‘Hope Chhapaak leaves an impact’

‘Hope Chhapaak leaves an impact’

Deepika Padukone talks to Showtime about her debut as producer

Deepika Padukone is all over the media for producing and acting in ‘Chhapaak’, which hit screens on Friday. She is also in the news for visiting Jawaharlal Nehru University and expressing solidarity with students protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

‘Chhapaak,’ directed by Meghna Gulzar, is based on the life of Laxmi Agarwal, a Delhi-based woman who survived an acid attack. It is Deepika’s first film as producer.

In an exclusive interview with Showtime, Deepika spoke about what the film means to her.

So was the role in ‘Chhapaak’ written for her?

“You know, secretly, I hope it was written for me. Meghna did say that if I didn’t agree, perhaps she wouldn’t have made the movie. I don’t know why she thought I would be good for the role, but there’s no bigger compliment than that,” says Deepika.

 The day she looked in the mirror, made up as Laxmi, she ‘found’ the character. “That’s the day I realised what all acid attack survivors were trying to convey to all of us. A gruesome and violent act like that can change your appearance but not who you are as a person,” she says.

To prep for the role, Deepika met Laxmi a few times. One part of the job involved understanding the journey, and the other was to see it through the eyes of an actor. Deepika observed Laxmi’s mannerisms, body language and speech.

“Those moments I spent with her were very, very precious. At the same time, I made sure I didn’t spend too much time with her because it wasn’t Deepika trying to be Laxmi but only getting nuances of Laxmi,” Deepika says.  The actor says she does not hide, as some nervous celebrities do, on the day of her release. She is not flying out of the country either. When it comes to a film, she believes in “letting it breathe”. She says she is not too worried about the success of this film as she is already proud of it.

“I’m glad that we made the film and the audience is ready for a film like this. We’re looking forward to seeing the impact it will leave on society,” she says.
She says the box office numbers shouldn’t be used to judge a film like ‘Chhapaak’.

“Hopefully, we will be able to see the change in society’s mindset and the way it impacts people,” she says.

Year of biopics
This year is a year of biopics, and Deepika is setting off the wave with ‘Chhapaak’. Films like ‘Maidaan’ (Ajay Devgn), ‘Prithviraj’ (Akshay Kumar), ‘Gangubai Kathaiwadi’ (Alia Bhatt), ‘Shakuntala Devi — The Human Computer’ (Vidya Balan), ‘Saina’ (Parineeti Chopra), ‘83 (Ranveer Singh) and ‘Sardar Udham Singh’ (Vicky Kaushal) are other biopics releasing later in 2020. Deepika says, laughing, “Oh wow, I didn’t think of it like that till you brought it up. But you know, ‘Chhapaak’ is a film that I am extremely proud of and I’m so glad that I got to be a part of it. Not just as an actor but also as a producer. I’m glad that I’m starting this decade on this note.”

Bengaluru girl
Since she moved to Mumbai, Deepika makes sure she visits Bengaluru at least once in a couple of months. Daughter of badminton icon Prakash Padukone, she started training in the sport at a young age.  “I didn’t really have a social life when I was here. I had a strict schedule of studying and training. The only leisure I had was when we went out as a family once in a while,” she says.

“You know, back in the day, we didn’t have so much of home delivery. So Monday to Friday, I used to have home-cooked meals at the dinner table and then maybe a meal or two out occasionally,” she says.

Even when she was invited to parties, she had to keep the parental curfew in mind. “My dad would come to pick me up and make sure I was home before 10 pm. The party would have barely started! It made no sense to go then,” she recalls.

As a teenager, she didn’t enjoy the parenting style so much. However, she says, she is now happy she was brought up that way.  Deepika completed her pre-university at Mount Carmel College. She began to pursue a modelling career around that time. 

Deepika myth
Deepika graduated from Mount Carmel College in Bengaluru. When she was told some lecturers in Mount Carmel College (where I too studied) begin the academic year with stories about her, she exclaimed, “Oh my God! I am so sorry that you had to go through that.”

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