Childhood & Early Life
Deepika Padukone was born on January 5, 1986, in Copenhagen Denmark to Prakash Padukone and international badminton player and Ujjala Padukone. Her father is a very famous former badminton player. She has a younger sister, Anisha, who is a professional golfer.
Her family shifted to India and settled in Bangalore, when Deepika was a year old. Deepika attended Sophia High School and later Mount Carmel College for pre-university education. She had enrolled at IGNOU for a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology but quit it in order to pursue the modelling career.
While she was growing up, she was completed focused on badminton at one point of time and played competitively from a young age. But later on she realised that badminton was not her real calling. In 2004, she went whole hog to pursue a modelling career under the tutelage of fashion stylist Prasad Bidapa.
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Unlike models who struggle to get a break, Deepika Padukone’s journey was a smooth one. In 2005, she made her runway debut at Lakme Fashion Week. The following year, she was featured in the Kingfisher Calendar. She gained wider recognition when she was featured in the music video for Himesh Reshammiya's song ‘Naam Hai Tera’.
She soon began to receive film offers. However, not the one to jump into anything hastily, she instead enrolled for an acting course at Anupam Kher Film Academy to train herself for the job.
Deepika Padukone made her debut in 2006 with a Kannada film ‘Aishwarya’ opposite Upendra. Directed by Indrajit Lankesh, the film was a major commercial success. Meanwhile, she had also inked a deal with Farah Khan for the Hindi film ‘Happy New Year’.
After Farah Khan's ‘Happy New Year’ was shelved, she cast Deepika Padukone for the 2007 reincarnation melodrama ‘Om Shanti Om’. It marked her Bollywood debut. In it, she shared screen space with Shah Rukh Khan. The film was a great commercial success, and emerged as the highest-grossing film of the year. Deepika was lauded by the critics for her acting talent and her screen presence.
Following the big breakthrough, film offers came rolling in for Deepika. She was cast in ‘Bachna Ae Haseeno’, ‘Chandni Chowk to China’ and ‘Love Aaj Kal’. While the first two performed averagely at the box office, ‘Love Aaj Kal’ was a runaway success and became the third highest-grossing film of 2009. Deepika was complomented for delivering her finest performance as Meera Pandit.
After witnessing enormous success, Padukone dipped at the lowest of her career in 2010. Though she had five releases slated for the year, none actually did anything to accentuate her career graph. In fact, most of them bombed badly at the box office. To make matters worse, 2011 continued the sad saga of failed films in Padukone’s career as both her films ‘Aarakshan’ and ‘Desi Boyz’ miserably performed at the box office.
After giving a streak of disastrous films, Deepika was written off as an actor by the critics. While some said she lost her sparkle, others claimed that she had nothing more to offer. Taking all the criticism in her stride and braving them off, Padukone pulled up a stunning performance in her next venture, Homi Adajania’s 2012 rom-com ‘Cocktail’. The film proved to be a turning point in her career. Essaying the role of Veronica, an impulsive party girl, Deepika was credited as the ‘soul of the film’. The film did exceptionally well and re-established her acting career.
2013 was an important year for Deepika. She featured in four top grossing films of the year thus affirming her place as the leading actress of contemporary Hindi cinema. To start off with, she was seen in Abbas Mastan’s multi-starrer action thriller ‘Race 2’. Next in line was Ayan Mukerji's rom-com ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’. She then starred in Rohit Shetty's action-comedy ‘Chennai Express’ and finally ended the year with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Shakespearean tragedy ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela’. Critics lauded her impeccable talent and acting prowess claiming her as the reigning queen of the industry.
In 2014, she shared screen space with Rajnikanth, the God of Tamil Film industry, in the period drama ‘Kochadaiiyaan’. Same year, Farah Khan’s shelved project ‘Happy New Year’ was released. The film became one of the most successful films of Deepika’s career.
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Shoojit Sircar’s 2015 film ‘Piku’ gave Deepika the opportunity to come out of her glam-girl-dancing-to-tunes avatar and pose as a headstrong character who is real, and affable. The feminist tone that the film portrayed couldn’t have been possible had it not been for Deepika’s artistry brilliance. Her de-glam and restrained-star look was lauded both commercially and critically.
Deepika ended 2015 on a lofty note with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historic drama ‘Bajirao Mastani’. In it, she played a warrior princess who eventually becomes Maratha General Bajirao I’s second wife. Her excellence as Mastani was lauded by the critics who found her riveting and enthralling. For the film, she learnt sword-fighting, horse-riding and kalaripayattu. It became the fourth highest grossing Bollywood film of the year.
The phenomenal success of Deepika as an actor saw her cross boundaries as she became a star of international repute. Having made her mark in Bollywood, Deepika then eyed to make a name for herself in Hollywood. Her debut venture in Hollywood was for the 2017 action film ‘xXx: Return of Xander Cage’ opposite Vin Diesel. She was seen in the lead role as Serena Unger. The film opened to mixed reviews.
Immensely talented and endowed as she is, Deepika has her hands full with projects. She is to set play the lead role in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s historical drama ‘Padmavati’. Here other upcoming projects include Vishal Bhardwaj’s yet-untitled crime drama and fourth instalment of ‘xXx’ franchise, in which she would reprise her role as Serena Unger.
While Deepika Padukone’s debut film ‘Om Shanti Om’ proved to be the breakthrough project of her career, it was not until 2013 that she established her stand as the leading lady of contemporary Indian cinema. The year was marked with four biggest hits of Padukone’s career graph, starting off with ‘Race 2’, ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, ‘Chennai Express’ and finally ‘Goliyon ki Rasleela RamLeela’. The films earned her immense critical and commercial adulation as she became known as the top rated artist of the industry.
Taking the success story of 2013 forward, Padukone showed her brilliance as an actor with the 2015 films ‘Piku’ and ‘Bajirao Mastani’. While the former gave her an opportunity to come out from the glam avatar and pose as a strong feminist, the latter allowed her to explore her skills in a historic period drama. Both the films did exceptionally well and showcased Deepika’s versatility as an actor.
Awards & Achievements
Deepika Padukone has won three Filmfare Awards viz. Best Female Debut for 'Om Shanti Om' (2008), Best Actress for 'Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela' (2014) and Best Actress for 'Piku' (2016).
In addition to film awards, she has topped various listings of the country’s most attractive people, including The Times of India's ‘Most Desirable Woman’, Maxim (India)'s ‘Hot 100’, FHM (India)'s ‘World's Sexiest Woman’ and People (India)'s ‘Most Beautiful Woman’.