What makes Deepika Padukone the biggest Bollywood superstar

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 05, 2016 16:08 IST
Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra in a still from Bajirao Mastani. (YouTube)

At a time when Bollywood is ever so reluctantly warming up to the idea of feminism and the thorny issue of pay disparity between male and female artistes, guess which one actor’s names keeps cropping up? Deepika Padukone.

From taking on a national newspaper for a vulgar headline to addressing gender bias among film producers along with Anushka Sharma, Kangana Ranaut and others, Tuesday’s birthday girl is one of the most vocal actors in the industry today.

However, that kind of confidence to speak one’s mind in a male-dominated industry probably stems from Deepika’s standing as a A-list star.

Watch: Deepika, Arjun in Shake your bootiya from Finding Fanny

Currently one of the most paid actors in Bollywood, comparable with the revered Khans, and is as much a crowd-puller as the best of them, there are very few who can cloud Deepika’s stardom now.

This of course is directly proportional to her salable value of her films. Deepika’s position is in fact rather envious considering she debuted in 2007 (in Om Shanti Om) and her career in under a decade old, a feat not even the Khans managed.

If reports are to be believed then Deepika will soon be seen in a thriller. (PTI)

If you consider her last six films, Deepika’s rising brand value is apparent. Her latest, Bajirao Mastani has already crossed the Rs 150 cr mark in India. This, despite the fact that it was released on the same day when Shah Rukh Khan’s and Kajol’s Dilwale hit the screens. Truth be told, Bajirao Mastani’s success made Dilwale tank at the ticket window.

Watch: Deepika in Deewani mastani from Bajirao Mastani

Before Bajirao, there was Tamasha; the Imtiaz Ali-directed film proved to be a lifesaver for Ranbir Kapoor who was desperate for a commercial success. Most every review suggested Deepika shone through in the film that was a near hit-and-miss.

Her third release last year added to the hattrick. Deepika made a formidable lead in Piku that featured an ensemble cast including Irrfan Khan and Amitabh Bachchan. Director Shoojit Sircar’s movie was far from the usual Bollywood fare. It was hearty, emotional, quirky and entertaining – what movie about a man and his bowel movements can sell that well?

Watch: Deepika, Ranbeer in Tamasha

The year before last was no less eventful for Deepika. With three releases again – Kochadaiiyaan, Finding Fanny and Happy New Year – Deepika proved she was as much an entertainer as an actor in 2014. Granted, Kochadaiiyaan did bomb at the box office, but it was Rajnikanth’s show through and through. However, Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny was. Though it wasn’t a ‘mainstream’ movie, Finding Fanny worked because of its well-crafted content. In Happy New Year, Deepika was paired opposite Shah Rukh Khan a third time after Om Shanti Om and Chennai Express (2013), in which she was actually received more praise than King Khan.

Watch: Deepika in Party on my mind from Race 2

While two consecutive years of success can be considered good luck or coincidence, one can hardly argue the same for three, and that is where Deepika has proven her star value. In the 2013, arguably the start of Deepika’s good run, she featured in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Race 2, Ram Leela and Chennai Express. The first three crossed the coveted Rs 100 crore mark while the last one earned more than Rs 200 cr, and there was no debate about the actor’s contribution to that. By then, Deepika was barely six years into the industry.

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