An actress par excellence, Deepika Padukone has returned to the big screen to tell the hopeful story of an acid attack victim in Chhapaak. The 33-year-old shares that making the film was an emotionally draining experience, which even saw the resurgence of her own depression. “Ironically, it was the same time where we were showing her healing and her journey to recovery. It happens in stages — the first is the shock that it has happened, then coming to the fact that this is now a reality, and then the transition between acknowledging and accepting the reality that’s the toughest part. First, you are just recovering from a medical point of view, that was not as challenging as accepting the reality,” she elucidates, adding that this aspect took a toll on her. “The toll that it took on me emotionally, the actual emotional burden, was between action and cut. Because that’s when I was living through what Laxmi has been through,” Deepika adds.
The story of Chhapaak revolves around Laxmi Agarwal, an acid attack survivor who now speaks for the rights of other attack victims. Deepika shares that despite her harrowing past, Laxmi is making the most of her life. “There is no space for sympathy in her life. You go to meet her with all kinds of assumptions, but it’s so refreshing when you actually meet her. She is so free-spirited. We always assume they will be a certain way, but they broke every notion of it,” she smiles.
The actress further reveals that giving up her drop-dead gorgeous looks for this role was not even on her mind. “It’s something people around me are thinking about, of course, but it’s certainly not something I ever thought about throughout this film. I never have actually. In a film like Cocktail, where I was meant to look a certain way, I focused on looking not from a vanity point of view but because the character is that. In Chhapaak, the thoughts going on in my head were not from a vanity point of view but from a practical point of view; like how am I going to achieve this look? How are we going to show the scars? Etc.” the Padmavat actress explains.
But one thing Deepika enjoyed about doing Chhapaak was not dying in the climax. If one recalls, her characters in films like Ram Leela, Bajirao Mastani, and Padmavaat saw a harrowing death towards the climax. “This is a complaint that my mother and sister always had. When I so excitedly told them that I have signed this film, they were like, ‘Are you dying? If you are dying then we are not watching it.’ Even if I die, what about the whole story? I mean, I don’t sign stories to die, but it just happens to be part of the narrative,” she laughs.
On the personal front, Deepika is happily married to actor Ranveer Singh and finds that nothing has changed between them after their luxe wedding at Lake Como in Italy. “Even now if you see, we are not always talking about each other. I think nothing has changed in that sense other than the fact that we keep getting reminded of the fact that we are married. For us, it still feels like we are dating because, as people, we have not changed,” she muses, adding that her husband has been a good influence for her. “I have always been an expressive person as per my standards, but maybe in comparison to him, it feels like I may seem less expressive. I think we both have rubbed off on each other in a very positive way,” she smiles in conclusion.