Deepika Padukone was last seen in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Padmaavat, one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time. It was also one of the few times a female lead has been at the forefront of such a large-scale Bollywood film. Padukone's next movie, an adaptation of the book Mafia Queens of Mumbai helmed by Vishal Bhardwaj, has been put on hold owing to co-star Irrfan Khan's health issues.
She told Film Companion about the kind of roles she wishes would come her way and how success has empowered her. Here are a few excerpts from the conversation:
ON WHETHER THE SUCCESS OF PADMAAVAT HAS EMPOWERED HER
It has never been about now what. Whatever you do, do it with some purpose and intention. To be able to bring some change, impact peoples lives, or be able to empower people with my work – that's my intention. I think the film I pick now would have to be meaningful. Piku was a small film but it had depth. I have to find that connect with the script. It is not budget related or else I would not have done Finding Fanny.
ON HANDLING SUCCESS
It's important to keep reminding yourself of why you are here and who are those people and what are those decisions that helped you get here. If I had to sum it up in one line – it is to not forget my roots. I mean that in so many ways.
ON OVERCOMING HER SHYNESS FOR THE CAMERA
I'm still shy. I'm just better equipped to handle it. But I'm inherently shy and awkward. I think the mistake that I made earlier is that the fact that I was shy off screen, I'd bring it on screen too. I think directors who realised that and understood how to break it l, they did. But on my own I think I was able to change it in Cocktail.
ON WHY HER PROCESS OF PICKING SCRIPTS HASN'T CHANGED
The process is the same. I think earlier, there were times I was tempted to do films because it was a big project and certain names were coming together, and the script can be worked later. But with success comes confidence. Today I can say it's not okay. Success makes me a lot of confident and feel free. It gives me the ability to express. It doesn't feel like a burden. I feel empowered.
ON WORKING AFTER MARRIAGE
It's too much a part of my life for me to say I can walk away from it. But I think that home, family, parents, marriage is very important for me. Today I can see my self as a working wife or mother. I think I'd drive every body around me mad if I didn't work.
ON THE FILM SHE WOULD LIKE TO DO NEXT
I can't tell you how many people have said, "can you do another Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani?" But people aren't making that many love stories any more. Everyone is making sports biopics. I want to do something fun and light – that's my brief! And that hasn't come as yet.
ON LIFE AFTER PADMAAVAT
I'm helping my parents complete their home. I'm putting my own house in order – I love doing that. I was setting up my office. It was year end so I was busy closing accounts. So just some paperwork, a little printing, stapling and emailing – I love doing that.
Watch the full interview here: