It’s hard to believe that someone like Deepika Padukone entered the industry a decade and a half ago, but here we are. 16 years later, the superstar has cemented her name as one of, if not the most successful female Bollywood star in the industry.
After all, while people rightly praise Shah Rukh Khan for his epic triumph of INR2000 crore in 2023 alone, we cannot forget that Deepika has a monumental role to play and bask in the glory of this success.
As we celebrate 16 beautiful years of the star, let’s take a look at some of the roles she’s slayed with zero hesitation:
Om Shanti Om (2007)
Although this is not her first appearance in her filmography, it is the film that brought her to the limelight. Farah Khan knew what she was doing when she cast the coy, shy, wide-eyed Deepika with THE Shah Rukh Khan. It is true that Om Shandi Om it was a comfortable, coveted thrust point for Deepika. But she held her own in the film and, in a world that wanted nothing more than to see Shah Rukh and Kajol together, Deepika carved out a niche for her pairing with the global superstar.
Love Aaj Kal (2009)
Perhaps one of her most underrated performances, Deepika stunned as Meera in this offering. An Imtiaz Ali love story excels in that sweet gray area between realism and mysticism, and being a part of such a film, Deepika got to showcase various facets of her acting skills. Through Meera, we fell in love with Deepika’s simplicity and her ability to write a beautifully flawed character.
Considered by many to be her breakthrough performance, Deepika had people doing a double take as she took on the role of the eccentric, chaotic Veronica. Playing the role to perfection and giving voice to the many Veronicas out there, this is easily one of Deepika’s strongest roles. And, if Ranveer Singh is to be believed Coffee with Karan appearance, it may just have been the role that ignited the flames of romance between her and her husband.
Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013)
Scholar Naina will forever remain in our hearts. Whether she is busy with her books, fixing her glasses or taking them out in a makeover sequence where she transforms into the ‘hot girl’, Naina is a character that has stayed close to the hearts of the audience. Moreover, she Badtameez Dil The saree has changed the game when it comes to making a fashion statement. Long live the learned Naina.
Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013)
Oh yes. The movie that started it all. What happens when two ridiculously good looking people meet on screen while also newly discovering their love for each other off screen? An explosion of intense chemistry was this Sanjay Leela Bhansali offering. Deepika, as Leela, was bold with nerves of steel and incredibly sensual. One simply cannot leave this ode out Romeo and Juliet while listing her achievements.
An actor’s versatility is best demonstrated when the mask comes off. Giving a raw, vulnerable performance that speaks to the human side is hard, hard work. However, Deepika managed to pull off the same with immense grace just like the title of the offer. Playing the everyday girl-next-door, Deepika proved that she could shoulder such a narrative with absolute giants like Amitabh Bachchan and Irrfan Khan, leaving behind an unforgettable vital imprint on the path that her work blazes.
Bajirao Mastani (2015)
Mastani was a character riddled with dichotomies. She was tender as a lover but fierce as a warrior. She recognized her position as second wife, but knew that her right was parallel to that of Bajirao’s first wife. She loved endlessly and had a whole dance sequence where she was the whirling dervish performing her craft in front of her sun. The love shared by Bajirao and Mastani bordered on madness, and for Deepika to say that to perfection was, at this point in her career, an expected and welcome move.
Rubai set the world on fire with Besharam Rang. This song alone had a performance that people couldn’t stop talking about. However, the role itself was challenging, showing Deepika in a different light. He took over the action sequences and was literally the only thing anyone could see as he fought the villain’s henchmen. Even at her most aggressive, Deepika was poetry in motion.
It would be unfair not to include Deepika’s emotionally devastating performance in this offering. Without giving too much away, the star ends up being the very backbone of the film and her performance is moving, impressive, fierce and endlessly brave.
All in all, the superstar deserves every ounce of the fame she’s garnered and the praise she’s been receiving. Here’s to many more years of continued growth and development for Deepika.
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