For me, the name Deepika Padukone isn't just synonymous with generic beauty and stardom, but rather resonates with persistence, adept craftsmanship, and unparalleled artistic courage. An ardent performer of visual arts, Deepika's career graph highlights steady growth; a quality that is often undervalued today. She is one of the few mainstream actors who can ace any role given to her. She has, over the years, mastered the subtle balance of submitting to the director's vision while retaining her distinctive artistry. Needless to say, her creative choices are as versatile as they are riveting, displaying a fondness for cinematic experimentation. What makes Deepika Padukone a truly exceptional thespian, according to me, is her consistent ability to hone the craft and better herself with each film. Be it dialogue delivery, body language, or depiction of emotions, Deepika has mastered every acting facet that there is.
Now if one were to ask me my favourite Deepika Padukone movie, there is certainly one that stands out from a plethora of memorable performances. It is undoubtedly Piku. Helmed by Shoojit Sircar from a brilliant screenplay by Juhi Chaturvedi, Piku is a story about a frustrated daughter and her hypochondriac father. As Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, and Irrfan effortlessly propel this simple framework, Piku becomes a heartwarming yet relatable story. Sprinkled with everyday instances, the absence of grandiose makes this movie so transparent and honest.
Coming to Deepika's performance, the ease that she brings to her screen presence is truly remarkable. What's more noteworthy is that at no point is she overwhelmed by her legendary co-actors. She also matches the tone of the movie flawlessly, portraying her role with admirable confidence. At every anchoring moment, she convinces the viewer of Piku's anguish, irk, joy, poignancy, and resolution. From the very first frame, you forget the superstar much revered for her grace and poise and get drawn into the story of a headstrong Piku who is navigating through personal challenges.
Shoojit Sircar takes a rather fresh approach, with the incorporation of layers, to the theme of parent-child relationships. The depiction of platonic affection is equally unconventional. However, the biggest achievement for the makers of Piku has to be the sincere creation of a delightfully relatable female protagonist. To have a central character who is financially independent and unmarried, living with her stubborn father, all the while yearning for some distance is indeed phenomenal. Piku is a beautiful amalgamation of real complexities. She doesn't come off as a caricature, but rather an endearing depiction freed from writing tropes.
Even today, it is very common to see female characters being boxed up. The unilateral approaches and banal traits are seriously tiresome. For a novice screenwriter such as myself, watching Deepika Padukone break all barriers and nurture her skills serves as a true inspiration. And in Piku, as the end credits begin to roll after a friendly game of badminton, you are surely left wanting for more.