She entered Bollywood with a hit film, Om Shanti Om (2007). Now, Deepika Padukone (above), who returned to India last month, is waiting for the release of her Hollywood movie, which also stars Vin Diesel. The actor says she “will go wherever opportunities” take her. Here, she talks about trying her luck in another industry, films in B-Town, and more.
Did you know that you were being missed back home?
I know (smiles). I got so many messages. Several journalists also messaged, saying, “We really miss you. Please come back fast.” It was a lovely feeling. It just goes to show that after a point, relationships are not just about work.
Bollywood is a competitive industry. When you were away, did you ever worry that someone else might take your position in B-Town?
I didn’t think of that. I don’t plan to think of that either. I have always followed my heart and my instincts, and I think that’s what has brought me to where I am. I don’t plan to change that. In life, it is important to do things for the right reasons. I don’t see my career as a stock market. It is about being able to do meaningful films and entertaining cinema that leave some kind of impression on the audience. Through every film, I want to make people smile. As an actor, you want to influence people’s lives in a certain way and take them on the journey that you have undertaken as an actor. That’s the most important thing for me.
What’s next for you as an actor?
We all have our individual targets and goals. You want to keep challenging yourself and keep discovering new things. I think that’s the point I am at. 2015 was a fantastic year for me with Piku, Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani. Whatever I do next has to be equally exciting, if not more. I am close to finding that (smiles).
Has working in a Hollywood film given you a different kind of satisfaction?
For me, this was such a fun experience that even if nothing comes out of it, it’s okay. In four months [when I was shooting for the Hollywood film in Canada], I made amazing friends. I got to meet different people. It’s a way of enriching myself.
You have a flourishing career in Bollywood. What made you take a leap of faith and try your hand at Hollywood?
In the creative world, things are a bit different. At a creative level, you are on a journey to explore various things. You are always looking for things that will challenge you as a person and actor. Today, creativity is beyond boundaries. I also believe that today, the world is one. Also, cinema as a medium is so large that it is there for the entire world to see. Today, language is no more a barrier. There are so many ways to make movies accessible to the world. So, eventually, for me, it’s about challenging myself. Most importantly, it is about having fun in whatever I do.
You launched your foundation — Live Love Laugh Foundation — last year. What’s happening on that front?
It’s an ongoing process; it’s not something that is event-based. There is a team that works for the foundation, and it’s an ongoing thing. We are currently focusing on our school programmes and the general physicians’ initiative that we started. Now, there is another big launch (on October 10) that we are working towards. It will mark the first anniversary of the foundation. I don’t want to reveal too much about what we are going to do.
How was it working with Vin Diesel?
Everyone [on the sets] was fun, warm and welcoming — whether it was Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Ruby Rose or others. They were so excited about India and asked me about our country and our culture. They also talked about our movies. They are amazing people and are my good friends. We made the experience a lot of fun for each other.