Come Sunday and Deepika Padukone will be up for yet another Best Actress nod at the IIFA Awards, for which she has been nominated thrice over (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Chennai Express and Ram-Leela). Before flying off to Tampa in Florida for the awards extravaganza, Deepika chatted with t2…

Three nominations as Best Actress at the IIFA Awards this year is huge…

Yes! It’s been a good season for me… 2013… and with all the awards and appreciation, it’s just kind of capped off an amazing year, actually. IIFA is the last of the awards for the year and to be recognised for as many as three performances in a single year is quite, quite huge (smiles). I am excited about my nominations, but I am also excited about my performance on the IIFA stage… it’s going to be my first-ever performance in the US. I am performing to some songs of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Ram-Leela. I won’t name the songs… let that be a surprise for the audience!

You’ve said in the past how stage performances unnerve you. Has that changed now?

No! I am always, always nervous before I go on stage (giggles). I get really nervous, no matter how much time I put in or how much I have rehearsed. When you go live, it’s a different kind of ball game, a different energy… you never know how things will work out the next moment. It’s a lot like the difference between theatre and films. But the nervousness is generally only for the first few minutes… then you get into the groove and the crowd starts cheering and you start enjoying yourself. Also, it’s special this time because my family will be in the audience.

Will winning for any one film make it more special than the other two?

They are all my babies! (Laughs) I am like a parent who really can’t choose one child from the other. In all the films that I did last year, I completely surrendered myself to all my characters. I am not even sure if I will win, but if I do, it doesn’t matter which film it’s for. They are all special to me, ya. It’s all my work at the end of the day.

Your next two films will be Happy New Year with Shah Rukh Khan and then Window Seat with Ranbir Kapoor. While shooting these films, is there the thought that you need to recreate the Chennai Express and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani kind of magic?

There’s no effort to really do so in any part of my conscious or subconscious mind, but when we shoot, we always hope that all the energies come together to create a beautiful film. But I also feel that we should never carry the baggage of a previous film, no matter how successful it may have been, into a new film because every project comes with its own uniqueness and its own definition of the kind of the film it will turn out to be.

Yeh Jawaani was a very special film for both me and Ranbir and I really hope that we can create the same kind of magic in Imtiaz’s (Ali) film (Window Seat) as well.

We’ve already shot for a major portion of Happy New Year and it’s turned out to be great so far… very different from Chennai Express, though the spirit and soul of the two films is quite similar.

How’s it been reuniting with your Om Shanti Om team of Farah Khan and Shah Rukh for Happy New Year?

Mental!! (Laughs) The last few months, I don’t feel I have been shooting for a film… we are only having fun! It’s a lot of fun to be surrounded by so many actors. It’s also very nostalgic for me because Farah, Shah Rukh and me coming together after so many years just brings the whole Om Shanti Om experience alive. Our conversations primarily revolve around: ‘Yaad hai Om Shanti Om mein yeh hua tha?’ My equation with Farah is a little different from what I have with my other directors because with Farah… (pauses) you know the relationship between a mother and daughter? I have that equation with Farah where she is very protective about me and I am a little scared of her (smiles).

Every film you are picking now is being looked at with keen interest. Does that build any kind of pressure on you?

I do the films I want to do. I do the films where I know I am going to enjoy myself on set. I do the films which I feel I will enjoy watching as a member of the audience. That’s the only thing that is in my control. Honestly, I can’t expect every year to be like last year… it will be delusional on my part to think that every year will give me four blockbusters (smiles), but I can’t allow people’s expectations to dictate what films I do. What I want to do gains precedence over everything else.

You are so much in demand but obviously you can’t do every film that’s offered to you. That’s ruffled quite a few feathers, hasn’t it?

Yes, it is a tricky time for me now. But one has to realise that there are only that many days in a year and I will not be able to do everything that comes my way. But what do you do, ya? It may not be the right decision to let go of a particular film, but that’s the way it is, unfortunately. And I will know when the films release, whether I made the right decision or not (laughs).

So have there been films that you’ve let go and regretted after their box-office outcome?

Not yet. Thank god! That’s primarily because I have always managed to do the films that I have wanted to do. But as I said, it’s a tricky time now and I have had to let go of some films that I really wanted to do. Deadlines are one thing, but even physically, it’s not possible for me to take on so much work at the same time. So, we will have to wait and see how those films turn out (smiles).

Over the last few weeks, there’s been huge conjecture about whether you are doing Karan Johar’s Shuddhi and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani, but you’ve been very tight-lipped…

(Laughs) Because so much has been said about this, I will choose not to really say anything now. There’s a time for everything and I am sure the respective producers will make the announcements as and when they feel it’s right. Both these films are huge projects and I am sure any actress will be very happy to be a part of any… or both. But, as of now, the only film I can commit to saying I am doing is Imtiaz’s film that we start shooting for in June.



Deepika romances Rajinikanth — 35 years her senior — in this historical by Soundarya R. Ashwin, filmed using motion-capture techonology. Kochadaiiyaan releases next month.

happy new year

Deepika teams up with the Om Shanti Om duo of Shah Rukh Khan and Farah Khan for this comedy that also stars Abhishek Bachchan and Boman Irani. The biggie this Diwali.

finding fanny

Deepika stars as one of five friends on a road trip in Cocktail man Homi Adajania’s satirical film. Deepika’s first film with Arjun Kapoor. Beau Ranveer Singh is cast in a supporting role.

Priyanka Roy



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