It is not easy being a Sanjay Leela Bhansali heroine. This, Deepika discovered when she had to perform a traditional Garba for Ram Leela. Traditional choreographers from rural Gujarat have been specially flown in to Mumbai to choreograph the number.
Says a source close to Deepika, "It was the same Garba team that had choreographed Aishwarya Rai's Dholi Taro Dhol Bhaje number in SLB's Hum...Dil De Chuke Sanam. And the director's brief to the team was simple. Make it as scintillating as Aishwarya's number."
Deepika is the only trained classical dancer from her generation of actresses. However the Garba requires a different discipline.
Says the source, "Deepika never performed the Garba before. She had been training for it for the last fortnight. Nonetheless the constant pressure of being compared with Aishwarya is taking its toll on her nerves. It's giving her performance anxiety. Given the chance, she would have liked to dance for the Garba number in her own way. But the constant reminder that she must do it as well as Aishwarya is proving counter-productive to her performing abilities."
For those who came in late, Aishwarya played a girl from a well-to-do zamindar's family in rural Hum...Dil De Chuke Sanam. Deepika's character in Ram Leela follows the same route. Both Aishwarya and Deepika are South Indian girls. But Aishwarya's everyday speech was free of any accent whereas Deepika has a certain Dravidian twang in her voice.
Says our source, "For her Gujju Juliet's role Deepika had to work from scratch. From her speech to her dancing she has gone through a complete revamp. But now when she's been told to do 'another Dholi Taro' Deepika is not enjoying the pressure of having to live up to a reference point."
Look out for fireworks ahead.