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HomeEntertainmentDeepika Padukone: ‘I have been a fighter all along’

Deepika Padukone: ‘I have been a fighter all along’

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In the dazzling world of cinema, one name reigns supreme when it comes to embodying strength, resilience, and sheer brilliance on the silver screen. Yes, we are talking about Deepika Padukone. As the spotlight converges on her latest cinematic venture, Fighter, an adrenaline-fueled action film that promises to redefine the genre, Eastern Eye sat down with the actress to delve into the captivating journey of bringing her character to life. The film, which also stars Hrithik Roshan and Anil Kapoor, is presently running in cinemas near you.

What led you to be a part of Fighter?

When I sign a film, it is not for the end result, but with a purpose—of telling a good story. I think Fighter is a movie made with a lot of love and honesty. You know, our first shoot, I do not know whether it was planned that way or it happened by default, was at an active airbase in Assam. That was really a great decision. And that’s what made Fighter very special. I will tell you why!

Please continue.

For 20 days, we lived and engaged with the families of the actual fighter pilots. We ate with them, played badminton with them, stayed in their quarters, and spent lovely evenings together. This really gave us the tone and the correct pitch. Around us, there were aircraft actually taking off or landing every few minutes, come 2 a.m. or 1 p.m.! Then there were those officers assigned to us so that we learned to don the right uniforms in the right way, how to walk, talk, sit, and have the right body language. They coached us on how to salute, fly a plane, and navigate a chopper! And speaking of uniforms, they instantly instilled a sense of fierce pride in us all. I think that the exact moment that happened was when I zipped mine up! Not just for a film, but as human beings, we learned so much! Fighter is our way of thanking the Armed Forces, a tribute to the men who simply think of nothing but the safety of our country and risk their lives each day so that we all live safe.

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In real life, how much of a fighter are you?

I have been a fighter all along! I came to Mumbai alone as a 16-year-old navigating a new city. I become a model, then an actor. I started from scratch, making mistakes, and facing failures and criticism. But if I had to pick up one fight, it would be a mental illness that happened to me in 2014.  That is the point from where every day has been like a fight…

How was it to work with Hrithik Roshan for the first time in Fighter?

Of course, it’s always special when you work with someone for the first time. There is a lot of discovery you don’t know, there is so much expectation. He has seen my work. I have seen his work. You always build this expectation in your head about a colleague and when you go on to set, sometimes, it’s what you expect, sometimes it’s more than what you expect, and sometimes it’s just not what you expect. And for me, to some extent, I had heard about this phenomenon of Hrithik Roshan, but I experienced it for the first time. So, everything that we all have heard about his craft honesty his process, and a lot more is true. The lot more is what I have experienced after working with him. I don’t think I have come across any actor who is just only thinking about this all the time. Every line, every moment, and yet so effortless. I think what we were both able to do is just be very honest with each other when the cameras were rolling and I think it’s very, very special when you find another actor in front of you who can do the same thing because otherwise sometimes it’s a little difficult.

What do you have to say about Hrithik Roshan praising your dance skills?

I find it very hard to believe because I never trust anything he says. An actor and a dancer of his caliber saying that… I am hearing for the first time. I just don’t take it seriously.

Do you feel box-office pressure?

Yeah, I mean I know people do make movies for the box office and when you work in reverse, you are just not being true to the process and I think that always shows eventually, and in the work that we have done and before, I know that that has never been the intention. The intention is to tell a beautiful story that the audience is going to connect with, and that’s going to have a positive impact. You are going to have a great time while making the movie because the process is as important as the result in itself and I think what makes Fighter even more special is, that this is our tribute and our thank you to every single fighter out there who puts their life at risk every single day so that we are safe and so this is our thank you to them.

As a woman, there is always a male star with you when you are doing an action film. Be it Pathaan or Fighter. Does it get frustrating to see that as a female, and are you hopeful of the time when it will be just you headlining an action film?

Yeah, sure, wait for Shakti Shetty (in Singham Returns), I guess. I will just check with Rohit Shetty and get back to you. You never anyway do anything alone, you know. I just feel like this whole male, female conversation… I don’t think women can succeed without men and I don’t think men can succeed without women. So, I think, we need to rephrase the definition of feminism.

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