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Frankly Speaking: Deepika Padukone getting stereotyped with her roles; needs a paradigm shift before time runs out

en Bollywood News Frankly Speaking: Deepika Padukone getting stereotyped with her roles; needs a paradigm shift before time runs out

What's the first thing about Deepika Padukone that comes to your mind when you hear or revisit Gehraiyaan (2022), Pathaan (2023) and Fighter (2024)? The bikini, the smooches, suggestive visuals and smart camera angles focussing on her body. No disrespect to her talent and her body of work. But the only thing that differed in these three movies are the varying colours of her bikini and the duration of the kiss.

Frankly Speaking: Deepika Padukone getting stereotyped with her roles; needs a paradigm shift before time runs out

Frankly Speaking: Deepika Padukone getting stereotyped with her roles; needs a paradigm shift before time runs out

More than a decade ago, Deepika Padukone emerged as a bona fide superstar. Cocktail (2012) changed a lot of things for her as the film gave her the opportunity to be seen as a powerful performer. The next year, 2013, was historic as she was seen in four films, all of which were Rs. 100 crore grossers. Three of them – Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Chennai Express and Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela – were blockbusters and also proved that she’s a solid talent and here to stay.

She then followed it up with more hit films with powerful performances in Happy New Year (2014), Piku (2015), Bajirao Mastani (2015) and Padmaavat (2018). A lot was expected from Chhapaak (2020) due to her starry presence. However, the film was forgettable and as expected, it didn't get the numbers. She disappeared for a good three years from cinemas. In between, she was seen in the web film, Gehraiyaan. Though her performance was great, the film is remembered more for the skin show today.

362 seconds of talkie portions in Pathaan

With Pathaan, her presence enhanced the hype. Yet again, her hot scenes are what stays with people today and not her acting. In fact, an industry insider told us on condition of anonymity, “Believe it or not, in the 2 hours and 28 minutes long Pathaan, Deepika Padukone’s talkie portions lasted only for 362 seconds! One might not realize that she’s there for most parts of the film. But why isn't she getting enough dialogues? And why is she okay with it?”

The problem also persists in Fighter. The insider said, “Her character in Fighter has been given importance and at the same time, it also gets a raw deal. The Ashutosh Rana-Hrithik Roshan scene at the airport is aimed to highlight Minni (Deepika Padukone). But she isn’t there in that scene. Even when her parents come to mend bridges, she’s only crying and hardly has any lines. In the climax too, her contribution is minimal compared to that of Hrithik Roshan or even Karan Singh Grover.”

The source added, “She has much more to do than several other heroines who end up being arm candy in such films. At the same time, she is THE Deepika Padukone. We have seen her outshine everybody and want to see her repeat that magic again.”

Some might argue that one can’t help much if enough strong roles are not written for women. But this doesn’t hold water when one sees Alia Bhatt. She, too, presented her sensual avatar in recent films but drew a line and ensured that her performance did the talking. For instance, one remembers Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani not just for her kisses and sexy sarees but also for her strong act.

Refusal of offers and losing out on good projects
At the same time, he added, “She went into the why-the-female-leads-be-paid-less-than-male-actors trip. I remember she said this in an interview. In the process, she lost out on some good projects.”

A trade expert commented, “She needs to be in the race. She can’t refuse too many offers and take gaps. This is the biggest drawback of this profession. You don’t plan your retirement. Aapke aas paas ke log plan karte hai. If you refuse offers from 2-3 big directors, a perception is built that the actress is not interested in working. Word might spread that ‘uss heroine ke bahut nakhre hai’. Soon, the offers dry up. This happened with Preity Zinta, Urmila Matondkar etc.”

Trade analyst Atul Mohan said, “Very few filmmakers are there who make performance-oriented films. Now, the focus is more on commercial films. Look at the kind of films that were the biggest hits last year. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the only filmmaker who flashes out a performance in all its glory with heroines and yet makes a commercial entertainer.”

He continued, “At one point, directors like Gulzar saab used to make films that were female-centric and appealed to the audience. Now, there is hardly any such director. Also, to play safe, such projects are made on the web.”

In defence of Deepika Padukone

Trade veteran Taran Adarsh defended the actress, “The role in Pathaan demanded skin show. In the film, it’s a very crucial scene where her character tries to attract Pathaan’s attention to lure him to the lair of the antagonist. In such a situation, you can’t be wearing a full dress. Meanwhile, in her debut film Om Shanti Om (2007), she dressed accordingly. Each film demands a different get-up, styling and different set of clothes. I don’t deny that there was a skin show in Gehraiyaan. But it was more of a performance-oriented film. In Chhapaak, she was completely de-glam. So, it all depends on the role and the director’s vision.”

Taran Adarsh further said, “I can’t imagine Fighter without Deepika. She’s an integral part of it. She was pivotal in Pathaan as well. When she had a low phase, people were quick to write her off. But look at the way she has bounced back.”

Can Deepika sustain at the top?

Surely, times have changed. And Deepika Padukone has the advantage that her predecessors didn’t. But to sustain at the top, she would need to alter her choices in such a way that she remains popular and at the same time, her performance gets talked about.

Deepika needs a paradigm shift before time runs out. As she rightly said in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela – “Jigar pe mat ja…trigger daba dungi”. She needs to show the jigar and pull the trigger as well to make that paradigm shift with her forthcoming choices.

Thankfully, her forthcoming films are in different zones. Kalki 2898 AD, Singham Again and The Intern remake should give her the chance to prove her acting prowess.

Time for her to be Lady Singham in real life and fly high like before!

Also Read: Deepika Padukone is going all out in style for Fighter promotions and these looks prove it

More Pages: Fighter Box Office Collection , Fighter Movie Review


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