Since making her Hindi cinema debut opposite Shahrukh Khan in Om Shanti Om, Deepika Padukone is the outsider who has risen to become one of today’s leading heroines. The 24-year-old star jetted to London on Monday on an 8-hour flying visit to promote her latest release Break Ke Baad. This Kunal Kohli-produced film sees Deepika share screen space with Imran Khan in a coming-of-age drama about what happens once a relationship ends. The model-turned-actor spoke to Steven Baker about working with Imran, why she still feels like a newcomer, and her plans to do a stage show with SRK.
You have had hits with romantic, peppy films like Love Aaj Kal and Bachna Ae Haseeno; now you are back with Break Ke Baad. Is this your niche in Bollywood?
I don’t want to be typecast as a heroine who does a certain kind of cinema, which is why I experiment with the type of films that I do. But yes, I won’t deny that romantic love stories or romantic comedies are what I enjoy doing most, because as an audience those are the kind of films I like watching.
Are there similarities between you and your character Aaliya Khan in the film?
In a lot of ways yes, and in a lot of ways no. Aaliya is very ambitious and wants to achieve a lot for herself, which I identify with. But she is also someone who sacrifices her relationship, and doesn’t believe in love or marriage, and those are things I don’t connect with.
After appearing with senior actors like Shahrukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan and Farhan Akhtar, how is it working with a younger star like Imran Khan?
I think when I am working with some of the older actors I am in awe and I am often just trying to learn as much as I can from them. Whereas, I think with people like Imran and Ranbir, we are all in the same age group and we are all just learning. I think I am a lot more free to just discuss things, talk and to try out new ideas.
You have studied acting from Anupam Kher’s ‘Actor Prepares’. How did that help you when you first entered the industry?
I have absolutely no film background. I don’t come from a film family and I had never been on a film set until my first film. In a lot of ways, it gave me a little information about what to expect. But at the same time, I think the best education I’ve had is to actually be on a film set and learn from there.
So, having worked as an actor for three years, do you feel like you are an established star, or do you still feel like a newcomer?
I still feel like a newcomer, and I hope I feel like a newcomer forever. Because I always feel that the minute you feel like you have achieved everything, then you don’t enjoy your work as much. So I hope I feel like a newcomer forever.
From ‘Love Mera Hit Hit’ to ‘Dhoom Tana’, you are associated with a number of popular film songs. Are there any plans to do a stage show or world tour in the future?
I would like to. I think it is something I would like to do with SRK because I debuted with him. I mean, we all know how successful all his shows are, and some of my biggest songs are with him in Om Shanti Om. I would love to do a world tour. I love dancing and I like performing, but I want to make sure that I have a bank of songs before I do that. Also, because I am really passionate about dance, I want to make sure I have enough time to do my rehearsals and perfect it before we start performing.
How is Vishal-Shekar’s music for Break Ke Baad?
It’s nice. It’s in a very nice Indie-rock space. There are a couple of songs I like. There’s a song called ‘Dooriyan’ which actually talks about how space in a relationship is important. There is another track ‘Dhoop Ke Makaan’, a slightly sad love song which I really like, but at the same time it is not one of those typically slow love songs. It is the kind of music that I think everyone likes listening to these days.
Yes, a week after Break Ke Baad I have Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey coming out on December 3rd, where I play a very different de-glam role.
We also hear that you are back in the UK next year for a shoot?
Yes. I have just started working on Desi Boyz with John and Akshay. I have started the Bombay schedule already, and we will be shooting in London for a month in February I think.
There are also rumours that you have signed Race 2?
It is not a rumour anymore. I am doing it. I can’t talk about the film right now, but yes, I can confirm that I am a part of it and we start in the middle of next year.
Break Ke Baad releases on November 26.