Interview: Deepika Padukone Chats with Sunny Malik About YJHD and much more

By Sunny Malik

Deepika Padukone

London, UK, May 29 (Washington Bangla Radio): Deepika Padukone is back on the silver screen this Friday after mesmerizing audiences worldwide in her Race 2 avatar earlier this year.

Her latest release is Karan Johar's Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani also starring her ex-beau Ranbir Kapoor.

Her character Naina Talwar  is a simple, good-natured and extremely focused girl. Frustrated by the restrictions she needs to put on herself to achieve her dreams of being a doctor; she impulsively decides to go on a trekking trip to Manali to give herself a break.

Through the film, Naina transforms from the restricted claustrophobic person she thought she was to a free spirited woman with a newfound love for herself and comfort within her choices. She is strong and dependable and stands firmly for rooted family values.

In a chat with our Bollywood correspondent, Sunny Malik, the actress talks about Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and much more.

There was a lot of speculation as to why you cancelled your London trip to promote Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Would you like to clarify?

OK. So what happened is that I was filming (for Chennai Express) in Munnar. It’s a hill station in the south of India near Kerala. I was supposed to finish that schedule and come back to Mumbai on the same night and then leave for London. But it rained and we had three days of non-stop rain where we were shooting. Our schedule was delayed by three days and I couldn't leave a unit of two hundred fifty people waiting there. I had to sacrifice the London bit of the promotions to finish my commitment.

Do you feel it has been really difficult for you to manage everything because you are working on several projects simultaneously?

Honestly, now that that phase is over, I can definitely say that it was very, very difficult. But more importantly, more than physically, it was mentally and emotionally draining for me. I am glad that that phase is over now, more or less as Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is up for release and I have also wrapped up Chennai Express (also starring Shah Rukh Khan) which will release on 8th August. The only thing I am focusing on right now is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela.

You have always said that you wanted to work in a Dharma Productions film. What was your reaction when Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, produced by Karan Johar, was offered to you?

Deepika Padukone

I was absolutely over the moon. I remember it started when Ayan Mukherji, the director, called me one night and said that he wants to take me out for dinner. We went out for dinner, just the two of us. I had been hearing from people that he was considering casting me but unless you actually hear from your director, you can never really believe these things. We discussed this project over dinner. He said that he was writing this film and was writing it with me in mind. He said that his ideal cast would be Ranbir and I and I was more than happy. I was sold.

Ranbir said that he wasn’t aware that the character was written keeping you in mind. There was also a lot of speculation that other actresses were being considered for the film. Was that amusing?

Of course it is amusing. But you know where you stand for a particular project. You know whether you have been approached or not. You know the other names that are floating around. So of course, one finds it amusing but at the end of the day, you have to have faith in yourself and in your director. I mean, it makes for good speculation in the news but at the end, the film belongs to the person who eventually does it.

Do you agree with Ranbir’s statement that it’s easy to hide behind characters and difficult to portray a more real person in films?

I know that he has been saying this in his interviews. For me that was a surprise because I prefer doing roles that I identify with. I feel that it’s a very, very interesting observation but even though he says that he finds it difficult, I really enjoy doing these roles. For me, Naina Talwar is me. I was the reference point. I did not have to research. I did not have to observe anyone else. I just had to be me.

The film also looks very commercial and razzmatazz which is very different from what Ayan Mukherji has done before. Were you concerned or surprised?


Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone

I wasn't concerned at all. As far as the film goes, even though it looks very commercial it is very real and the scenes are pretty much in the same space as the scenes in Wake Up Sid. The only thing that took me by surprise were the songs. I couldn't believe that Ayan wanted to use such commercial songs in his movie. I had expected the songs to be slightly different, a little bit like Wake Up Sid’s music. The trailer has been cut in a certain way where the film may seem very commercial and glittery with a lot of dance and music. But the film as a whole is very different from that.

Eros International is also releasing the film in new territories like Russia and Israel.  Your film, Cocktail, restarted the trend of Hindi movies in Russia. How does that feel?

It feels really special. I never thought that my movie would restart the trend of Hindi movies in Russia. When I think about Hindi films in Russia, I think about Rajnikanth or Raj Kapoor movies. It feels great that Cocktail started the trend and now Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani will release there too. I hope they show the film the same love.

What are your expectations from the UK audience for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani as your films have done better here than Ranbir Kapoor’s films?

(Laughs) I’m grateful that my films have done well in the UK. The UK is like home to me and I miss being there. I started my journey right in Leicester Square, London at the premiere of Om Shanti Om. Then I have shot for films like Love Aaj Kal, Housefull, Desi Boyz and Cocktail in London and in the UK. It’s a special place for me and it will always remain so. I hope the audience in the UK enjoys the movie and shows the same love to the film as they have to some of my other films.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is opening in UK cinemas on 31st May 2013.