Deepika Padukone turns 36: A look back at some of her iconic movies

Promising her fans a maverick surprise each time she hits the public gaze, on and off-screen, Deepika established herself as one of India's most bankable stars

New Delhi: Fondly called the ‘Queen of hearts’, superstar Deepika Padukone turned 36 on Wednesday.

Born in Denmark to the famous badminton player Prakash Padukone, the actor, who was raised in Bangalore, has managed to leave a strong imprint of her persona with her grace, dedication towards her work, and her humility.

Promising her fans a maverick surprise each time she hits the public gaze, on and off-screen, Deepika established herself as one of India’s most bankable stars.

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With her impeccable journey in the cinema industry, she made her way to the international platform and bagged a role in the American action drama ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’.

Following the success of her critically and commercially hit film ‘Padmaavat’, Deepika took some time off work to focus on her home and family. In 2018, she formed her own company, named Ka Productions. Her first production venture came with ‘Chhapaak’ (2020), a drama by Meghna Gulzar, in which she starred as an acid attack survivor (based on Laxmi Agarwal).

As the actor turns a year older on Wednesday, let’s revisit some of the diverse character portrayals that Deepika has put in front of the viewers.

  1. ‘Om Shanti Om’: Who can forget the gorgeous dimpled millennial star Shanti Priya, clad in the poppin pink coloured saree, waving at her fans? What happened with Shah Rukh Khan as Om at the moment, happens with all of us when we still watch that scene.

This 2007 movie marked the debut of Deepika in Hindi cinema. The film written and directed by Farah Khan and co-written by Mayur Puri and Mushtaq Shiekh starred Deepika as the love interest of Shah Rukh’s character–Om.

The film revolves around the love story of Om, a junior artist in 1977 who has a crush on a secretly-married superstar, Shanti Priya– played by Deepika. Her lover, a producer played by Arjun Rampal, kills her in a fire; Om witnesses this and dies from the injuries sustained from trying to rescue her. Reincarnated as a superstar in 2007, he seeks to avenge his love. ‘Om Shanti Om’ won several awards including the National Film Award for Best Production Design.

  1. ‘Love Aaj Kal’: The 2009 movie will surely leave you teary-eyed every time you watch it. The Imtiaz Ali directorial ‘Love Aaj Kal’ stars Deepika and Saif Ali Khan in the lead roles.

In a technology-driven world where love is on speed-dial, two lovers find themselves overcoming distances, failures and heartbreaks to find each other again and preserve the love they had abandoned. It was remade into Telugu as ‘Teen Maar’ (2011). Its successor of the same name, also directed by Ali, was released in 2020–starring Sara Ali Khan and Kartik Aaryan in the lead roles.

  1. ‘Chennai Express’: The 2013 romantic-comedy directed by Rohit Shetty proved to be a career-changing movie for Deepika. The film stars her as a South-Indian girl (Meena) who runs away from home in order to protect herself from getting married forcefully.

‘Chennai Express’ also stars Shah Rukh Khan as Rahul Mithaiwala, a man who accidentally boards the eponymous train and journeys from Mumbai to Rameswaram with the daughter of a local don, Meena. However, when he helps Meena, a runaway bride, board a train, he has to face the ire of her criminal family.

The film broke several box office records in India and abroad. It surpassed ‘3 Idiots’ (2009) to become the highest-grossing Bollywood film worldwide at that point. It is among the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time worldwide.

  1. ‘Ram Leela’: The 2013 film directed by ace filmmaker Sanja Leela Bhansali is a tragic romance film with a loose adaptation of the 1961 film ‘West Side Story’. It stars Deepika and Ranveer Singh in the lead roles.

The storyline revolves around the love story of Ram (Ranveer Singh) and Leela (Deepika), who love each other but cannot stay together as their families, have been at war with each other for the past 500 years. In the end, they both die and make sacrifices for their love. The film was a blockbuster hit and also was the set where reel-to-real love between Ranveer and Deepika emerged. The duo dated for more than 4 years and tied the knot in 2018.

  1. ‘Bajirao Mastani’: The 2015 Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie is an epic historical romance film starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika and Priyanka Chopra in the lead roles.

Based on the Marathi fictional novel Rau by Nagnath S. Inamdar, ‘Bajirao Mastani’ narrates the story of the Maratha Peshwa Bajirao I (1700-1740 AD) and his second wife, Mastani. The heroic Peshwa Bajirao (Ranveer), married to Kashibai (Priyanka), falls in love with Mastani (Deepika), a warrior princess in distress. They struggle to make their love triumph amid opposition from his conservative family.

‘Bajirao Mastani’ has also been noted for its scale, grandeur and attention to detail. It is one of the most expensive Hindi films, a major commercial success and one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time.

  1. ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’: The 2013 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Ayan Mukherjee stars Deepika as Naina and Ranbir Kapoor as Kabir in the lead roles.
    Kabir and Naina meet during a trekking trip where she falls in love with him but refrains from expressing it. They soon drift apart but end up meeting at a friend’s wedding. Kalki Koechlin and Aditya Roy Kapur play supporting roles in the movie that is very popular amongst the youth. Since its release in 2013, the film has gone on to achieve cult status.
  2. ‘Piku’: Shoojit Sircar’s 2015 comedy-drama film stars Deepika, Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan in the lead roles.

A road trip to Kolkata brings Piku, an architect, closer to her ageing but nagging father Bhaskor Banerjee (Amitabh) despite their disparate ideologies and fights over trivial issues. The film was nominated for Best Film in the 61st Filmfare Awards, as well as other categories. Deepika won her second Filmfare Award for Best Actress, and Amitabh Bachchan received his record-setting fourth National Film Award for Best Actor at the 63rd National Film Awards and his record-setting third Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor for his performance.

To list a few of Deepika Padukone’s iconic movies is as difficult as boiling the ocean. The superstar’s other movies such as ‘Padmaavat’, ‘Chhapak’, ‘Cocktail’, and ‘Tamasha’ among several others have already set a special place in the hearts of her fans.

Meanwhile, the actor, who was last seen in the sports drama ’83’, has a number of highly-anticipated movies in her kitty including ‘Fighter’ with Hrithik Roshan, ‘Pathan’ with Shah Rukh Khan, ‘Project K’ with Amitabh Bachchan and Prabhas, and ‘Gehraiyaan’ starring Ananya Panday, Siddhant Chaturvedi and Dhairya Karwa.

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