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Nothing can stop release of ‘Padmavati’, says Deepika Padukone : Interview

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deepika padukone, Photo Source Twitter

New Delhi, Nov 14: A decade ago when she forayed into Bollywood, Deepika Padukone never imagined she would be a Sanjay Leela Bhansali heroine.

Now, as she prepares for the release of epic drama “Padmavati”, which clocks her trilogy with the filmmaker, the actress is confident the movie will tide over the controversy, hit the screens and win a “bigger battle” for the industry.

“As a woman, I feel proud to be a part of this film, and to tell this story, which needs to be told. And it needs to be told now,” Deepika, who plays the title role in “Padmavati” — Bhansali’s professed tribute to the sacrifice, valour and honour of Rajput queen Rani Padmavati — told IANS over phone from Mumbai.

Doubts on the extent to which the National Award winning filmmaker has fictionalised the story, has led to a spiralling controversy with politicians, organisations and individuals raising a finger at Bhansali for “distorting history” and demanding that the release of “Padmavati” be stalled. Deepika is convinced the movie will release, as scheduled, on December 1.

“It’s appalling, it’s absolutely appalling. What have we gotten ourselves into? And where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed,” she said, commenting on the hullabaloo the movie is causing pre-release.

“The only people we are answerable to is the censor board, and I know and I believe that nothing can stop the release of this film,” said Deepika, adding that the film industry’s support symbolises how “this is not about ‘Padmavati’… We’re fighting a much bigger battle”.

“Padmavati” marks the third film that Deepika has worked in under Bhansali’s direction after romantic crime drama “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela” and historical drama “Bajirao Mastani” — all of which, she says, gave her roles “so similar, yet so different”.

“They are very independent individuals and very strong characters,” Deepika said, her voice exuding pride that in “Padmavati”, while there are two men — Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh — she essays the title role, which “does not happen often in a woman’s career”.

“I celebrate that,” she said.

Interestingly, November has marked not just Deepika’s 10 years in the film industry — her debut film “Om Shanti Om” was released on November 9 — but also November 15 is when “… Ram-Leela” hit the screens four years ago.

“When I debuted, ‘Saawariya’ (directed by Bhansali) and ‘Om Shanti Om’ had released on the same day. I remember back then, there was this whole thing about the films clashing, this debut versus that debut. But I was so naive and so new that none of that made any sense to me at that point. The only thought I remember thinking to myself then was, ‘Oh! How come he didn’t cast me in his movie?’

“I didn’t ever think that I could be a Bhansali heroine,” said the daughter of badminton icon Prakash Padukone.

She describes the “evolution” as “phenomenal”.

“From never having been to a film set before and to not knowing how to deliver dialogues to today enjoying the craft so much where I am the most peaceful and happiest when I am in front of the camera… I think that’s the evolution. And then along the way you meet a Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who adds so much meaning to me not just as an actor and performer, but also as a human being,” the actor said.

“Ten years ago, thinking that I don’t fit the mould of being a Bhansali heroine, and today working in three films with him back-to-back… It’s been a pretty incredible journey,” said Deepika, who says she senses a soul, heart and mind connect with the director.

“We just understand each other by just looking at each other… I think you can only get to that stage when you reach a different sort of, almost a spiritual level of creativity, where you’re not afraid to take risks or failure. Everything you want to do is coming with a pure heart and a pure intention.”

So, can one expect them to collaborate yet again?

“Well, you never know. As of now, we are all focussed on ‘Padmavati’. And I would love to, although at this point, I also need to heal emotionally, mentally and physically from this experience. I think he and I both need to heal from this experience before we collaborate again,” she said.

IANS

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Bollywood mourns ‘brilliant, beautiful’ Sridevi’s demise

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Mumbai, Feb 25: Ageless beauty, vibrant, beautiful, brilliant and iconic — the Indian film fraternity outpoured its love for Sridevi as the news of her sudden and untimely death of the veteran actress left the country shocked.

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Hours before the news of Sridevi’s death surfaced, megastar Amitabh Bachchan tweeted: “Na jaane kyun, ajeeb si ghabrahat ho rahi hai (I don’t know why I am feeling uneasy.”

From southern movie stars Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, veterans like Anupam Kher, Hema Malini and Madhuri Dixit-Nene and younger celebrities like Farhan Akhtar and Alia Bhatt — celebrities were in disbelief of Sridevi’s demise at the age of 54.

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“I’m shocked and very disturbed. I’ve lost a dear friend and the industry has lost a true legend. My heart goes out to her family and friends. I feel the pain with them. Sridevi, you will be missed,” tweeted Rajinikanth, who featured with her in the memorable “ChaalBaaz”.

Kamal Haasan, her co-star from “Sadma” — one of her most evocative performances — said: “Have witnessed Sridevi’s life from an adolescent teenager to the magnificent lady she became. Her stardom was well deserved. Many happy moments with her flash through my mind including the last time I met her. Sadma’s lullaby haunts me now. We’ll miss her.”

Actress-politician Hema Malini wrote: “Sridevi’s sudden passing away has left me in deep shock. Can’t imagine how such a bubbly person, a wonderful actor, is no more. She has left a void in the industry that cannot be filled. Boney is a good friend and I’ve seen their daughters grow up. My prayers are with the family.”

Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli wrote: “The first Lady Superstar of the Country. Fifty of those 54 years as an actress par excellence. What a journey…and such an unexpected end. May your soul rest in peace.”

Before her entry into Bollywood, the actor had been a known face in South Indian films. She made her debut as a child artiste in Tamil film “Thunaivan” in 1969. She also worked in Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada films.

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Sridevi was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour, in 2013.

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Actor Anupam Kher, who worked with Sridevi in a multitude of films like “Lamhe”, “ChaalBaaz” and “Karma”, said: “Am I having a horrible dream. Sridevi no more? This is so so sad. And so so not fair. One of the most brilliant, elegant and talented actresses ever. The queen of Indian cinema. And a friend. Worked with her in so many movies. So many amazing memories.”

He said he wants to remember her as “happening, vibrant, brilliant, beautiful, bestest and unique”.

Sridevi was in Dubai with husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi when she breathed her last. Her elder daughter Jahnvi, who is due to make her Bollywood debut, was in Mumbai.

Sridevi and the rest of the family was in Dubai to attend a family wedding, and she exuded elegance in her appearances — photos and videos that are now being shared on social media as her “last”.

Author Chetan Bhagat wrote: “She never seemed to age, and now she is suddenly gone. We grew up watching her, and she was still going strong. Can’t believe she’s not there anymore. God bless her soul.”

Actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar recounted his time with Sridevi from “Lamhe”.

“My first job in 1990 was on ‘Lamhe’ and this song ‘Megha re megha’ was the very first time I saw this legendary actor create her incredible magic on screen. From ‘Sadma’ to ‘ChalBaaz’, from ‘Mr.India’ to ‘Chandni’, it was impossible to take your eyes off her when she appeared on screen.

“A true star. A gifted actor. A woman with tremendous dignity. Gone too soon. RIP Sridevi. Sad sad day.”

Her “Chandni” co-star Rishi Kapoor wrote: “Woken up to this tragic news. Absolute shock. Sad. Heartfelt condolences to Boney and their two daughters!”

Madhuri Dixit-Nene said, “The world has lost a very talented person who left behind a huge legacy in films”.

Akshay Kumar tweeted: “Shocked beyond words to hear about the sad and untimely demise of #Sridevi. A dream for many, had the good fortune of sharing screen space with her long ago and witnessed her continued grace over the years. Thoughts and prayers with the family. RIP.”

Actor R. Madhavan described her as a legend of Indian cinema.

“Our industry will never be the same again. She was the kindest soul apart from being a Giant performer. The heavens are lucky.”

Actress Alia Bhatt tweeted: “Nothing makes sense. I have no words… just completely shocked. RIP Sridevi. My icon forever. Love you.”

Composer Vishal Dadlani wrote: “Srideviji was a megastar in her own right. She put the early cracks in the glass ceiling and paved the way for female megastars that came after her. Her reinvention and comeback has been brilliant too. We lost more than a star, today. We lost a pioneer.”

Actor Vivek Oberoi described her as a “legend, an enigma, a superstar whose brilliance dazzled us for decades”.

“Srideviji, you will live forever in our hearts,” he added.

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India stunned by Sridevi’s death, body expected to reach Mumbai this evening

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Mumbai, Feb 25: Veteran actress Sridevi, 54, passed away in Dubai, plunging the entire country into a pall of gloom as her fans and admirers expressed shock and disbelief.

The actress breathed her last on Saturday night at around 11 p.m. She was rushed to the nearby Rashid Hospital but pronounced dead on admission.

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Her body is expected to be flown to Mumbai via a special chartered flight on Sunday evening for the last rites but the timings were not confirmed yet, according to official sources.

Sridevi was in Dubai to attend the marriage function of actress Sonam Kapoor’s cousin Mohit Marwah, along with husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi.

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She exuded elegance in her appearances — photos and videos that were now being shared on social media as her “last”.

Confirming the news of her death, Sridevi’s brother-in-law and actor Sanjay Kapoor, told IANS: “Yes, it is true.”

The Indian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Indian Consulate in Dubai were assisting the family to expedite the process to bringing her body to India as soon as possible.

The actress is remembered for her performance is some of the iconic Bollywood films like “Mr. India”, “Nagina”, “Sadma”, “ChalBaaz”, “Chandni”, “Khuda Gawah”, among many others in different Indian languages.

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The Padma Shri recipient, who made a comeback to Bollywood in 2012 with “English Vinglish” after a long break of 15 years, was last seen in “Mom” in 2017.

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Apparently having a premonition, Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi’s co-star in half a dozen films, including “Khuda Gawah” had tweeted at 1.15 am on Sunday: “I don’t know, but I feel a strange sense of unease.”

The untimely death of the veteran actress has left the country shocked. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi mourned her demise.

“Shocked to hear of passing of movie star Sridevi. She has left millions of fans heartbroken,” Kovind tweeted.

Modi also took to Twitter, saying: “Saddened by the untimely demise of noted actor Sridevi. She was a veteran of the film industry, whose long career included diverse roles and memorable performances.”

Southern movie stars and politicians Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan also expressed disbelief.

“I’m shocked and very disturbed. I’ve lost a dear friend and the industry has lost a true legend. My heart goes out to her family and friends. I feel the pain with them. Sridevi, you will be missed,” tweeted Rajinikanth, who featured with her in the memorable “ChaalBaaz”.

Kamal Haasan, her co-star from “Sadma” — one of her most evocative performances — said: “Have witnessed Sridevi’s life from an adolescent teenager to the magnificent lady she became. Her stardom was well deserved. Many happy moments with her flash through my mind including the last time I met her. Sadma’s lullaby haunts me now. We’ll miss her.”

Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who has sung for Sridevi in 20 films including “Chaand Kaa Tukdaa”, “Khuda Gawah”, “Lamhe”, “Chandni”, “Nazrana” and “Himmatwala”, had no words to express her shock.

“Yakeen nahi ho raha ki itni choti umar mein Sridevi chali gayi. Kya kahun kuch samajh mein nahi aa raha hai. Boney Kapoor aur unki do betiyon ke dukh mein main shamil hun. (I can’t believe that Sridevi died so early, she was too young. I don’t know what to say. Condolences to Boney Kapoor and the daughters),” she tweeted.

Her “Mom” co-star Nawazuddin Siddiqui wrote: “It’s a heartbreaking news, can’t even imagine in the worst of my dreams – World losses the best performer.”

Superstar Aamir Khan was “saddened by the untimely and tragic passing away of Srideviji”. He said he has “always been an admirer of the grace and dignity with which she conducted herself”.

While veteran filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt was “jolted” by the news of her sudden death, Sunny Deol, who has worked with her in films like “Sultanat”, “ChaalBaaz” and “Ram-Avtar”, said he is “going to miss her”.

Showbiz queen Ekta Kapoor tweeted: “The strongest women have the weakest hearts sometimes.”

Filmmaker Shekhar Kapur said “with Sridevi gone an era is over”.

“Like life turning a new chapter. A beautiful story just ended. An amazing spirit just vanished leaving us with amazing love, memories, and incredible grief,” he tweeted.

Nimrat Kaur tweeted: “Absolutely devastated to hear about the passing of #Sridevi. What a dark black terrible moment in time. Gutted.”

“I just heard Ma’am Sridevi passed away due to a massive cardiac arrest. I am in shock…can’t stop crying…” Sushmita Sen tweeted.

Priyanka Chopra said: “I have no words. Condolences to everyone who loved #Sridevi . A dark day. RIP.”

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Sridevi had no history of heart disease: Sanjay Kapoor

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Dubai, Feb 25: Sridevi’s brother-in-law and actor Sanjay Kapoor has said the whole family was in shock with the sudden demise of the veteran actress. He also said that she had no history of heart ailment.

The actress, 54, died on Saturday night at around 11 p.m. after suffering a cardiac arrest.

In an interview to Khaleej Times, Sanjay said that she was in the hotel room here when it happened.

“We are completely shocked. She had no history of a heart attack,” he said.

Sanjay landed in Dubai on Sunday morning.

Sridevi was in Dubai to attend the marriage function of actress Sonam Kapoor’s cousin Mohit Marwah, along with husband Boney Kapoor and younger daughter Khushi. She exuded elegance in her appearances — photos and videos that were now being shared on social media as her “last”.

Her elder daughter Jahnvi, who is due to make her Bollywood debut, was in Mumbai.

Her body is expected to be flown to Mumbai via a special chartered flight on Sunday evening for the last rites but the timings were not confirmed yet, according to official sources.

Sridevi, who stepped into showbiz at an age of four, is known for performances in “Mr. India”, “Nagina”, “Sadma”, “ChalBaaz”, “Chandni”, “Khuda Gawah”, among many others in different Indian languages.

The Padma Shri recipient made a comeback to Bollywood in 2012 with “English Vinglish” after a long break of 15 years. She was last seen in “Mom” in 2017.

IANS

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