From getting fearless on-screen in Bollywood to making her debut in Hollywood, Deepika Padukone proves she is a force to be reckoned with
Deepika Padukone is one of the finest examples of Bollywood glamour. After making her debut in Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om opposite Shah Rukh Khan, which turned out to be a dreamboat role in itself, there has been no looking back for the young actress. I can vaguely recall Deepika from her initial modelling days, where she had walked the ramp for Indian fashion designers, such as Suneet Verma and starred in advertising campaigns for Liril, Limca and Maybelline. It was a drastic professional change for Deepika to join Bollywood and came as a bit of surprise as such, since she was already a pretty recognized model herself. Nonetheless, it was perhaps one of the best things to have happened because over the years, Deepika has been going from strength-to-strength as an actress.
Recently, the 31-year-old also made her debut in Hollywood, with xXx: Return of Xander Cage, opposite Vin Diesel and the movie managed to label itself as a critical failure, in spite of critically being noted as an improvement on the previous xXx franchise. The movie introduced Deepika Padukone to Hollywood, but personally I have always preferred her work in Bollywood more, where she can naturalistically very much demonstrate a larger range of emotions and portray a wide range of very interesting Indian characters.
Deepika’s first big break came in Cocktail (released in July 2012), after she had manged to survive through a string of failures. Even though her career had begun with a bang of sorts, it didn’t take long for it to sink to a very bad level – in retrospect, I have to say that you kind of saw it coming, when Padukone got primarily negative reviews for Chandni Chowk To China (2009), despite it only being her third major film. But those are bygone days now because Deepika managed to underwrite all of those setbacks that define nearly every Bollywood star’s career, with enormous films, such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani (2015), and two Disney-UTV films Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani (2013) and Chennai Express (2013).
It’s not just about saying goodbye to career setbacks for Deepika Padukone – nowadays she also feels no pressure to make petty conversations with people in parties. Hailing from Bangalore, Deepika sports an entirely non-film-industry-background, so the idea of making petty conversations with people about Bollywood films, such as Sholay (1975), which she has never watched, like me unless snatching seconds of glimpses count, has now been exchanged with behaving as a recluse comfortably. Deepika’s roles have also evolved into ones which boast an intrepid nature off-late and she shares this with her male co-stars but things didn’t always use to be this way – earlier on in her career she had felt the burnt edges of working in a male-dominated film industry, where ace directors would not run the distance with her in terms of proper guidance.
I guess, like fashion, which Deepika describes as something that is dictated to a person, not everything or everybody can always act as a great leader. Speaking of style, I really must say I liked how Deepika chose to wear a Rohit Bal sari at Cannes in 2010 instead of a pretty gown – it is the definition of strutting around in Hollywood, for a little while, for Bollywood celebrities, at large, and I think it must have taken a lot of guts for the Indian actress to do something different and singularly bring the Indian equation to the Red Carpet at Cannes.
I really feel that an Indian woman looks very good in a sari, and unlike for women in India (and Bangladesh) it is tough to imagine most cultures in the world can even carry a sari well. It’s not just that they are not naturalistically built for it, it’s also that draping yards of fine cloth like the ancient Romans used to isn’t really in their culture so I don’t understand why besides those cultures curiously sampling, it would be even remotely interesting whatsoever. I think that if Deepika is smart with her script choices, as well as her mantras in life, there should be no doubt over seeing a lot more of her (and her unique idea of glamour/style and life as a celebrity) in Bollywood, for years to come.