"Veronica in COCKTAIL is not an extension of Meera in LOVE AAJ KAL"
After sharing screen space with Saif Ali Khan in two films LOVE AAJ KAL and AARAKSHAN, Deepika Padukone is back with Saif again in upcoming film COCKTAIL. The film also stars newbie Diana Penty. Recently we caught up with Deepika Padukone who says women are no longer a decoration in movies and her character Veronica in the film will substantiate that. Here's presenting a tete-a-tete with the lanky beauty.
Your character of Veronica in COCKTAIL reminds us of Meera in LOVE AAJ KAL. So, is that a repetition or an extension of your character?
Veronica is very different from what Meera of LOVE AAJ KAL is which is why I chose to play Veronica and not Meera in COCKTAIL. Meera's character is very similar to what I played in LOVE AAJ KAL.
Yes both are urbane, but Meera was very sensible girl she didn't speak much but when she spoke, she spoke quite a lot. While Jai in LOVE AAJ KAL was a boy who was finding himself and it was Meera who came into his life and gave him that stability whereas Veronica here is an unstable girl. She is the one who has been brought up, grown up in a very unstable environment because she comes from a broken home. She loves partying, going out, surrounding herself with friends as they keep her mind occupied. But at the same time she is very loving. She lacks love in her life and doesn't have people giving her that. She finds that in Gautam and Meera.
So who is Deepika - Meera of LOVE AAJ KAL or Veronica of COCKTAIL?
Meera in LOVE AAJ KAL, its very me. With Veronica I had to completely move out of my comfort zone.
So the character of Veronica is dark or it has grey shades?
No, it's not a dark character at all. Like I said, emotionally Veronica never had stable upbringing, not having the ideal family life. She lacks the love of her father, mother and she's grown up with friends she meets along her way. She has grown up into feisty sort of, aggressive, expressive girl but that doesn't make her a bad person. Everybody has a dark side. In fact, people love being around her as she lightens up the environment. There's never a dull moment when she is around.
Since the characters and the entire feel of COCKTAIL is urban, do you think the small town audiences will connect with it?
It's a love story and if it touches that chord of human emotions it will work. You can make love story in whatever language, in whatever strata of society. Though it's based in London and shot abroad, the heart of it is very Indian. So, I think everyone will relate to the movie.
Your chemistry with Saif has always been appreciated. And COCKTAIL being your third film with him do you think half the battle is won?
Well, I would say so far we have everything going good. People are enjoying the music; people have appreciated the first look of the film, the promos and dialogues. These are the key things which work.
"I don't think I will ever understand the business of cinema"
Also this is your second film with Illuminati Films, you think a camp is formed between you guys?
Why would there be a camp? I am really happy that they believe in me and they have given me good films like LOVE AAJ KAL and COCKTAIL. Yes I do feel sort of special to the production house but that's also because somewhere Dino and I are at the same level when it comes to understanding love stories, we didn't set out it to be this way. We discovered about each other while making LOVE AAJ KAL. When he offered me the film he offered it like any other producer but through the journey of LOVE AAJ KAL we started understanding that we feel the same towards the film and we understand characters similarly. It started off on a very professional working relationship and I am glad that we have that same taste.
I have faith in the kind of film they make. We enjoy working with each other. We don't work for money.
CHECK OUT: When Deepika Padukone didn't like COCKTAIL song 'Daaru Desi'
Did you and Saif pulled a fast one on the newcomer Diana Penty, the third lead of COCKTAIL?
We didn't play any prank or trouble her in anyway. We all got along really well. The whole unit of the film had fun. Everyone was so in love with the director because he has such great energy. The way he brought the entire team together everybody would look forward to performing and just being on the set the next day.
Can two actresses be friends with each other?
Absolutely. May be there was a time when actresses were very competitive. I am not saying that today we are not. I am extremely competitive but that doesn't mean I can't be friends with someone or I can't be cozy with someone or be nice to someone. At least that's the way I look at it. I know how to be competitive but in a rightful way without demeaning anybody down. I think that is what a true sportsman does. My father did that. He was extremely aggressive and competitive but even today people know him as very humble and good human being.
Homi, director of COCKTAIL, said that you recommended his name?
I didn't recommend his name per say. But yes, because it was a script that Imtiaz had written and we knew he is not directing it we were going to bring somebody else on board to direct it. So couple of names came up. We all felt that Homi would be perfect for this film. Imtiaz has a very desi style whereas Homi's style of cinema, the way he looks at the films is very urban.
But did you try to push Imtiaz's name forward?
No, he was clear from the beginning that he will only write the film.
There were reports that you were apprehensive about Daaru Desi song. You actually wanted to remove it?
As an actor I was apprehensive about the song. I thought this song is rubbish and nobody will like it. Because, eventually we actors have to feel a song and perform to it. . I have absolutely no say in the music but that was my personal opinion. But today it's gone out to become one of most popular songs not just from the album but even a chartbuster among all the other top albums. Dino and I betted on it for Rs. 10 lac, which I have lost now (Smiles).
The reason behind low key promotions of COCKTAIL?
If you check until the beginning of this year COCKTAIL was nowhere listed in the most awaited films of 2012. As that was not our focus. We were quietly doing our work in London. We were concentrating on making a simple love story and today all of a sudden it is one of the most anticipated films. We didn't plan or expect that. All we did was we made a film which was pure and from the heart.
"Women are no longer decoration in movies"
Do you keep a tab on Box-office results? Are you expecting a huge opening for COCKTAIL
I don't know anything about box-office opening. I don't think I will ever understand the business of cinema. I hope the film does well for my producer. But more importantly it's the film we have made straight from the heart. Emotionally, we are attached to the film. We have invested our minds and body behind this film. I have been telling this to everyone it will take time to detach with the character and move on to another project. I hope people enjoy the movie and love it as much as I loved.
Are you doing varied roles and different genres to widen your audience
I don't do films for people but I do it for myself. I don't do films for other people it's the other way around. I take up roles which I enjoy doing. And I am glad that I took on the challenge for myself because today people appreciate the fact that I am doing something different. Having said that, the intention was not just to do something different but also I wanted to break the myth and as an actor be able to do variety of roles. It's just that finally opportunities are now knocking the doors.
CHECK OUT: Deepika Padukone - Diana is a sweet girl
Do you feel that women are no longer props in films and they have substantial role to play?
Women are no longer a decoration in movies. Also I think for me Veronica, in lot of ways, is that. So that journey has already begun for me.
What do you look for while taking up a film project?
To begin with the script of the film. You can have great star cast, you can have brilliant producer, you can have everything going in for you but if people don't connect with the story than I feel something is empty. It doesn't feel complete. If you have great script everything else falls in place audience automatically will like the characters, performance, music of the film. It might go on to become a huge success provided the base is strong.
The status of your future projects
I have started shooting for RACE 2, which is an action thriller. Simultaneously, I am also working on YEH JAWAANI HAI DEEWANI...And the film with Rajinikanth, I have finished shooting for it.
-- By Rachana Sheth, Glamsham Editorial