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Deepika races ahead

Deepika in Race 2

After hitting all the high notes with Cocktail this year, Deepika Padukone gears up for a film-filled 2013, starting with Race 2. A t2 chat...

Was it a problem to film Race 2 (releases January 25) because you were not there in the first film?

Aah...no! The first film was, of course, extremely successful and had great music. Race 2 has generated a lot of curiosity and that’s primarily because the first instalment was liked so much. It is an action thriller and till the end you don’t really know which side of the good-and-bad-divide the characters are on. Despite being a sequel, Race 2 is a film on its own. For me, it feels like an entirely new film and that’s how it has been treated in terms of production too.

What is your character in the film about?

It’s actually weird because when I am asked this question I don’t really have much to say! Each character in the film –– true to the Race franchise –– has an air of mystery. All I can say is that my character is called Alina and she’s an intelligent, shrewd girl who knows how to get work done.

It must have been exciting on set because this is your first suspense thriller...

Exciting definitely, but also extremely confusing because nothing happens in a linear order. To relate to the scenes, I had to keep sorting in my head what was going to happen before and what was going to happen later! It was very, very complicated and I was constantly getting confused (laughs).

The highlight of the film is apparently a car chase sequence featuring you.

That would be one of the most memorable scenes for me also, besides the song (Be intehaan) that Saif (Ali Khan) and I have done. The car chase scene required a lot of concentration. Also, it just wasn’t me in the car, there was Saif too and I was also responsible for his safety. I was slightly under pressure and nervous.

After Love Aaj Kal, Aarakshan and Cocktail, this is your fourth film with Saif...

The fact that we have done four films together hasn’t been a conscious decision at all. It was actually dictated more by the fact that both of us ended up liking the same scripts! Saif and I never discuss offers that are made to us for the same film… it’s never like, ‘Chalo, you do this film and I’ll also do it.’ We both go with our gut instincts and end up doing the same films. It’s great working with Saif and we’ve had two major hits together — Love Aaj Kal and Cocktail.

How did Cocktail change things for you career-wise?

Post-Cocktail I’m considered more than just a glamorous addition to a film. You can now see that in the kind of roles that I’m being offered. That’s what I have always wanted from the day I joined this industry… that the audience should take me seriously as an actor and filmmakers should give me characters that help me prove my mettle. I used to get very disillusioned when I was looked at one-dimensionally as an actor because I always knew that I had a lot more to bring to the table. But I guess a lot of it had to do with timing and that I had to do my best in the limited number of roles I was offered. With Cocktail I felt a certain confidence and comfort to play a role that I hadn’t done before and it is to Homi’s (Adajania, the director of Cocktail) credit that he saw the rebelliousness and angst as well as the vulnerability of Veronica in me.

With Race 2, Kochadaiyaan opposite Rajinikanth, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Ram Leela and Chennai Express, 2013 is all about Deepika!

Honestly, I was offered all these films before Cocktail and I never signed these films thinking, ‘Oh, Ram Leela will do this for me and Chennai Express will turn out like this and Yeh Jawaani will be something like that...’ Yes, I am extremely excited about the fact that these films cover a range of subjects –– Yeh Jawaani (with Ranbir Kapoor) is a new-age romance, Ram Leela (opposite Ranveer Singh) is a classic love story, Race 2 is a thriller and Chennai Express (with Shah Rukh Khan) is again something that you have to watch out for.

You’ve been shooting all these films simultaneously. Which is proving to be the most challenging?

I’m almost done with Yeh Jawaani but I am finding both Ram Leela and Chennai Express very, very challenging. The characters are such that I have to be two completely different people and to make that shift is tough. But then again, that’s what I love about my job –– the chance to be a new person every single day.


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