Monday, January 21, 2008

Deepika: The new rage in Bollywood

Now that Farah Khan’s “Om Shanti Om” has been declared a hit, Bangalore’s 21-year-old Deepika Padukone is the new rage of the Bollywood. Long-limbed and fresh-faced Deepika’s bubbly presence is another big reason for the film’s success apart from Shahrukh Khan’s charisma. More than anyone else, the person who is over the moon over Deepika’s success is her father Prakash Padukone, the badminton legend.

For the past few days, the trainees of the Tata Padukone Badminton Academy have been watching the film, courtesy Deepika Padukone.
In a recent chat with The Hindu, Mr. Padukone gave full credit to his daughter.

“It was a good show and she worked for her success. I am proud that she has made an impact,” he said.

What pleases him is the fact that Deepika was not a whit overawed by Shahrukh Khan or for that matter anyone else.

“She has always been level-headed and knows what she is doing,” said Mr. Padukone. If Deepika did not choose to be model or Bollywood star, she would have become the most glamorous badminton star in the country. She had played a few State-ranking tournaments as a sub-junior with moderate success. But badminton’s loss was Bollywood’s gain.

Mr. Padukone wants Deepika to choose her roles with care and pick the right ones.

“What I would love to see is that she plays some good roles, not just glamorous stuff,” he said.

Will she act as badminton star now that films such as “Chak De” are a big success?

Mr. Padukone is excited by the thought. “Why not? That would be a good idea. She could enact my own story, how as a youngster I struggled to make it to the top, eating, sleeping and playing just badminton and struggling to go on tours and living always in suspense, whether I would board the flight or not. Yes, I think there is enough masala in it,” he said.

The model-turned actress, who plays a traditional girl in the movie, is humble in her success and believes she has a long way to go in the tinsel world.

"When you start working in a movie, you never think that it's going to be a superhit.

You just enjoy working," she said attributing "a lot" of credit to her co-star Shahrukh Khan, who plays an actor in the film based on the theme of re-incarnation. Deepika confesses to have learnt many a tip from the film legends of yesteryears - Hema Malini and Helen - to help her play the character of a traditional girl of 70s in her debut film.

First week collections of OM SHANTI OM are out and the film has clearly left behind the DHOOM:2 first week record of 35 crores far behind. At 40 crores plus, the film now stands as the biggest Bollywood box office opener of all times.

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