The unstoppable Deepika Padukone

DC | Reena Kapoor | 6 hours 25 min ago

So, why a Bollywood actress on cover? To really understand the influence 27-year-old Deepika Padukone has had on on the movie industry this year, here are a few numbers for you to sample.

The actress alone can be credited with bringing Bollywood Rs 600 crore in business in 2013. No other star has achieved that milestone, so far. And as endorsements go, from clothing to cameras and coffee, she’s everywhere. In a very vibrant India, you will not spend 10 minutes without a glimpse or a mention of this girl. That also means 17 per cent of the world population knows her on a first-name basis.

So technically, keeping in mind the RBI’s banking guidelines, Brand Deepika has enough capital in itself, to become a full-fledged private bank.

Again, we have never met such a force and it looks to continue its winning streak in to 2014.

With Happy New Year and Finding Fanny Fernandes among next year’s  releases, and speculation rife that she will work in Karan Johar’s Shuddhi, Dippy’s fan base looks set to expand.

“A hit film does boost your confidence,” says Deepika. “But I don’t take tags like ‘Rs 100-crore hit’ or ‘box office queen’ seriously; I might become complacent.”

She also shrugs off as chance, the fortuitous way in which her releases have appeared, steady as clockwork, while her contemporaries have had a bit of a dry run.

“Look, no actor can ever plan the release of their films. I think what really works is having the right film come out at the right time,” she says, adding, “My job is to act. How and when to release a film is the producer’s prerogative.”

With accolades pouring in, Deepika should see a great awards season in 2014. She has already scooped up one award for her comic turn in Chennai Express. The dramatic flair she’s displayed in Ram-Leela and YJHD is sure to get her a coveted statuette or two as well. Not that you’ll get Dippy to admit that she’s hankering after an award. “I feel very fortunate that I’ve managed to establish myself as an actress in this industry,” she says. “The competition has been tough. That’s why I’m really happy that my films have done well. I also feel happy for my producers, because they had faith in me.” And the journey has been interesting.

In an earlier interview, Deepika had taken us back to her first day at work.

“I was so nervous. There was SRK and Farah Khan and she was really particular in what she wanted. And then there was me — untested, off the ramp and very unsure. When I keep that day in mind and compare it to where I’m today… it feels fantastic. My journey has also been about learning from every single bad review I got, how I changed negatives into positives. Thanks to so many people, I have arrived.”

Recent reports that a certain brand paid Deepika Rs 2 crore more than what they were paying Katrina Kaif (Rs 4 crore) to endorse their product, only lend credence to the former’s meteoric rise. Dippy, however, won’t be drawn into controversies. “A hit film increases your brand value. If my success or my face helps a brand become more popular, I take that as a compliment.”

But rivalries aside, Deepika has struck up some abiding relationships in the industry. Her co-stars and directors commend Dippy highly. And she is deeply grateful. “Whether it’s Farah Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir (Kapoor) or Saif Ali Khan, I’ve had great working relationships with them all,” says Deepika.

“Some of them are my friends, some are acquaintances. But when we’re on the sets, we’re all working towards making a good film.”

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