She's the daughter of the badminton champ Prakash Padukone. Now, she has her own calling card. After reigning the couture ramps as the nation's numero uno supermodel, the movies were as inevitable as rainfall in June. She makes her movie debut as Shah Rukh Khan's heroine in his home production Om Shanti Om.
On the private front, she was harnessed to aspiring actor Nihar Pandya. But he's history now. Instead, the beauteous one has been gobbling up newsprint because of her relationship (sorry..sorry.. friendship) with Ranbir Kapoor. Pyar kiya to darna kya? Don't know about that.. but here's Deepika Padukone in a gabfest with Vajir Singh.
Why beat around the bush? Aren't you dating Ranbir Kapoor?
No, we're just friends. Please spare me the world's biggest cliché. (Amused) I'm not seeing him. We've known each other for a while.. we get along very well, we're friends. Is that a crime? But the media thinks differently. They and that includes you guys.. .. are concocting a story that doesn't exist.
Thanks.. but Ranbir and you haven't even worked together. Where did you meet up?
At a social gathering. We gelled very well, since then we've been friends. It's really all about the company you like to keep. You know what? I treat him the way I treat my other friends.
<b1>Like what? You say, "Go, get a coffee for me"?
Yes. And why not? After all, he's my friend.. nothing wrong with chatting over a cup of coffee.
What about the story about you walk ing with him into a five-star hotel, well past midnight?
We were in a group.. and what does time have anything to do with it?
Well.. the hand-in-hand scenario.
Ha! Listen, the media is going berserk. Today, if I walk into any place hand-in-hand even with a girlfriend, the next day there will be reports that I was with Ranbir.. hand-in-hand.
No one sees our other friends who're constantly with us. We're always in a group. But it's made out as if there were only the two of us. Not done!
Do you both laugh about what's printed the next morning in the papers?
What's there to laugh about? We both know it's not true. We just read it the stuf f.. and that's it.
Who are the other friends in this group?
Aren't Priyanka Chopra and Harman Baweja part of this group?
Now, this is a bit much.
Okay, aren't they friends of yours.. and Ranbir's?
(Pause) I don't know about Ranbir.. but yes, they are my friends. We do hang out together.
Are you excited about being paired with Ranbir Kapoor in Siddharth Raaj Anand's next film for Yashraj after
Ta Ra Rum Pum?
Listen, I'll talk about my future projects only when the time's right.
But this news is official now.
(Coolly) I'd rather keep mum.
Officially or not.. why did you break up with Nihar Pandya?
I won't deny the fact that I was dating Nihar Pandya.. for two years. I'd known him before we started dating.. we were friends. Today, again we're friends. I wouldn't like to divulge the reasons why we broke up.. it's personal.
Was it because of Ranbir?
Impatiently) That's between Nihar and me. Ranbir and I are friends.
Isn't Nihar trying to get into films?
He was.. he has a role in
But he's more into his family business.
Weren't you living in his flat?
That's not true. I was always shuttling between my hometown Bangalore and my work place Mumbai. I'm still very close to his family.
<b3>Talk is that now you've bought a flat of your own.
Yes. It makes me feel so good to be an independent girl at the age of 21. I've bought my own house in Bandra. Isn't that something? It's been only two years since I started working here.. things have moved fast for me, touchwood.
Where is your flat in Bandra?
Now, don't ask me my postal address, please.
Are Ranbir and Nihar friends?
Huh? I don't know if they know each other.
What does love mean to you?
Compatibility.. with someone special.
Your ideal guy is?
Compatible, calm, cool, full of humour.
Is Ranbir compatible, calm, cool, full of humour?
(Laughs) We get along very well. Okay?
Have you met his parents Rishi and Neetu Kapoor?
What? Why? No, I haven't met them.
When did you first meet Shah Rukh Khan for Om Shanti Om?
It all happened by chance. I'd met Farah Khan a couple of times. Then one day, she asked me to meet her to talk about the film. I did.
Ultimately, I was signed for the film. It was nice of Farah to introduce me to the entire cast and crew before we started shooting. Then, she made me meet Shah Rukh a couple of times.. so there would be a comfort level when we started shooting.
Did you have to give many takes for a shot?
It was my first film..I guess I was up to the mark. But I can't comment on who gives a perfect shot in one take.. or in how many retakes.
Can you speak Hindi properly?
I can. Om Shanti Om has been shot in sync sound, so I don't even need to dub. That's sufficient proof that I can speak Hindi properly .
It seems that Farah Khan was quite protective about you. You'd often go out with her.
I went out with her to just one function --the launch of Shah Rukh Khan's biography.. it was a big day for him, we both went together. She treated me like a daughter.
Yes, she made me feel comfortable.. so did Shah Rukh. It has been a dream experience.
<b5>Didn't you opt out of Priyadarshan's Pirate because you bagged Om Shanti Om?
There were no talks with Priyan sir. At times, a director thinks that a particular actor or actress will suit a particular character and discusses this with his collegues. Maybe this happened and it became news. Frankly, I was never approached for that project.
There were strong conjectures that you would debut opposite your friend Himesh Reshammiya in Aap Ka Surroor. You'd even appeared in his music video.
I did the video because Himesh is a friend. But he didn't approach me for the film. So there's no question about me accepting or rejecting Aap ka Surroor.
Are you and Himesh still on talking terms?
Yes, we're still friends.
To return to Om Shanti Om, are you under contract stipulating that you can't talk about it all?
No, not at all. You ask me, I'll tell you.
Isn't the film set in the 1970s?
Yes, it is.
Isn't Shah Rukh Khan playing a double role?
(Laughs) I don't know about that.
Are your parents okay about your film career?
They have always been supportive.. I always keep them posted about whatever I'm doing.
Whom did you inform first after signing Om Shanti Om?
Mum and dad. (Laughs) Whenever I call them up, mum is on one line and dad's on the other line. So, I talk to both of them at the same time.
Is it bye bye to the ramp?
No. Whatever I'm today is because of the modelling world. But yes, I'll have to limit myself on the number of ramp assignments.
You're being considered as the next big thing.
Really? Am I being talked about so highly?
It seems Om Shanti Om and Ranbir Kapoor's Saawariya will both be released during the Diwali week. Which film you would like to be a bigger hit?
(Laughs) Very funny. Of course, Om Shanti Om.