» Movies » The lady behind Deepika's success

The lady behind Deepika's success

By Ronjita Kulkarni
November 19, 2018 09:05 IST
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'Deepika always got all the jobs she auditioned for.'
'There was no stopping her.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Deepika Padukone/Instagram

It was a week of celebrating Deepika Padukone's wedding with Ranveer Singh on the scenic shores of Lake Como in Italy.

And now, it's time to acknowledge the person behind Deepika's success -- the person who first suggested a modelling career to the aspiring badminton player.

Deepika probably thought she would become a badminton player after her legendary father Prakash Padukone, the first Indian to win the All England title. She would train vigorously everyday in her school years. She may even identify with the training the Dangal girls went through in the film.

It was model coordinator Anila Anand who first suggested that she consider a modelling career.

IMAGE: Deepika with her mum Ujwala, sister Anisha and dad Prakash Padukone. Photograph: Kind courtesy Deepika Padukone/Instagram

Anila knew the Padukones well.

Her husband had known Prakash well for years and her daughter Kavya was Deepika's classmate.

She would meet Deepika's mum Ujwala everyday at school when they went to pick up their children.

"Deepika was a very tall and pretty girl in school. Even at that young age, you could tell that she would have a talent for modelling," Anila tells's Ronjita Kulkarni.

Deepika would participate in a lot of school activities, dance, theatre and shows.

"She was quite good on stage," Anila recalls.

"Like all mums, hers wanted her to study. It was early days too, and they were keener on her becoming a badminton player. So this was on the side," she adds.

IMAGE: Deepika posts a lovely throwback picture with sister Anisha. Photograph: Kind courtesy Deepika Padukone/Instagram

After Deepika finished her boards, she thought it was a good time to get into modelling.

"She came and met us, but I felt she was too young," Anila remembers.

She was around 16.

Deepika had just returned from a holiday in Europe and had put on a little weight.

"I told her to lose some weight, and she did it promptly," Anila says.

She felt Deepika was too young and asked her to wait another year.

They stayed in touch.

IMAGE: Deepika in her first Close-up advertisement.

When she returned, they got her portfolio done.

"In those days, it wasn't as professional as it is now. She did her own make-up. There was a photographer named Malik and we had fun doing it," Anila says.

Later, Anila introduced Deepika to the distinguished photographer Prabuddha Dasgupta and they did some work together.

Deepika got her first television commercial while she was still in Bangalore.

"Someone contacted her from Goa for an audition. We did a video test, sent it across and she was chosen," Anila says.

It was for a Close-up ad.

"Deepika always got all the jobs she auditioned for. It picked up very quickly for her. There was really no stopping her," Anila says, looking back.

Deepika'parents gave her solid support as well.

IMAGE: Deepika in one of her earliest ads for Liril.

Going to Mumbai was a natural progression since her mother Ujwala (nee Karakal) hailed from the city.

"Deepika was very mature about the way she handled it. And she was willing to work hard. She had to prove to her parents because she had taken this decision to leave home and try her luck in Bombay," Anila says.

In the city of dreams, Deepika met Atul Kasbekar, and there started her success story.

Anila has kept in touch with the Padukones and met Deepika a little more than a year ago during an ad shoot in Mumbai.

She hasn't met Ranveer yet, but that will change when she attends Deep-Veer's wedding reception in Bangalore on November 21.

"Deepika has done us proud. She has done Bangalore proud. She has reached such a high level of success and still retained her grace and her values."


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Ronjita Kulkarni / in Mumbai