Deepika Padukone is one of the rare few actresses in B-town who right from the beginning has worked with the cream crowd of Bollywood. And now the leggy lass is all set to be seen in Prakash Jha's much talked film AARAKSHAN which releases on 12th August 2011. Catch the doe-eyed actress in conversation as she speaks about her upcoming release, working with tough taskmaster Prakash Jha and much more.
How important is AARAKSHAN for you considering your last few films (LAFANGEY PARINDEY, BREAK KE BAAD, KHELEIN HUM JEE JAAN SEY) didn't do well at Box-office? Every film for me is as important as the previous one. Some films do well some films don't. What is important is I am equally excited about every film that I do. I can't decide the fate of the film on that Friday. But obviously I sign the films because they mean something to me and because I believe in that.
With the presence of stalwarts like Big B, Saif Ali Khan, Manoj Bajpai in AARAKSHAN how is your role placed in this male dominated film? Yeah it is a male dominated film because I am the only female lead. But even the character that I play has a very important voice and a very strong story to tell. And there are situations that a lot of people will relate to and find themselves in because the character Purvi Anand, that I play, is a girl who is torn between her father and her boyfriend when the whole situation of AARAKSHAN flairs up. I am sure today a lot of people have been in that situation when both people mean so much to you but you don't know which side to take because you understand both sides of the situation.
Weren't you skeptical about signing AARAKSHAN considering the big chunk will go to Big B, Saif and Manoj? You are assuming that before even seeing the film. No if I felt that I wouldn't have done the film at first place. People tend to assume that women don't have an important part in a film which is completely untrue. Somewhere I think I have a decent sense of judgment of a script. And If I ever felt that I didn't have an important role to play I wouldn't have done the film..
What really inspired you to take up this film?Was Big B, Saif and Prakash Jha's name attached to AARAKSHAN the reason behind signing this film? No, I choose my films based on the script level and what I find is interesting at that point. I believe this (AARAKSHAN) is a socially relevant subject which we see it happening around us which is why I felt it's the right film for me to do. Also I feel Prakash Jha is a right person to make a film like this. He knows how to make a commercial entertaining film even though it's a serious subject.
What's your take on reservation system existing in our country (India)? Having done the film I can't take sides but I understand the pros and cons and what is important is if we can manage to give everyone equal opportunity but I really don't know what the solution to this is either.
You are taking a diplomatic stand following Katrina Kaif's latest controversy among political circles?
"I have a decent sense of judgment of a script"
I can't comment on what other people have commented or said in their interviews. I am saying this because my film is a socio political film and I am often asked this question or comment on such things and I can't because if I don't know what the situation is or if there is nothing I can do about that situation then I would refrain from commenting on it.
These days we are seeing you mostly in de-glam roles any specific reason behind it?Again in AARAKSHAN you have a de-glam role Not really. I have done 2 de-glam roles and 8 glam roles. I don't think that's a conscious decision. Anyway in a film like AARAKSHAN glamour can't take away from the reality of the film. Also I believe that entertainment in a film is very important so whatever form it may be in the film has to be entertaining at the end of the day that's what we all strive for.
Personally what you enjoy glam or de-glam roles? I enjoy being in front of the camera (Smiles).
This is your second film with Saif Ali Khan. Tell us about your equation with Saif It's always fun. It's nice working with someone you have worked with earlier also. There is a certain comfort level if you have done a film with someone before versus with someone you are working for the first time. As an on-screen couple people like seeing us together. I am glad that we are getting opportunities to do films together.
Talking about your first film LOVE AAJ KAL (with Saif) it had a very urban setting whereas AARAKSHAN, which is again with Saif, has a rural setting Not really Bhopal is quite developed city today. I don't think that changes Saif and my equation in the film. Because LOVE AAJ KAL was a love story though here it is an issue based film but at the same time the relationship that we share in the film is still the same. We play each other's love interest.
With Big B this is your first film. How was your experience sharing screen space with the legendary? Well initially I was little awestruck as you know we've all grown up watching his films so somewhere you feel that thing. It's amazing to see the way he interacts with people, the way he conducts, the way he prepares, the way he performs in front of camera. It's fun and great learning experience.
Of all the directors you have worked with how different is Prakash Jha? He is definitely the senior most technician I have worked with in terms of experience. And I believe he was right person to make a film like this. Somehow he knows how to make an entertaining film out of a serious issue.
He is a tough taskmaster but he is very good with large crowds. Even in RAAJNEETI and this film also there are enough background artists about 4000-5000 people. It's not easy to direct so many people at one time but he does that fantastically.
We hear you requested Prakashji to have romantic number in AARAKSHAN (which initially wasn't a part of the film) on the lines of love ballad 'Mora Piya' from RAAJNEETI No it was very much a part of the film. I can't change the film. Also I can't have a similar track because that film and that situation is completely different. But yes I just requested him to give me a nice song because all my films irrespective of the fact how they have done always had hit romantic tracks whether its LOVE AAJ KAL or BACHNA or even OM SHANTI OM. So I just wanted to continue that tradition. And Prakash Ji has a good sense of music.
Now 'Accha Lagta Hai' is number one on charts.
You take interest in political issues?Has AARAKSHAN changed your outlook towards society? I keep myself updated but I don't have too much knowledge about politics. It's made me more aware of the situation. Of course I knew reservations exist in our country. I know how education today has become commercial but after having done the film I feel I have understood it a lot more.
What all preparations you did for AARAKSHAN?
"Prakashji is a tough taskmaster"
I left the entire preparation onus on Prakashji because he had done a full background research on reservations and subjects related to it. We used to read a lot, go through the script, used to go through my scenes and my dialogues.
Share us your experience working for AARAKSHAN I think for me the entire experience will be memorable. The time that we spent in Bhopal. It's a beautiful city. It has a very calming effect and people there are very warm and hospitable so the whole schedule went off very smoothly. We were there for almost two months and had a good time. We were very well taken care off.
News were rife that you are looking forward to work with Ranbir. In fact you have even replaced Katrina in Karan Johar's upcoming film which stars Ranbir Kapoor to be directed by Ayaan? Yes I would like to work with Ranbir. Ranbir is a friend so is Ayaan and I meet them very often but they have not said anything to me about any film and I have no idea about it.
About your future projects I have just completed an untitled film, a love story with Saif Ali Khan directed by Homi Adjania and written by Imtiaz Ali, which will release soon. Then there is a romantic comedy DESI BOYZ with Akshay and John.