Patcy N in Mumbai
Deepika Padukone gets together with Saif Ali Khan on screen once again with Cocktail, this time, joined by actress Diana Penty.
The promos looks good, and the songs are a hit already.
Will the film be as much fun to watch?
Deepika chats with Patcy N about Cocktail, and also discusses former beau Ranbir Kapoor and Rajinikanth.
Why did the Cocktail promotions start so late?
I don't know. Every producer has a different way of promoting his film. As an actor, I am here when they want me to promote the film.
Saif and I are doing so many films together. We were both working on Race 2 and we were shooting in Turkey. We came back only a couple of days ago and are doing everything we can.
'Saif and I bring in the chemistry on screen'
The chemistry between you two in Love Aaj Kal was much appreciated, and you look good together in this film too.
I guess we bring in the chemistry that is expected from us. When we set out to do Love Aaj Kal, we did not plan to have this chemistry and did not think that people are going to like us together on the screen. It just happened.
It is something that you need in this film too. We did not plan to work in so many films together but I guess sometimes some things just fall into place.
What is Cocktail about?
It is about three different journeys, and three different characters. Mira, Gautam and Veronica are three different people. Their backgrounds are completely different. The film shows how completely different people can also become really best friends.
When friendship turns into love, there is this cocktail of a journey, emotions, friendship and love.
'It was very easy to play Veronica'
You were offered both roles -- Mira and Veronica -- but you chose to play Veronica. Why?
I felt that Mira, in some ways, was very similar to the Mira that I played in Love Aaj Kal. While it would be easy for me to slip back into the same role, I thought I was ready to take a risk and I was ready to take on a role that was slightly more exciting and more challenging.
Even Dinesh (Vijan, co-producer of the film) was confused because he knew I could do Mira and Veronica. So he gave me the script to read. I was confused too. I was tempted to do Mira but I felt that Veronica will be a lot more challenging.
I spoke to Imtiaz (Ali, scriptwriter) and said I'd like to play a double role. But Imtiaz wanted me to play Veronica.
What was so challenging about playing Veronica?
Veronica had to have a lot more confidence and a more carefree attitude that you can see in the promos as well. She had to come across very naturally on screen; it can't look planned or rehearsed.
It was very easy to play Veronica. It was also an over-the-top character so I couldn't just perform it, I had to make it look real.
'I'm like Mira in real life'
Who are you closer to in real life, Mira or Veronica?
Personally, I am like Mira. To play Veronica, I moved out of my comfort zone.
Is your character of Mira from Love Aaj Kal an extension of Veronica in Cocktail?
Veronica is different from Mira of Love Aaj Kal and that's why I chose to play Veronica.
In Love Aaj Kal, Mira was a very sensible girl. She didn't speak much but when she spoke, she spoke a lot of sense. Jai (Saif Ali Khan) was trying to find himself and it was Mira who brought stability to his life.
Veronica in Cocktail is unstable. She has grown up in an unstable environment -- she comes from a broken family. She loves partying and going out and being surrounded by friends because that keeps her mind occupied.
At the same time, she is a very loving girl as she lacks love in her own life and she finds that in Gautam (played by Saif Ali Khan) and Mira (played by Diana Penty).
'Cocktail is a special film for me'
So what were the preparations that you had to undergo for Veronica?
Homi (Adajania, the director) and I did a lot of reading. We read my scenes many times. We also rehearsed how she will speak the lines and her body language. We worked a lot on these elements.
But what is more important is what he said in between the lines. In one of the interviews Homi said that after working with me for one or two days he had to stop directing me because I completely understood the character. For me that is a huge compliment.
In hindsight, it's true I very rarely had to ask him what to do. That probably means that subconsciously, without even realising it, I had slipped into the character.
When you play a certain character, do you keep something of that character even after the filming is over?
The emotional journey that Veronica goes through is something that I took very long to detach from.
Every actor gets certain films or certain roles that they like. All your films are very special to you, all the films I do are my choice.
But there are always a few films that are a little more special and Cocktail for me is definitely one of them.
I got so attached to playing and being Veronica that after the shooting was over, detaching Deepika from Veronica became difficult.
'The kind of roles being written today are so relatable'
There is a dialogue in the film where Diana Penty tells you 'You are not wearing your pants'. When you read it in the script, did you freak out?
No, absolutely not. I was like wow! this is so cool; it is amazing that in Hindi cinema this kind of role is written where women are so much more liberated and portrayed the way they actually are.
The kind of work that I am doing and the kind of roles that are being written are so relatable. Such women exist in society today. Veronica is a girl who will not think twice before saying anything. A lot of us think like this but hesitate to say it.
Does that make her more endearing?
That's what drove me to Veronica. There is always a side to us where there is this battle between the person we want to be and the person that society expects us to be.
We are always worried about what people will think about us. Veronica is not that type. She will say what she wants to, she will behave the way she likes.
That might come across as brash initially, but over the course of time you find her lovable. She is lovable because she is what you see.
'I am not offered roles where the girl is mere decoration'
Homi, in his interview, said that you recommended his name for the film.
I did not recommend Homi's name, though it's very kind of him to say that.
Imtiaz Ali has written the script and he was clear that he wouldn't direct it. A couple of names came up and everbody felt, including me, that Homi should direct the film.
Imtiaz has a very desi style whereas Homi has an urban style but desi heart.
Indian cinema is changing. Actresses are shown using cuss words. Are you open to playing such roles?
It is not bad-mouthing, it is about making a character a lot more relatable rather than aspirational.
Earlier, roles were written that were aspirational; today audiences go to the theatre and say I am actually like Veronica, Mira or Gautam.
I am not offered roles where the girl is mere decoration, but where she adds substance and value to it.
'I know how to be competitive in the right spirit and be nice to someone'
In the film your character is rather 'forward'. Do you think this will work for single-theatre audiences?
The way I look at it, it is a love story, which works in any language and any strata of society. I believe love is a universal language and if it touches that chord of human emotion, I believe that everyone will relate to the movie.
Do you think two actresses can be friends?
Absolutely. There was a time when actresses were very competitive. I am not saying actress today are not -- I am extremely competitive -- but that doesn't mean that I can't be friends with someone, or I can't be cordial and nice to someone.
I was an athlete so I know how to be competitive in the right spirit and be nice to someone.
I have seen my father do that. He is extremely aggressive and very competitive but even today people know him as a very humble and good human being.
'If the script is good, everything else falls into place'
When a film is offered to you, what do you look for in it?
The script. You can have a big star cast, you can have a brilliant producer, but if the script is weak and you can't connect to a story then I feel it is empty. It doesn't feel complete to me. If the script is good, everything else falls into place.
This is your second film with Illuminati Films...
I feel special because out of the three films that Illuminati Films has made, I was a part of two.
That's also because Dinu (Dinesh Vijan) and I have the same understanding of a love story.
We didn't set out for it to be this way. We discovered this about each other while making Love Aaj Kal. He is a close friend of mine.
It started off as a professional working relationship but now they (Saif and Dinesh Vijan, owners of Illuminati Films) have complete trust in me.
'I was sure that Daaru Desi won't work'
You did not like the Daaru Desi song, and were not happy about having it in the film...
I didn't like that song, and was very sure that it would not work. I had a bet of Rs 10 lakh with Dinesh that the song wouldn't work.
I am happy that despite my opinion, Dinesh decided to retain the track. Daaru Desi has not only turned out to be the most popular song of the album, it is topping the charts as well.
I just hope Dinu takes pity on me and lets go of the money! I told him to deduct the money from my fee, but he insists that I pay him after I get my money!
Is it awkward working with Ranbir Kapoor in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani...
If there was any awkwardness, we wouldn't have signed the film together. We agreed to do the film together because we knew there will be a certain comfort level.
We know how to keep our personal life aside and focus on our professional life. I think he is as obsessed about his work and cinema as I am. Nothing matters more than the film itself.
We have a beautiful friendship and I am glad about it. No, we are not getting back together.
'Rajinikanth is like a child in a candy shop'
What is the progress on Rajinikanth's film?
I have finished shooting for Rajini sir's film. We are using a new technique which is called 'performance capturing' where the actors are not required for the entire film.
Basically, an actor goes to the studio for three or four days and the camera captures various emotions and everything else is done digitally and in post-production.
What was it like working with Rajinikanth?
He is like a child in a candy shop. I have never seen more excitement on the sets. He comes on the sets full of energy and wishes everybody good morning.
He treats his daughter (Soundarya) like a proper direct#8744 he will shake hands with her when he enters like he is meeting her for the first time.
He gives a take and the director says it's okay. He will say, 'one more take please'. He wants to perfect his scene all the time.
Who is your 2 am- 6 am buddy?