It was hard to miss the young debutante opposite superstar Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om (2007). While this may have arguably been her most noticeable appearance back then, Deepika had already achieved quite a bit by then.
Ace badminton player Prakash Padukone's daughter, Deepika has come a long way since her first acting stint in Himesh Reshammiya's then popular song Naam Hai Tera (yes, go back to the song and see for yourself).
Deepika, the model
A state-level badminton player, Deepika chose modelling and acting as her careers. The actress started early as she was first spotted in college fashion competitions before she graduated to featuring in commercials and getting modelling breaks.
Deepika was awarded Model of The Year at the fifth annual Kingfisher Fashion Awards and subsequently even became a Kingfisher Calendar Girl.
She continues to walk the ramp for designers at seasonal fashion weeks.
Deepika, the actress
In 2006, Deepika made her film debut in Kannada film Aishwarya where she played the titular character, an assertive and fun-loving girl. Deepika is one of the few young mainstream Bollywood actresses who's acted in a Southern film.
It was in 2007, that Deepika Padukone landed her first Bollywood role opposite none other than SRK in Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om. The actress, who had a double role in the film, pulled off both her roles- the quiet and demure Shantipriya as well as the bubbly and animated Sandy. Not only was the film, which was a re-incarnation love story, a big hit but Deepika's performance, too, was lauded by critics.
Film critic Taran Adarsh said, "Deepika has all it takes to be a top star - the personality, the looks and yes, she's supremely talented too. Standing in the same frame as SRK and getting it right is no small achievement. She comes as a whiff of fresh air!"
Deepika not only got accolades after OSO, but was also offered any more roles soon after.
However, in her next two films Bachna Ae Haseeno and Chandni Chowk To China, Deepika was unable to leave a mark. In the former, the actress played a modern and liberated woman opposite her then beau Ranbir Kapoor, but failed to impress critics, possibly because she was overshadowed by her co-stars Minissha Lamba and Bipasha Basu. Critic Taran Adarsh even called her the 'sore point' of the film. About her double role in Chandni Chowk... opposite Akshay Kumar, film critic Nikhat Kazmi wrote, "Deepika looks lost and forlorn for most of the film."
Deepika-Saif in Love Aaj Kal
However, just as she was in danger of being written off as a one-time-wonder, her next few films brought her back to the forefront and things started looking up once again.
Her film Love Aaj Kal (2009) opposite Saif Ali Khan proved to be one of the biggest hits of 2009. In the film, Deepika plays a modern woman. The couple shared good chemistry and this was the first of their many films together.
2010 was a big year for Deepika, as the year saw five of her film releases within months of each other.
The first of these films was the critically acclaimed Karthik Calling Karthik, in which she was cast opposite the schizophrenic Farhan Akhtar. Both, the actors' performances as well as the film's concept, were critically acclaimed, although it didn't fair too well on the box office.
The next and Deepika's biggest hit was Sajid Khan's Housefull in which she was cast opposite Akshay Kumar. Despite the film being a multi-starrer, Deepika managed to hold her own. In the film's review, Taran Adarsh wrote, "Deepika is a surprise. She carries her part with amazing confidence...Housefull is the film that would make people notice her talent as well as beauty". . Both the film and Deepika's performance were a hit!
However, in her next three films in 2010, she wasn't so lucky. Her subsequent movies Lafangey Parindey (opposite Neil Nitin Mukesh), Break Ke Baad (opposite Imran Khan) and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey (opposite Abhishek Bachchan) were all failures at the box office.
In 2011, however, Deepika turned show-stealer in Rohan Sippy's Dum Maaro Dum. Despite doing only a special appearance in the film's raunchy title track, Deepika's sensual performance became one of the biggest talking points of the film. This new avatar showed Deepika in an all new light and even broke ideas of stereotype in people's minds about her.
Whether it was her acting skills, her innocent face, her envious body or even her impeccable fashion sense, Deepika was really impressive.
In her next film Aarakshan (2011), Deepika was once again seen in desi avatar. Despite the film having big names like Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan and Manoj Bajpai, the 26-year-old played an important role too. Of performance, critic Pratim Gupta wrote, "Deepika, though, is again the refreshing thing about a movie. Both her scenes with Bachchan - one where she revolts and the other where she redeems herself - show how she has come of age as an actor."
However, one of her most lauded performance came in the film Cocktail, where she was part of a love triangle with Saif Ali Khan and Diana Penty.
Deepika was offered both roles, that of Veronica, the party animal and the relatively homely Meera, but she delibeartly chose to break out of the stereotype and selected the former while the latter went to Diana.
The film showed the actress in an all-new light, even surprising some of the critics with her act. HT critic Anupama Chopra wrote, "The big surprise here is Deepika, who moves beyond her usual statuesque mannequin pose and gets into the skin of the emotionally raw and needy poor little rich girl. This is easily her best performance to date."
2013 was a gamechanger for Deepika, as she delivered four back-to-back hits (Race 2, Ye Jawaani Hai Dewaani, Chennai Express and Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela). The actor also got crowned as the undisputed queen of Bollywood.
In Race 2, Deepika was no more than a glamorous face, though it was a commerical success. "Once you're done admiring Istanbul's stunning locations, Deepika's sheer gorgeousness and John Abraham's carbohydrate-defying abs, there isn't much to do," wrote Anupama Chopra.
She nailed it as Naina though as film critic Anupama Chopra described her "both supremely attractive and genuinely likeable" in the film.
Deepika once again gave a power-packed performance in Chennai Express. "I enjoyed watching Deepika Padukone as Meena, the don’s daughter with the thick accent, who meets Rahul on Chennai Express and turns his life upside down. Padukone’s spirited performance — she even makes that accent attractive — helps to lift the film," wrote Anupama Chopra in her review.
Deepika had another winner in hand with Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela. "In her last three films, Deepika has stolen the show from her heroes, but this one, I think, belongs to Ranveer," felt Chopra.
Though Deepika Padukone was spotted partying with her Ram-leela co-star Ranveer Singh on many occasions, she hasn't admitted to a relationship with him.
Her relationship with actor Ranbir Kapoor was more talked about. Whether it was their courtship, their breakup or even stories that emerged after, the couple stayed in the news. In fact, one of the few actresses who usually steers clear of controversy, Deepika found herself in more controversies than she bargained for thanks to the much-too-public relationship and its aftermath.
Ranbir and Deepika, who were already dating at the time of their simultaneous debuts Om Shanti Om and Saawariya, apparently didn't disclose their relationship until much after. The two were spotted at several events together, even indulging in a lot of PDA. However, like the relationship, the couple's breakup was also a rather public one. It is a known fact that the Kapoor boy was the first to move and some of the media even reported that he had cheated on his lady. Although not taking names, Deepika had hinted in an interview that her man was the one who 'strayed.'
However, eventually both the actors moved on and now seem comfortable with each other.
2006 Aishwarya - Aishwarya (Kannada film)
2007 Om Shanti Om - Shantipriya/Sandhya (Sandy)
2008 Bachna Ae Haseeno - Gayatri
2009 Chandni Chowk to China - Sakhi (Ms. TSM)/Meow Meow (Suzy)
2009 Love Aaj Kal - Meera Pandit
2010 Karthik Calling Karthik - Shonali Mukherjee
2010 Housefull - Sandy
2010 Lafangey Parindey - Pinky Palkar
2010 Break Ke Baad - Aaliya Khan
2011 Dum Maro Dum - Special appearance in the song Mit Jaaye Gum (remix of Zeenat Aman's Dum Maaro Dum)
2010 Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey - Kalpana Datta
2011 Aarakshan - Poorbi Anand
2011 Desi Boyz - Radhika Awasthi
2012 Cocktail - Veronica
2013 Race 2 Elena
2013 Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani - Naina
2013 Chennai Express
2013 Ram Leela - Leela
On current relationship with Ranbir Kapoor
I feel if there was any sort of awkwardness I would not have signed the film. We agree to do the film together because we knew that there will be a certain comfort. I think in that sense we both have handled it very well. "I think we have handled it how to keep our personal life aside and focus on our professional commitments. For us nothing matters than doing this film itself. But on a personal note, we have a beautiful friendship and I am glad that we are friends and I respect that more than anything else."
On her perfect Cocktail figure
"I changed my workout slightly. Basically, I just had to sacrifice going out for dinners every time Dino (producer Dinesh Vijan) took the cast out for dinners. I would just sit in my room alone and ate steamed fish and not have any dessert."
On finding the right man
"I've reached a stage where there's no man in my life, and I'm not looking for one. But when I do, I know that I just want something basic and simple: a regular guy with a regular job, who I can come home to. Men who are quietly confident are way more attractive than guys who try too hard."
Ask her for an evergreen dating tip and she says, "It's about making eye contact. You look at each other across the room, you know he's looking at you, and you know you're looking at him."
On speculations about love life
"There's a certain part of life I would like to keep to myself. And I don't think I am answerable to anyone, whether I say yes or no to a guy. People are most welcome to speculate. It's fun to read what people have to say or write about it. But you won't hear anything from me on the topic."
On equation with several times co-star Saif
"I don't think there's anything to react to. I share a professional equation with Saif. That's about it. And I guess since Kareena is a part of his life, it's (such talks) bound to come up. But that's understandable."
Date of Birth: 5 January 1986
Place of Birth: Copenhagen, Denmark
Parents: Prakash and Ujjala Padukone
Sibling: Anisha Padukone
Debut film: Aishwarya (Kannada) Om Shanti Om (Hindi)