Deepika Padukone’s latest film Piku, a quirky-take on a Bengali father-daughter relationship, is earning rave reviews! Praised for her superb performance, the award-winning actress talks about the Piku experience, and her equation with her own father, badminton champ Prakash Padukone.
Piku is an unconventional story; what convinced you to take up the film?
I still remember that Shoojit came home to narrate the script and all it took was one scene to convince me to do it. Shoojit read Mr. Bachchan’s part and Juhi Chaturvedi, the writer, read my part. The aspect of the script that appealed to me was that it was extremely relatable and identifiable, and that the film reflects the Indian values and culture we’ve been brought up with.
Are you similar to Piku’s character?
Yes, I am very similar to Piku! Like her, I am also a multi-tasker—trying to balance work, family, friends and finding time for myself.
How would you describe Piku’s look and styling in the movie? Did you also give your inputs in the styling?
I remember the first day on the set. We weren’t shooting; we were there for rehearsals. I had worn Indian clothes and Shoojit looked at me and exclaimed ‘This is my Piku’! I think the idea was to keep Piku as real, simple, and identifiable as possible. We tweaked the look a bit because she is Bengali by birth and culturally connected to Delhi. There were days when I wore my own sweatshirts and jeans. We worked on creating a distinct difference between her home clothes and work styling.
How was the shooting experience? Any anecdotes you’d like to share?
The Piku experience was fun and easy-going. We never felt that we were shooting a movie. The sets were made so well that we felt like we were actually at home. When I am cooking in the movie, I am actually cooking and even the laundry and bed-making scenes are for real. We would play badminton and board games in between shots and Amitji and I would get together and bully Shoojit. We were like one happy family!
How different is your equation with your onscreen and off-screen father?
I think the values are the same. But the situations are very different and my dad is very different from Piku’s father in the movie. My dad is a saint in every sense. He’s extremely calm, soft-spoken, gentle and warm. We joke that he should take up meditation in the Himalayas. Like a lot of girls, I have a lot of love for my dad, but there is also a sense of respect and fear.
This is your first time working with Irrfan Khan…
Yes, I met Irrfan Khan on the first day of shooting. I had a different picture of him in my mind from what I had seen and read. He came across as strict and stern. I thought he would not interact easily. But it was completely the opposite. He was easy to work with, and kept us in splits with his superb sense of humour.
And how was it working with Amitabh Bachchan for the second time…
I think I valued this experience much more. I was newer and less experienced during Aarakshan. Today, I enjoy and value my craft a lot more. I enjoyed this experience of working with Amitji in Piku much more than I did Aarakshan.
The three characters in the movie take a road trip. Where would you like to go on a road trip?
The journey in the film is only about 20 minutes, but thanks to the film, we got to travel a lot. We’ve shot in Delhi, Mumbai, Benares, Kolkata, and Ahmadabad. As an actor, I get to travel around the world, and get access to places that one wouldn’t otherwise get. So, you can say that the journey of being an actor is the most exciting road trip for me!