Q. You have a phenomenal 2009 ahead of you and life seems too good to be true. But did you have any resolutions this New Year’s eve?
A. No resolutions really, every year I hope that the following year is as exciting as the previous year and I am very happy with the way my professional life is going and I just hope that this year is the same for me. I always hope that I remain happy because I think happiness is very important.
Q. You celebrated your birthday some days ago. How does it feel? Heard you visited a temple in Mumbai. Did you party at all?
A. No, partying is not my thing, I preferred spending time with my family and yes I did visit a temple in the morning, that’s generally how I start my day on my birthday and generally do things that I enjoy doing, so I spent time with my family and also worked a bit, so I managed to balance out both.
Q. Any birthday wishes?
A. Well…what better way to start the year with a big film? My film Chandni Chowk To China is going to release soon, so I hope that it does really well.
Q. Chandni Chowk to China was your first action movie. Was it tough to film?
A. Yes, it was tough, but I am glad that I went through the extensive training – physically and mentally, it was important. So I was well prepared.
Q. What training did you undertake prior to filming?
A. I trained for six months. My trainers came down from Hong Kong and trained me in all the cable work and wire work and all the sword fights and all those things.
Q. The trailers of Chandni Chowk to China seems very promising. What made you choose this venture?
A. This project was offered to me before ‘Om Shanti Om’ released. And the fact that I was always very keen to do an action film and the fact that is sounded like a very big and exciting project, the fact that Nikhil Advani was directing it and it was opposite Akshay Kumar and the fact that I have a double role, so what more could I have asked for?
Q. You are playing a double role once again (after OSO). Do you think opting for double roles gives you more scope to exercise your acting prowess?
A. I would have considered myself very lucky to have got to do the opportunity of a double role again. It just gives me that much more confidence that my directors and the audience believe that I can carry off different kinds of looks in different kinds of roles. And obviously as an actor it is a lot more challenging doing two roles in the same film. It’s definitely not easy and is quite challenging.
Q. You look phenomenal yielding all the sticks, the magical umbrellas… How difficult was it to pull off all the stunts?
A. It was quite difficult because I had to train for about six months; I used to train for about eight hours a day. But I think it’s all paid off, it was something that I had to do because of the kind of action that was required in the film. And my trainers came down from Hong Kong to train me for the action sequences in the film. I think it has really all paid off very well. The action sequences were all ready before we even started shooting for the film. Once we started shooting everything was all in place and I didn’t waste any time learning.
Q. Do you always identify with the roles that you take up on screen? And more importantly, will we see you in a non-glamorous avatar any time soon?
A. Sure, as an actor I would definitely like to do different kinds of roles and different kinds of cinema.
Q. Can you tell us about some interesting anecdotes while shooting for the CC2C?
A. For me the most interesting part would be shooting at the ‘Great Wall Of China’. I had always thought that I would end up there as a tourist, but it was a greater experience actually shooting there, and I think with the first film to have ever been shot at the ‘Great Wall Of China’.
Q. How was it working with Akshay Kumar? We hear that you were in awe and a bit intimidated while performing stunts alongside him. How do you rate his stunt quotient?
A. I wouldn’t say intimidated because then that would be taking away credit from him. He’s some one who has made me feel extremely comfortable, whether it was on the sets, whether it was scene or whether it was an action stunt. He’s made me feel absolutely comfortable and also I give my director credit for that and I would also give myself a little bit of credit for that because I had trained really hard for it. No, I wasn’t intimidated. I am just some one who really admires the way he’s groomed himself over the years and the way he has evolved as an actor and the kind of cinema that he’s doing, I think he’s some one who we can all really learn a lot from.
Q. You are considered to be one of the most beautiful/promising faces to hit Bollywood in a long time? Do all the sky-high expectations bog you down?
A. No, it doesn’t. I am here to enjoy my work. I think enjoying my work is extremely important and that’s the reason I am here.
Q. Who is your worst critic?
A. I think myself and my family. I think my family would be most honest with me.
Q. When you see yourself on screen, do you cringe or do you analyze it to pieces?
A. I do a little bit of both.
Q. How would you best describe Deepika Padukone – the person and Deepika Padukone – the celebrity?
A. I don’t consider myself a celebrity, I believe that I’ve had a fantastic up bringing and I believe my parents have kept me really grounded and rooted and my family keeps me rooted. And I hope that success never gets to me. I’ve seen my father handle success really well and I hope I continue in the same way because I believe that fame and money, all of that are all secondary things. The main thing is to enjoy your work.
Q. With the economic downturn, do you think it’s feasible to plan magnum opuses? As an actor, how do you plan to tackle the downturn?
A. I’ll tackle it when I have to; I haven’t really faced the situation yet.
Q. You seem to be very picky about choosing roles? Do you consult anybody from the film fraternity before signing on a venture?
A. Obviously the final decision is mine, but I do have my parents who I always consult before I do a film and I take their advice.
Q. Will we ever see you in a Hollywood venture?
A. If something exciting comes up, why not?
Q. How do you de-stress after a day’s hard work and what’s the mantra that keeps you going?
A. I enjoy doing simple things. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, eating simple home food.
Q. Tell us something that nobody else knows about Deepika Padukone – the actress.
A. Nothing in particular. I like to believe that I am a very simple person. I like doing simple things, I like spending time at home with my family and friends. And I am extremely fond of chocolate.
Q. Does it rile you up about your personal life being discussed till the cows come home? Are you on/off with Ranbir, are you on/off with XXX, what is your take?
A. All I can say at this point is that I know it’s a part of your profession to be written about your personal life and people are going to keep speculating which is fine as long as I know what is happening in my life and I am very secured and happy in my relationship.
Q. How does it feel to be a part of Imtiaz Ali’s next venture Production No 1? Were you aware of the tug of war between Saif Ali Khan and the director over who should be cast?
A. That’s really none of my business and decision. I think if Imtiaz has approached me for a film and if he thinks I fit the role then… It was offered to me and obviously I agreed to do it. It’s a great script and a great role and I think certain roles are written with certain people in mind. So that’s really the director’s decision. I am no one to really comment on that.
Q. You won several awards for your role in Om Shanti Om. How has the film changed your life?
A. It’s changed my life in a lot of ways. The fact that I got to debut with Sharukh and Farah, they gave me such a huge launch. Apart from that I am completely grateful to the industry and the audience for accepting me and the fact that I have got such fabulous roles and opportunities to be a part of such good films.
Q. You used to play badminton, like your father. What made you change your career path?
A. I always wanted to be a model and wanted to be in the glamour field. So it’s something that I always wanted to do.
Q. You famously criticized the media for publishing stories about your romantic link-ups. Has this affected your private life and how you conduct interviews?
A. To me it really doesn’t matter; I understand that it’s the job of the media to get as much as they can. I understand that it’s also a part of the profession that I am in. I know that people appreciate my work and that’s the most important thing. I really don’t react to these kinds of things when they are written.
Q. What are your hopes for 2009?
A. I hope that my films that release do really well.
Q. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
A. My parents are my biggest inspiration.
Q. How do you like to relax?
A. By spending time with my family.