard in the last two years, I’ve been stuck on this one. He [Bhardwaj] brought this to me first, got me excited and then when I was ready to do it, he had moved on to something else. But I persisted. It’s the one occasion where I pursued the director to make the film.”
The movie, based on a story from Hussain S Zaidi’s Mafia Queens, sees her reuniting with her Piku (2015) co-actor Irrfan Khan. “He’s witty, smart and intelligent. I’m glad I’ll be bouncing my ideas off someone who’s a master at what he does. For an actor, that’s going to be challenging but also exciting.” For a star of her magnitude, Padukone ensures very little of her personal life makes it to the public eye. The actor reasons, “It’s important to retain a bit of yourself for yourself — that’s what will keep you alive as a person. Also, you have to be careful, because a lot of [what is posted on] social media is merely projection. I work in the field of mental health, so I know the negative aspects of it and the kind of repercussions it can have on young minds. It’s important to find a balance.”