Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor continue to be good friends even though they broke up about a year ago. And while they haven’t signed on another movie together, the two were recently spotted at a show of Housefull at a suburban multiplex, sparking off rumours of a reconciliation.
However, Padukone insists, “I lead a normal life, I go out with friends for movies and lunches. And if I’m out for a movie with someone, it does not mean we’re in a relationship. When I was involved, I was open about it. People should respect that. I’m single today. When I do have something serious to talk about, I will.”
A number of factors have been attributed to their break-up — from his parents not being too pleased with their relationship, to Ranbir finding Farhan’s messages on her cell phone. Padukone dismisses them airly, “I’m hearing all this for the first time. When a couple decides to go their separate ways, only they know the reasons. These are personal issues and I’d like to keep them to myself.”
Even before their first film together, Bachna Ae Haseeno, released, Padukone and Kapoor grabbed headlines as Bollywood’s newest ‘it’ couple. And even after they broke up about a year ago, the two continued to be in the news.
Never mind that he was linked with other actresses like Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra. And she, with Farhan Akhtar and lately, with Vijay Mallya’s son, Siddharth.
Question Padukone about reports that Kapoor and she have apparently chalked up a list of dos and don’ts to give their relationship a second chance, and she snaps, “Ranbir and I are good friends. Period. If there’s something more, I will talk about it at the right time.”
On being asked if there’s more pressure on a relationship if the couple comes from the same high-profile profession, she asserts, “I know how to keep my professional and personal lives separate,” and adds, “It makes no difference if I’m seeing someone from the industry or outside it. At the end of the day, it’s the person who matters, not his profession.”
Housefull may not have done as well as expected but at least now, Akshay Kumar and you are no longer a jinxed pair.
Those who talk about jinx have nothing better to do. Akshay was affected by the commercial failure of Chandni Chowk to China. So was I, since we’d both worked very hard for the film. Fortunately, Housefull has done well. (Smiles) Akki has been saying he’s glad to have given the biggest hit of his career with me. That means a lot to me.
The critics didn’t rave about the movie…
(Cuts in) Sajid (director Sajid Khan) has been saying from the beginning that he made this film for the audience and not the critics. I’ve gone with his vision. The figures speak for themselves.
Why did you choose to share screen space with Lara Dutta and Jiah Khan when you should be concentrating on solo-heroine movies?
As an actor I’m very confident of my space and unaffected by those who surround me. Of course, I’m greedy for good roles but a subject like Housefull needed other characters. It wouldn’t be the film it is if there weren’t so many actors.
Your debut film, Om Shanti Om, was with Sajid Khan’s sister, Farah. Of the two, who’s the taskmaster?
Both know what the audience likes and have the sensibility of blending entertainment with emotion. Their films have catchy songs, good comedy, plenty of drama and a high gloss. But at the end of the day, they’re two different directors, with their individual sensibilities and approach. (Smiles) Farah is the tougher taskmaster but she brought out the best in me. Actually, so did Sajid. Comedy works best when it’s spontaneous.
You’ve experimented with diverse genres. What’s your forte?
I think I’m lucky not to be typecast in any one particular genre. OSO was commercial entertainer with both Indian and Western looks, Bachna Ae Haseeno was a romantic drama and Chandni Chowk To China was all action, Love Aaj Kal was a love story and Karthik Calling Karthik a psychological thriller. Housefull is a comedy and Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a period film.
You’re said to be doing plenty of action in Pradeep Sarkar’s Lafangey Parindey and Ashutosh Gowariker’s Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. Aren’t you worried about injuries?
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey is a period thriller about the Chittagong Uprising in the 1930s. My character, Kalpana Dutt, is not the kind of woman who will sit at home waiting for her husband to return. She’s a strong, independent woman who becomes a part of the revolution because she believes in the cause too. My athletic background comes into play when I have to do action. It’s nice to do your own stunts because of the challenge it offers. I take a lot of precautions and I’m a lot into fitness. At the same time, I’m very spontaneous and if I want to do something, I jump in. No body double for me.
In Break Ke Baad, Imran Khan was supposed to lift you. Apparently, he couldn’t. True?
Ha, ha, I’m sure that was just a joke. Imran may look lean but he’s strong. He kept teasing me for a week saying he would have to work out really hard to lift me for that scene. He lifted another actress too and fell down. Thank God that didn’t happen with me.
Are you hinting at Sonam Kapoor, with whom he’s working in I Hate Luv Storys?
(Chuckles) That’s for me to know and you to figure out.
We’re still figuring out if Yuvraj Singh and you have patched up. Have you?
You tell me since you got to know about it first. My answer is a NO!
Bonding with Lara Dutta
We got along really well during the shoot of Housefull. But we weren’t stuck to each other throughout. Whenever we got time off, not just Lara and me, but all of us would go out together. Movies, plays, dinners or simply for a drive, the team was always together.
I’ve enjoyed a great rapport with all my co-stars. Once in a while, if I like something about someone, I might send an SMS. But generally, a relationship with a co-star is limited to a film. When I get into my next film, I move on.
Rivalry with Asin
There’s no truth to the rumours that Salman (Khan) was keen on me for Ready but since I didn’t have the dates, Asin stepped in and now I’m peeved with her.
The truth is that I was never offered the film. So there’s no question of having any problem with Asin. She’s one of the simplest, most down-to-earth girls I’ve met in the industry.
Sendhil’s wish to work with her
I haven’t seen Sendhil’s (Ramamurthy) new film, It’s A Wonderful Afterlife yet but I’ve read that he wants to work with me. I met him briefly at a get-together. If a good project comes up, I’d love to work with him too. My friends are huge fans of Heroes.
Siddharth Mallya proposing to her
That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard. Siddharth has lived abroad all his life. Even though he’s Vijay Mallya’s son, he has never been exposed to the Indian media. He was quite scandalised by the way journalists were behaving during the recent IPL tournament and the stories they wrote about us. But I found it all hilarious!