When one thinks of Deepika Padukone, it’s very hard not to think about her beauty. She is one of the most beautiful women to have been a part of Indian cinema in this generation. However, this beauty has worked hard and made her way to the top of her game. She is undoubtedly the biggest leading lady in terms of successes in 2013 and 2014 is sure to get better for her. I had the privilege of interacting with her in London last year when she came over to the capital for promotions of Chennai Express with the one and only King Khan. Although this was my first experience of meeting her, I can safely say she gave off a really warm vibe. Sound a little odd but I didn’t expect quite that from her – I knew she’d be a great person to meet but with me being a typical Scorpio who can tell a lot from a vibe, I was pleasantly surprised. Today, as she celebrates her birthday, I’m going to revisit my five most favourite on-screen characters of hers.
Gayatri in Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008)
This is undoubtedly one of Deepika’s best performance in the early part of her career. Acting with Ranbir Kapoor for the first time, it was a delight seeing her on screen. She provided a very fresh look and feel as Gayatri and her chemistry (which was in real life too) with Ranbir was what made the film so special. My favourite scene has got to be the one where he proposes to her with candles in the background and she turns him down. It’s a beautifully shot scene which is all the more refreshing because her character is focussed on making money and a career for herself than settling down with someone she loves (whenever she realises she loves him!).
Shonali in Karthik Calling Karthik (2010)
The overall plot of KCK was a little far-fetched I admit but the performances were the saving grace of the film. Deepika played the character of Shonali was utter grace alongside Farhan Akhtar’s split personality Karthik. Once again, Deepika’s shine was hard to miss as she made an unrealistic plot look so easy to put to the audiences. Her pairing with Farhan was something that worked only because of this and, even though the film proved a little too complicated to make an impact, Shonali remains a character that is a credit to Deepika.
Veronica in Cocktail (2012)
Many see Deepika’s performance as Veronica as the point where her career took a turn for the better. I have got to disagree somewhat. I am very much of the thinking that her rendition as the rich-kid was very convincing and power-packed but in all honesty it was not one in which she was out of her depth in. The talent of hers was not seen for that kind of character up until that point because she hadn’t had the opportunity to bring it to the forefront. Nonetheless, the film itself was a very easy film to relate to and Deepika’s performance in the happy scenes as well as the more dramatic was to be noted.
Naina in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)
This one is the one that will stay in my heart forever. I cannot imagine any other actress playing the role of Naina other than Deepika in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Her beauty, her natural way of finding a way in the audience’s and in Bunny’s heart is just electric to see on the screen. She is just at ease playing an awkward and studious Naina (scholar Naina as Bunny put it) as she is playing the Dilliwali Girlfriend. Her transformation from the first to the second half is just brilliant and she is indeed the icing on the cake when it comes to Balam Pichkari which is undoubtedly the track of the year. My favourite scene in this film is when she’s looking out at the view and slows Bunny down to cherish the moment… beautiful and very poignant.
Leela in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013)
In her most recent film, Deepika once again outdoes herself which she has done at many times in the last year alone. Leela is of course Shakespeare’s Juliet. However, Deepika has never looked quite as beautiful in any film as she has done in Ram-Leela. Whether it be Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s direction, the grand costumes or simply her sizzling chemistry with her rumoured boyfriend (and my husband) Ranveer Singh, she is so alluring on screen that it’s hard to describe in words. It’s almost as if all throughout the movie, your eyes are just yearning for another jhalak of Deepika Padukone.
I have to give a special mention to her performance as Meenalochini in Chennai Express. She didn’t quite make my list with that character but she was brilliant in the film with her bokwaas dictionary. Her South Indian accent, temper and lovable attitude was a joy to watch on the screen and she outshone even King Khan… and that’s saying something!
My wish for Deepika on her birthday today is that I hope she is approached for character roles and ones that perhaps don’t rely on her beauty so much. I’d love to see her in a de-glam avatar playing a role which would really put her on the map. However, until that comes, let me wish her a happy birthday… because this is undoubtedly going to be a Happy New Year for her!