Badminton’s loss is Bollywood’s gain! Only recently, latest Bollywood female superstar Deepika Padukone (who had given up the shuttlecock game to start ‘court-ing’ a filmy career was delighted when her recent Ranbir Kapoor-starrer movie Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani entered the coveted Rs.100 crore club.
Now her latest release Chennai Express which has the bankable Shah Rukh Khan has also emerged a ‘smash hit’ to wear the glittering ‘sau karod’ club crown. But the modest Deepika, like her unassuming legendary father Prakash Padukone, a former world badminton champ, refuses to be heady with success thanks to her ‘crore score dobaara’.
Even as accolades pour in for Deepika’s comic performance in Chennai Express, as the exuberant Tamilian speaking Hindi with the Southside accent and incorrect gender and especially her nightmarish avatar, she remains firmly grounded.
Reacts Deepika, “Frankly, it was a diligent team effort and both director Rohit and co-star SRK brought out the best in me. Although SRK and I came together in Om Shanti Om way back in 2007, we never really lost touch with each other off-screen. So I had an ideal comfort-zone. The Chennai script gave me full scope to showcase my talent. Since I was keen to do a special author-backed role with SRK, I waited patiently for over five years to get this role of ‘Meena’, the spunky outspoken yet sentimental Southside runaway bride-to-be.
And SRK has graciously referred to me as the ‘soul’ of Chennai Express’, which is so overwhelming”, smiles the dimpled actress who feels that the Tamil dialogues need not be a spoil-sport for Hindi audiences as it adds authenticity to her character. “After all, love is a universal language and the ‘common man’ will totally identify with SRK’s North Indian character who often demands for ‘sub-titles’ translation when my character speaks in Tamil”, justifies Padukone who will next be seen opposite Ranveer Singh in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming opus ‘Ram Leela’ and for the third time opposite SRK in Farah Khan’s ‘Happy New Year’. According to director Rohit, who is unapologetic ‘since the story is narrated from the point of view (‘voice-over’) of SRK’s character, we did not want to dilute the impact and as the title itself implied that there would surely be a Tamilian tadka.