A cheesy line of dialogue in the Diwali blockbuster Happy New Year proffering a rather simplistic piece of wisdom can be paraphrased thus: “There are two types of people in the world—winners and losers”. Few people these days can be tagged with a rare degree of sanguineness than the film’s leading lady, Deepika Padukone, and she is undeniably a winner. Her seemingly obvious triumph is unique for the surprising fact that a few years back she was a hair’s breadth away from being labelled a loser, headed for a plateau peopled by interchangeable B-town beauties.
Yet, look at Deepika today! The 28-year-old has racked up five money-spinners and a clutch of acting trophies in two years, with HNY opening to a staggering Rs 100-crore weekend. What’s more, the dimpled Deepika’s cartilage-defying moves and glib Marathi accent provide perk and passion to the testosterone-heavy film. Shahrukh Khan, her co-star in a trio of hits now (Om Shanti Om, Chennai Express and Happy New Year), reflects, “I think Deepika was always a star. We had shown the OSO song Aankhon mein teri to Amitji (Bachchan) and he had prophesied, ‘She will be a huge star!’” About his protegee’s remarkable trajectory, Shahrukh observes, “I have nothing to do with her success. She has earned it.... She has made great choices. Besides Cocktail and Finding Fanny, she has wisely chosen commercial films.”