She is at the top of her game, and she is enjoying every bit of it. A numero uno actress who has found her standing right at the top and is now in a position where she can merrily balance a Happy New Year and Bajirao Mastani with Finding Fanny and Piku, Deepika Padukone has picked up the momentum in a major way. With Piku being her 20th Hindi film in an eventful career so far, Deepika is finding herself in the elite company of Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan. With promise of a good performance in the Shoojit Sircar film where she is playing the central protagonist, Deepika sounds confident in this interview.
The film is essentially a daughter-father story. Does it take audience immediately to the days of yesterday films like Khoobsurat and Mili?
(Thinks hard) I don’t know whether that’s something Shoojit (Sircar) thought about at some level when he was writing the film with Juhi (Chaturvedi). I guess he would be better off answering this one. As far as Amitji and I are concerned, there haven’t been too many daughter-father films explored in the past. A lot of films talk about mother and son in Indian films. However, Piku opens a different chapter.
The real life references would have helped too?
Absolutely. I am a daughter to my father while Amitji has a daughter too; so for me that was the reference point, it is as simple as that. When you see the film, you realize that the issues shown in the film are the same that you may encounter in real life as well. The relationships that we share are same that every child and the parent experience. We wanted to keep it all as real as possible.
When someone like Irrfan Khan, who is an actor par excellence, comes on board, things are bound to be real. Since you have been around for just 7-8 years, were you a tad conscious to be with him on screen?
I was not at all conscious; I was definitely excited though. It is also good to act with actors like Irrfan and Amitji because consciously or sub consciously, while spending 50-60 days with them I was learning something new. So no, I was not nervous.
I guess the natural chemistry between the two of you should prove to be a winner for the audience, right?
I think the unfamiliarity factor is working. As a matter of fact we didn’t expect such a whole hearted reaction from the audience when the promo came out. A lot of people have pointed out that they like the way Irrfan and I interact. What happens is that when you are making a film, you look at it in a certain way. And then when audience sees something new then that is an added bonus. Even though Piku is a quirky take on a father-daughter relationship, there are other equations that you see in life which make their story much more endearing. If it works for the audience then it is all the more special. I am glad (smiles).
As for Big B, audiences have seen you and him together in Aarakshan, albeit on an altogether different terrain.
Yes, I have worked with Amitji and have known him right from start of my career. I have met him socially a number of times as well. Our equation is that of being in a familiar zone. With Irrfan though I was not sure about what to expect. I had never even met him socially. For the first time when we were shooting our first scene together, I had always imagined that he would be very stern, strict and serious. He turned out to be completely opposite though (smiles). Not that he talks too much at the same time but then he has a great sense of humor. Moreover, he brings in lovely energy on the sets.
Still, despite the presence of Irrfan and Mr. Bachchan, in a series of women centric films that have released during last 12-15 months, guess Piku is another addition to the list?
I don’t enjoy getting into the technicality that this is a commercial film or a woman centric film. It is more about Piku’s journey. It follows her life; it is her point of view. It is about interaction with her father and friends and at people at work. I won’t say that this is a woman centric. I don’t want to slot it. It is what it is.