Deepika Padukone: I wouldn’t have done ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’ if I wasn’t comfortable working with Ranbir Kapoor

The Cocktail actor isn’t yet ready to talk about signing Chennai Express, in which she is reportedly co-starring again with Shahrukh Khan, but she did share lot about her latest movie with Saif Ali Khan and newbie Diana Penty

Deepika Padukone has just come back from Turkey, where she was shooting with Saif Ali Khan for Abbas-Mustan’s Race 2. She is looking as gorgeous as ever, and seems very excited about the release of her latest film, Cocktail. Deepika spoke about her equation with co-stars Saif, Diana Penty, producer Dinesh Vijan and her next film with ex-flame Ranbir Kapoor…

Has the promotion of Cocktail been delayed?

Has it been delayed? I don’t think so, but I did hear that there was some technical glitch. Me and Saif were in Turkey, shooting for Race 2 and we have come back to promote Cocktail. Each film requires a different promotional strategy, and I don’t have any say in how it is planned. I just show up when and where the producer asks me to. You can look at any list of the ‘Most awaited films of 2012’ and you will not see Cocktail mentioned in it. But ever since the trailer was released, things have changed for good. Now everybody seems to be eagerly waiting to watch our film.

Tell us a little about your role in Cocktail...

When I was first offered the film, I had the opportunity to choose one from the two roles: Meera and Veronica. I liked both the characters so much, I asked producer Dinesh Vijan if I could do a double role (laughs)! I was really confused about which part to play. I asked Imtiaz Ali, the writer, which role to pick. He told me that I could play either of the characters, but added that I was now ready to play Veronica, which is a more challenging character.

My character in Cocktail is the kind of person that everybody wants to be, but are not because they are concerned about being judged by society. Veronica doesn’t care, she just speaks her mind. She has had a troubled childhood and now she has found her comfort zone in her friends, Meera and Gautam. Cocktail is a film that will always remain special to me.

Just four days into the shooting of Cocktail I had transformed into Veronica completely. Director Homi Adajania told me that he didn’t really have to tell me how to act and react, because I had already owned Veronica. It took me a while to get out of the character and come back to my normal self once the shooting was over.

Do you think an urban story like Cocktail will work beyond the metro cities?

Cocktail is primarily a love story, and that is one theme that has a universal connect, irrespective of the demographics. We have made a fun film and have worked very hard at it. We hope people watch and like it when it releases later this week.

When you first read in the script, that your character in Cocktail doesn’t wear her underpants while at home, did you freak out?

Actually, no! I think it was one of the highlights of the characters that made it edgier than any other female character written in recent times. I am happy that it has managed to make a mark. It takes our cinema forward and might help change the perception of people. I look at Cocktail as a woman oriented film and my role is one of the edgiest I have played.

We heard that you recommended Homi’s name to the producers to direct Cocktail. Is that true?

No, it would be incorrect to say that I recommended Homi’s name to the producers. Imtiaz Ali, who is the writer of Cocktail, was very sure that he did not want to direct the film, so we were looking for someone who could helm the project. We were discussing some names and at one point we thought that Homi would be the perfect choice. Once Homi came on board he added a lot of his personality to the film. He has a very global vision, whereas Imtiaz has a ‘desi’ core. I think Cocktail would have been some other film if Imtiaz had directed it. We are very happy with the way the film has turned out.

You have worked with Saif Ali Khan in Love Aaj Kal, Aarakshan, and post Cocktail you will be seen together in Race 2 as well. How has your chemistry with him changed over the years?

My chemistry with Saif is not tangible, and I like to work with him, as he is a wonderful actor. It is not a conscious decision for us to work together; things just fall into place. I have been a part of two of the three films produced by Saif’s Illuminati Films, and I am grateful to them for giving me the opportunities. I think I bond better with producer Dinesh, as our idea of love stories is the same.

We heard that you did not like the Daaru desi song, and were not happy about having it in the film…

Personally I didn’t like that song, and I was very sure that it would not work with the audience. I am happy that despite my dislike, Dinesh decided to retain the track. I had placed a Rs 10 lakh bet with him, saying the song wouldn’t work. Daaru desi has not only turned out to become the most popular song of the album, it is topping the charts as well. I just hope Dinu takes pity on me and lets go of the money I had bet! I tried telling him to deduct the money from my fee, but he insists that I pay him after I get my money. (Makes sad face and bursts into giggles)

Hard as we try, we can’t resist asking you about your latest outing with Ranbir Kapoor…

We are thorough professionals, and there is no awkwardness working with each other. If we were not uncomfortable working together, we would not have agreed to do Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani in the first place. We are good friends now and we share a similar passion for cinema. But once the shoot is wrapped, we go our own ways. And please don’t ask me if we are going to get back together – that will not happen.

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