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Interview: Deepika Padukone talks about ‘Finding Fanny’

Deepika-Padukone-Finding-Fanny first lookDeepika Padukone will be seen in UK cinemas again from 12th September 2014 in Homi Adajania’s Finding Fanny.

Finding Fanny is the story of five dysfunctional characters from Goa on a road trip to search for the long-lost love of Ferdie played by Naseeruddin Shah.

In this interview, the Om Shanti Om star talks to Bollywood reporter Sunny Malik about the film and much more.

You agreed to do Finding Fanny while you were filming for Cocktail in London. Did you ever have second thoughts afterwards as it’s a different kind of film?
No, never. I was narrated the film during Cocktail and by the end of the film, I decided that I want to be a part of Finding Fanny. Forget all my films last year that have released, as Cocktail had not even released when I said yes to Finding Fanny. The experience that I had with Dinesh Vijan (producer) and Homi Adajania (director) on Cocktail was amazing, which is why I didn’t have to think twice before saying yes to Finding Fanny. I knew that during the making of the film we will have a great time. For me that is the most important thing while making a film. I want to work with people I have a great equation with and have a good time working with. Everything else is secondary e.g. what people are going to think or what the result at the box office will be. I didn’t think of these things at all.

What attracted you to the film when you were narrated the story?
It was the script. It was so refreshing and different from anything else I have done or was offered at that time and most importantly, it stayed with me. The characters and story just stayed with me after the narration. If I may say so, I was so impressed with the script at that time and now after watching the film, it has turned out to be even better. People have watched the film a couple of days ago and we are still getting messages of how they loved the film and how the characters have stayed with them. That exactly is what the film is about. It is not a massive commercial film or a film that will change society. It’s just a simple and feel-good movie which brings warmth and a smile to your face.


Your first look was rather shocking as you were holding a butcher’s knife covered in blood…
Well, that is just another day in the life of my character Angie.

As Homi, the director, and Dinesh, the producer, are very good friends of yours, does it ever get awkward when you have creative differences during the making of a film?
Not at all. I am very comfortable with them. All the movies I have done with the two whether it was Love Aaj Kal, Cocktail or now Finding Fanny, we have all come together in a productive manner. I think because we are friends, we are comfortable with each other and we discuss everything. If someone is unhappy or has something to say, we always discuss it. It’s not necessary that we act upon it but we definitely discuss it. I think, the three of us collaborate and come together really well.

 

How was your experience working with Dimple Kapadia this time again?
For me she become a personal favourite now, not just as a co-star but as a person. She is someone I have got along very, very well. She took me out shopping and treats me like a daughter. I was moving to my new house and was looking for things for the new place. I remember she had a day off and she told me that she was going to go and look for some things as I had told her how the place was going to look like. She picked up cushion covers, carpets, candles and photo frames for me. She told me that she will call me at ten o’clock in the morning and take me shopping when I have day off. She had the whole day planned out. And sure enough, she called me at ten o’clock in the morning when I had a free day and said that she is ready and we should go. I quickly got ready, we hopped into a car and went shopping. She didn’t even allow me to pay for anything. She took me out for lunch and told me how she was extremely fond of me. I remember we came back at six or seven in the evening. I will never forget that. Even today, people ask me about her because of this new film. In one of my interviews, I praised her and I meant it. She was so touched that she sent me a bag of goodies the next day. My equation with her really goes beyond films. She is someone I connect with at an emotional level.

The duration of the film is quite short for Indian movies. Do you feel that is a plus point?
I have always believed that you have to enjoy a movie for what it is. There are filmmakers that make movies which are three hours long and then there are filmmakers that make films which are one or two hours long. I don’t think the duration of a movie matters at all. It should have no bearing of what the audience feels eventually. As long as you feel that you have enjoyed the movie and connected with the characters, that is all that matters. Suddenly there is too much focus on numbers like box office or duration. These are all silly external factors. If we manage to bring out a smile to your face at the end of the movie, that is a sign of a good film for me.

Finding Fanny

The film is being released in UK cinemas by 20th Century Fox. Do you think this being an English language film, it can reach a wider audience?
Yes, most definitely and hopefully it will. It is nice to know that a big studio like Fox is a part of a film like Finding Fanny. I do hope that it reaches a lot more people. The idea of films in general is to make them available and accessible to as many people as possible. I don’t think language should ever be a barrier. I can say that the reach our films have had in the last couple of years is phenomenal. I was shooting in Corsica (island near France) and I had fans over there. They were not of Indian origin. They were people who were born and brought up there or in France. They have seen Om Shanti Om over and over again. I can’t tell you exactly what, but it was such an overwhelming feeling.

 

Finding Fanny stars Deepika Padukone. Arjun Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Pankaj Kapur and Naseeruddin Shah. The film is directed by Homi Adajania and releases on 12th September 2014 in UK cinemas through 20th Century Fox. 

Interview: “The UK is like home to me” – Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani Deepika Padukone is on a high after the success of Race 2 and has her hands full with projects opposite the likes of Ranbir Kapoor, Shah Rukh Khan, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor.

Her latest release is Karan Johar’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani also starring her ex-beau Ranbir Kapoor. After playing the sultry Aleena in Race 2, Padukone will now be seen as Naina Talwar in Ayan Mukherji’s second directorial venture, out in UK cinemas this Friday.

Naina Talwar is a simple, good-natured and extremely focused girl. Frustrated by the restrictions she needs to put on herself to achieve her dreams of being a doctor; she impulsively decides to go on a trekking trip to Manali to give herself a break.

Through the film, Naina transforms from the restricted claustrophobic person she thought she was to a free-spirited woman with a newfound love for herself and comfort within her choices. She is strong and dependable and stands firmly for rooted family values.

In a chat with Bollywood Reporter Sunny Malik, the actress talks about Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and much more…

 

Deepika Padukone in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani - UK Release (1)There was a lot of speculation as to why you cancelled your London trip to promote Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Would you like to clarify?
Ok. So what happened is that I was filming (for Chennai Express) in Munnar. It’s a hill station in the south of India near Kerala. I was supposed to finish that schedule and come back to Mumbai on the same night and then leave for London. But it rained and we had three days of non-stop rain where we were shooting. Our schedule was delayed by three days and I could’t leave a unit of two hundred fifty people waiting there. I had to sacrifice the London bit of the promotions to finish my commitment.

Do you feel it has been really difficult for you to manage everything because you are working on several projects simultaneously?
Honestly, now that that phase is over, I can definitely say that it was very, very difficult. But more importantly, more than physically, it was more mentally and emotionally draining for me. I am glad that the particular phase is over now, more or less as Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is up for release and I have also wrapped up Chennai Express (also starring Shah Rukh Khan) which will release on 8th August. The only thing I am focusing on right now is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela.

You have always said that you wanted to work in a Dharma Productions film. What was your reaction when Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, produced by Karan Johar, was offered to you?
I was absolutely over the moon. I remember it started when Ayan Mukherji, the director, called me one night and said that he wants to take me out for dinner. We went out for dinner, just the two of us. I had been hearing from people that he was considering casting me but unless you actually hear from your director, you can never really believe these things. We discussed this project over dinner. He said that he was writing this film and was writing it with me in mind. He said that his ideal cast would be Ranbir and I and I was more than happy. I was sold. I told him that I will do this film for you. That’s the amount of faith I have in him as a director. I have known him from the time he was doing Wake Up Sid, actually even before that, when he was narrating the film to Ranbir. I have known him very closely throughout that entire process. I had decided back then itself that I would like to work with him if he ever offered me a movie. The script came to me much later. Of course, he gave me a one line of what Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani will be about. There was no bound script at that time.

 

Deepika Padukone in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani - UK Release (4)Ranbir said that he wasn’t aware that the character was written keeping you in mind. There was also a lot of speculation that other actresses were being considered for the film. Was that amusing?
Of course it is amusing. But you know where you stand for a particular project. You know whether you have been approached or not. You know the other names that are floating around. So of course, one finds it amusing but at the end of the day, you have to have faith in yourself and in your director. I mean, it makes for good speculation in the news but at the end, the film belongs to the person who eventually does it.

Do you agree with Ranbir’s statement that it’s easy to hide behind characters and difficult to portray a more real person in films?
I know that he has been saying this in his interviews. For me that was a surprise because I prefer doing roles that I identify with. I feel that it’s a very, very interesting observation but even though he says that he finds it difficult, I really enjoy doing these roles. For me, Naina Talwar is me. I was the reference point. I did not have to research. I did not have to observe anyone else. I just had to be me.

 

Is it not scary that people may find out more about the real Deepika Padukone through such a role?
I don’t know if it’s a scary thing or not. In that sense, you have to trust your director. You have to believe that he will present you in the best manner possible. But no, not at all as I am very comfortable with the person I am. Of course, I have my flaws and insecurities but I was more than happy to use myself as a reference point for this character.

Deepika Padukone in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani - UK Release (3)The film is also shown from your side of the story. I think the story is narrated through a diary your character wrote. Can you tell us more about that?
I don’t really want to get into how the story plays out and reveal more about the screenplay but the film is not just about the love story between me and Ranbir. It is about these four friends, how they meet, separate and meet again. It’s also about your relationship with your parents.

 

The film also looks very commercial and razzmatazz which is very different from what Ayan Mukherji has done before. Were you concerned or surprised?
I wasn’t concerned at all. As far as the film goes, even though it looks very commercial it is very real and the scenes are pretty much in the same space how Ayan had directed Wake Up Sid. The only thing that took me by surprise were the songs. I couldn’t believe that Ayan wanted to use such commercial songs in his movie. I had expected the songs to be slightly different a little bit like Wake Up Sid’s music. The trailer has been cut in a certain way where the film may seem very commercial and glittery with a lot of dance and music. But the film as a whole is very different from that.


Eros International is also releasing the film in new territories like Russia and Israel. Your film, Cocktail, restarted the trend of Hindi movies in Russia. How does that feel?

It feels really special. I never thought that my movie would restart the trend of Hindi movies in Russia. When I think about Hindi films in Russia, I think about Rajnikanth or Raj Kapoor movies. It feels great that Cocktail started the trend again and now Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani will release there too. I hope they show the film the same love.

 

Deepika Padukone in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani - UK Release (2)As the film is being released in new territories, do you feel that Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is a film that will be appreciated by non-Hindi speaking audiences in the west and has the possibility of “crossing over”?
See, I don’t like terming films as commercial, art films or films that can cross over. I feel that if a film is well made, it will be appreciated. I also feel that Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is a universal film. I don’t feel that Hindi movies are just for a Hindi speaking audience. Our films are today reaching a wider audience because they are relatable and are being liked by people not understanding the language we speak in our films.

 

What are your expectations from the UK audience for Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani as your films have done better here than Ranbir Kapoor’s films?
(Laughs) I’m grateful that my films have done well in the UK. The UK is like home to me and I miss being there. I started my journey right in Leicester Square, London at the premiere of Om Shanti Om. Then I have shot for films like Love Aaj Kal, Housefull, Desi Boyz and Cocktail in London and in the UK. It’s a special place for me and it will always remain so. I hope the audience in the UK enjoys the movie and show the same love to the film as they have to some of my other films.

Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani is released in UK cinemas on 31st May 2013.