Though, a part of the country is up-in-arms against her next film, Padmavati, Deepika Padukone reposes her faith in the Indian judiciary and feels “no harm will come to her, the film or her filmmaker’’.
It’s business as usual in the lobby of the Mumbai five-star hotel where Deepika Padukone aka Padmavati is occupying a suite. But once you alight from the lift on the 23rd floor, you can feel a certain `tightness’ in the air. Security personnel are strategically parked outside the elevator and they perk up to scan visitors unobtrusively but thoroughly. Unless you are being accompanied by a member of her immediate staff, there’s no way you can have access to this floor on this day. The actress, who is scheduled to meet a section of the media later the same evening in one of the banquet halls with adequate security, is getting ready when we are shown in.
Inside her room, the atmosphere is calmer. Dressed in a bright red outfit, her long hair tied back in a neat ponytail, the actress doesn’t display any nerves. If she is anxious about the threats made to her and her Padmavati filmmaker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, she doesn’t show any outward signs of nervousness. Instead she is hospitality personified, ordering tea and cookies for her guests. Her head held high, she says, “I have full faith in the judicial system of our country. I know no wrong will be done.’’
Ask her if the entire controversy has shaken her up and she says, “As a woman, as an artiste, as someone who has worked and given two years of my life to this movie, I feel hurt, I feel angry, but I also think it is extremely funny that people are reacting like this to a film. I am feeling so many emotions at this point.’’ She admits that it is difficult for her to articulate all that she is currently going through. And then reiterates, “There is fraction out there who is doing what it is. But as I said at the start, I have faith in our judicial system.’’
Read her full interview with Meena Iyer:
Padmavati marks your 10th year in Bollywood. Any specific thoughts that you would like to share with us at this point?
It is great. Without sounding immodest, I must say I have worked very hard to be here today. I have earned whatever it is that I have today. Padmavati also marks the evolution of the relationship between Sanjay Leela Bhansali and me as filmmaker and artiste. It takes a lot of trust and transparency, agreements and disagreements to reach a stage with your director, where we can both look into each other’s eyes and we know what the other person is thinking or feeling without having to say anything.
Ironically your first film Om Shanti Om clashed with Bhansali’s Saawariya in 2007.
Well I can say that I feel extremely emotional at this point. So much has happened in my own journey and in my journey with him. To go back 10 years ago, our films Om Shanti Om and Saawariya released on the same day. At that point, I never believed that I could be his heroine. I didn’t think I was his type; whatever that type is. These were all thoughts/assumptions in my own head. Sanjay has never said anything of the sort to me. But I just had my own assumptions. Today we have completed three films—Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Ram Leela (2013), Bajirao Mastani(2015) and Padmavati(2017) together. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to Sanjay for giving me this film. To give me this film and to present me in the way that he has , ‘grateful’ is a very small word.
The last two posters of the film were dramatic. Can you tell us anything about the moments in the film?
The posters are extraordinary. Chilling is what I think. It is my own special moment as an actor. I cannot say much about the moments in the film. But whatever little that we are seeing is for me some of the most memorable moments of my life on a film set. In my opinion, Padmavati, especially in 3D will be an experience worth savouring. It is much more than just a film.
Between preparation and shooting, the film has taken nearly two years of your life, has it not?
When you work on a film like Padmavati, it deserves that kind of time. There are a lot of sacrifices there too. It is the sacrifice of giving up other films, it is the sacrifice of so many things. It is the sacrifice of giving up a social life; of family time. But when I see the result it is all worth it. For me it has never been about how films of mine will release in a year. Those films must be meaningful and they must impact.
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