When we call Deepika Padukone a superstar, we don't just mean the Bollywood variety. This particular actor has managed to make that transition, the kind which makes her human - the smart kind.
In a time and age when Bollywood female actors don't hide their brains behind their beauty (Sonakshi Sinha weighing in on the weight issue, Parineeti Chopra giving a biology lesson to an erring journo and Vidya Balan being categorical about her sexuality), Deepika still stands out for the issues she takes up and the grace and poise with which she does it.
Here are a few instances when Deepika Padukone took the stereotype of Bollywood heroine and threw it right out of the window.
1 Having known someone closely who has battled depression, it came as something of a surprise -- a welcome one though -- that a leading Bollywood star would come on record and accept that she had battled the same mental illness.
At the time Happy New Year was being shot, Deepika said she found it a struggle to even get out of the bed every morning. She resisted taking medication in the beginning, she says, but eventually realised counselling alone will not help.
Deepika wrote in HT, "My personal experience as well as my friend's death (due to depression) urged me to take up this issue, which isn't usually talked about. There is shame and stigma attached to talking about depression. In fact, one in every four people suffer from anxiety and depression."
2 Bollywood is a dog-eat-dog world, or rather cat-eat-cat. Famous for its catfights, the female acting fraternity got yet another shot in the arm when Deepika Padukone received the award for Best Actor Female Popular Choice at a recent event. She got it for Happy New Year and Kangana Ranaut didn't for her superlative performance in Queen. So Deepika did what any fan of fair play should do - she dedicated it to Kangana. "Thank you for this award but I really believe this year belonged to Kangana. So Kangana, this one's for you," she said on stage.
3 "YES!I am a Woman.I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??" That was a tweet which went viral last year. The writer was Deepika Padukone and at the other end was a national daily. As the world debated and took sides, Deepika went ahead and ended the war of words with a Facebook post - "Sure, dissect my characters if you wish-if it is of so much interest then discuss the character's cup size and leg length if it is relevant to making the role convincing. All I am asking for is respect as a woman off-screen." And you got it, Deepika.