From being a model to becoming an actress, Deepika Padukone’s transformation has happened in the last two years. Although the actress’ debut film with Shah Rukh Khan, ‘Om Shanti Om’ (2007) was an undisputed hit, she faced a dry patch after that. With films like ‘Chandni Chowk’ to ‘China’ and ‘Lafangey Parindey’, the actress almost hit rock bottom. But in last three years we have seen her make a come back and how! Deepika Padukone bagged six films worth Rs 100 crore in the last two years…
Starting from signing big banner films to featuring in multi starrer, Deepika Padukone has taken all the right steps to revive her career and if the box office numbers are any indication, her efforts have paid off. Padukone bagged six films worth Rs 100 crore in the last two years. What made Padukone stand apart from her contemporaries was not just how she chose her every film but also how she improved her performance with every film.
From being called ‘as stiff as a model’ to being the pet of the critics, the actress has only gotten better with each passing film. The actress has had her falls and slips, but she also has gained an edge over her contemporaries like Sonam Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and the likes. The turning point in Padukone’s career was ‘Cocktail’. With ‘Cocktail’, India discovered that the actress has the hottest legs that ever debuted on silver screen.We also found out that Padukone wasn’t as bad an actress as films like ‘Karthik Calling Karthik’ and ‘Housefull’ made her to be. Padukone carried the entire film on her back. Padukone’s Veronica was sexy, smart and independent and someone who loves to party and drink a lot. While Padukone looked effortlessly sexy and comfortably slipped into the character of the fun loving girl, she surpassed our expectations in emotional scenes where we saw a vulnerable Veronica, desperate for love, forlorn and longing for companionship.
Padukone’s next big hit, that made Rs 100 crore at the box office, after ‘Cocktail’, was ‘Race 2’. With a loaded gun in a holster up her thigh, Padukone was everything that ‘Race 2’ expected her to be — an eye candy. Long legs, and beach curls featured prominently in the film. In ‘Race 2’, there was no trace of the Padukone we saw in ‘Cocktail’ and at best she resembled a decked up wooden doll. While she barely used her acting skills for this film, rest assure that she wasn’t the worst part about ‘Race 2’.
The disastrous ‘Race 2’ was followed by ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ which was one of the highest earner of 2012. In this film, we see Padukone go from Betty to Veronica, for no apparent reason but to accommodate Manish Malhotra’s lehengas and acknowledge her super flat midriff. Padukone plays Naina in the film, a nerdy medical student who transforms into a sexy woman faster than it takes for you to make maggi. However, for the rest of the film, Padukone has surprisingly little to do. As a doctor, who wears fake geeky glasses and prefers to wear floral dresses in Manali snow (on tights of course) she is utterly unconvincing. However, post her transformation, Padukone looks more like her supermodel self. While obviously her performance was neither nuanced nor worth remembering, Padukone manages an effortless chemistry with ex-beau, Ranbir Kapoor. Kapoor and Padukone make the half baked script work and although there are very few romantic scenes, the pair makes the romance come alive onscreen.
In ‘Chennai Express’, Padukone achieved an unthinkable feat, she steals Shah Rukh Khan’s thunder. From Madhuri Dixit in ‘Anjaam’ to Kajol in ‘My Name Is Khan’, after two decades of women failing to outshine Khan (even in women centric films), Padukone finally beat him to the punch in a film that was a commercial potboiler.
Her Meenalochni “Meena” Azhagusundaram was everything that’s wrong with Bollywood’s representation of Tamilians and while many found it offensive to stereotype in such fashion, the actress still managed to make people laugh with her caricaturish Tamil accent and queer mannerisms. The film no doubt was a hit, like most SRK films are but it didn’t stop at that and entered Rs 200 crore club breaking Aamir Khan’s ‘3 Idiot’s’ record.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’ was the first film where Padukone was a bigger star than her co-actor, Ranveer Singh. The film had its flaws, no doubt and while it is hard to take in an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet where the lead pair gets mutilated and there are rape scenes, the film worked for the chemistry between the lead pair. Reportedly an offscreen brewing between Singh and Padukone is what heated things up onscreen as well. However, Padukone was pitch perfect as the feisty Leela. While she looked lovely in beautiful bandhni lehengas and did garba as if she has won Miss Garba Night since the age of 3, the actress made the film a little tolerable, if not watchable, in the second half.
Deepika Padukone’s performance as bar dancer Mohini in ‘Happy New Year’ has been mostly panned by critics. According to a review of the film, “Padukone’s Mohini makes the airheaded heroines of ’80s’ movies seem like feminist icons. The ones who will really enjoy Padukone’s appearances in HNY are those who work in Bombay Times, particularly when Mohini falls in love with Charlie as he describes her “booty” and how “breast-taking” she is. However, despite getting horrible reviews, the film has already crossed Rs 100 crore mark, making this the sixth Padukone film to join the Rs 100 crore club.