Raksha Bandhan actor Deepika Khanna: ‘Strangers tell me to lose weight’ | Bollywood - Hindustan Times
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Raksha Bandhan's Deepika Khanna on 'double decker' line: 'Autowalas, strangers tell me to lose weight'

Aug 27, 2022 08:08 AM IST

Actor Deepika Khanna who made her film debut with Akshay Kumar's latest outing Raksha Bandhan, opened up about working with Akshay and Bhumi Pednekar and more with Hindustan Times exclusively.

Actor Deepika Khanna took seven years to finally make her film debut with Akshay Kumar's film Raksha Bandhan. Born and raised in Mumbai, she appeared in several commercials, serials and shows and is paving the path for young actors. Talking about it with Hindustan Times, she said, “I am not someone who gets a lot of options to choose from. The kind of work or script I get is very limited.”

Deepika Khanna with Akshay Kumar during Raksha Bandhan promotions.
Deepika Khanna with Akshay Kumar during Raksha Bandhan promotions.

Bollywood boasts of being a boiling pot of talent across the country. So how relevant is the debate on beauty standards in the industry in the 21st Century? Deepika says, “It’s not about what people think about it. Honestly, it is more about what the script wants. Now things have changed a bit, I am getting very interesting roles. I come from a genre where either you are cast as bubbly or the victim. I am not a trained actor. I have made mistakes and learnt from them, hence I think 7 years is justified. I feel it has been a great journey.”

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Deepika suffers from Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD) which made her put on an extra 10 kg. Describing her experience in the film business, she said, “The industry for plus size actors is opening. It’s welcoming people from different places, colour and all kinds of bodies. I like that kind of acceptance.” Also read: Smrithi Srikanth refutes claims that Raksha Bandhan promotions were fake

While Deepika was conscious of herself and felt intimidated by other actors two years ago, now she has turned her weight into her USP. “I actually asked Bhumi (Pednekar) about her thoughts on body weight, and she said ‘listen it’s totally up to you, what you want to be. If you don’t want to lose weight, don’t. if you want to, go for it’. Once you start working on films, you might want to lose weight and that’s also fine. She told me to just be the way I want to be. She was like ‘chill! Bus khush raho’. That’s the best thing I heard.”

Deepika’s co-star Akshay Kumar is known to be a fitness freak with a strict lifestyle. The actor gained almost 5 kg to play the role of Lala Kedarnath in the movie, who runs a chat stall in Delhi. So, did he give any fitness pointers to Deepika? “See I have come across people, from autowala to random strangers, coming to me and saying ‘aap na thora weight lose karo’. I have met trainers who told me ‘you should definitely get in shape.' His (Akshay’s) idea has been different. He respects me and told me to do whatever I feel is right. He told me to not be unhealthy. He said ‘if you feel happy in your body then don’t ever change.’”

Also read: RakshaBandhan review: Akshay Kumar film moves you to tears with strong message on dowry, entertains with clean humour

Further describing Akshay as a co-star, Deepika continued, “I have picked up so many small things from him. As a person, he is my buddy, I miss him now. He is a darling. Throughout the journey, he made sure we were comfortable and actually did not rest.”

Akshay follows an eight-hour work policy and claims to be on his toes throughout the work hours. Deepika confirmed, “It’s absolutely true. You will always see him on the sets. Even in between takes, he would have meetings and not catch a break. If not anything, he keeps prepping for the scene. Or, you will see him talking to others and helping them. He keeps laughing every time and finds it very healthy.”

The film featured Deepika’s character Durga being referred to as ‘double decker’ which raised eyebrows. She shared her take, “Personally I will not like someone calling me that. But we tried to show what really happens. The movie can’t go on showing everything right because this is about reality. Everything my character has gone through it, I can relate to. But nothing matters to me, just like her. Everybody has a perspective so people will judge. I played it, enjoyed it and understood the concept. I think you should take only the good part from films. If my character has been called double-decker then people should learn that unko nahi bolna chaiye (they should not say it).”

“I don’t come from a background where anyone says ‘acha ab shadi karne ki umar ho gayi hai (she's of marriagable age).’ When it comes to losing weight, I have promised myself that I will not lose weight till the time I reach a certain level. I want to prove that I can be a part of something without being changed. I want to influence others,” she signed off.

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