Actor Deepika Padukone on Friday said she never thought about the length of her role in Shah Rukh Khan-starrer “Jawan” as she has a lot of love for the actor and would always be there for him.
Deepika, who made her debut opposite Shah Rukh in “Om Shanti Om” in 2007 and has collaborated on films like “Chennai Express”, “Happy New Year” and “Pathaan”, had an extended cameo as Aishwarya Rathore in the Atlee directorial, which has become a blockbuster at the ticket window, raising close to Rs 700 crore in worldwide gross.
At the film’s success press conference, Shah Rukh joked that he and Atlee “fooled” Deepika into believing that she had a cameo in the film when she was one of the main characters.
“Deepika is feeling the most awkward, I will tell you why, because she feels, “main to dosti me chhota so role karne aa gayi thi’, but between me and Atlee, we fooled her and shot a full length movie with her.
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“When she saw the film she was like, ‘Oh I am one of the main characters’…. but thank you Deepika from the bottom of our heart for being part of this film,” he said, calling the actor “a family”.
Deepika said the team of “Jawan” approached her with the part when she was shooting for Nag Ashwin’s “Project K”, now titled “Kalki 2898 AD”, in Hyderabad.
“They narrated the whole story to me and told me this very important part of Aishwarya and for me, it was not about the length of the role. It was the impact that this character is going to have on the entire film. So it was two-fold for me, one is everyone knows my love for him (SRK). Whenever he wants, I will always be there.
“But also, the movie was so special that as any actor, not just me, if offered the part, they would say yes to it because it was about the vision. I think all of us, everyone here has invested in that vision. It’s not about how big or small your role was. It was about the story we were telling, the impact that this movie was going to have on the lives of this amazing audience.” “Jawan” features Shah Rukh in the role of Vikram Rathore and his son Azad. The movie highlights various social and political issues through the story. Deepika’s Aishwarya is the wife of Vikram Rathore and mother of Azad. Her scenes are played out in the flashback.
Shah Rukh said he thought about Deepika playing a mother while they were shooting “Besharam rang” track for “Pathaan”.
“… I am sitting, and I look at Pooja (Dadlani, his manager) and I said, ‘ye maa ka role karegi kya?’ so I am looking at Deepika during the ‘Besharam rang’ and thinking ‘She will be very good as a mother, no,’.” SRK said when Pooja asked Deepika, she instantly agreed.
“For her to have done this role, also as an actor, is very gutsy. I always say ‘there are no small roles, there are only small actors’. I think with this film, Deepika proves to everybody that she really is a large size actor, big size actor. Thank you Deepika,” he added.
Asked whether there were any apprehensions about playing an onscreen mother, Deepika said there were none.
“I don’t think that I am playing sultry in one movie, and a mother in the next. I personally didn’t approach it like that. I invested in the vision, in the story, if that meant I play the role of a mother, to enable the storytelling, so be it,” she said.
Shah Rukh and Deepika were joined by the film’s director Atlee as well as co-star Vijay Sethupathi at the event.
Actor Nayanthara, who played Narmada in the movie, was absent due to her mother’s birthday and SRK led the crowd to sing happy birthday for them.
The team later played a video message that she sent to express her gratitude for all the love coming her way.
“Namaste Mumbai, it is an absolute honour to be addressing all of you. Even though I’m not there in person, I want to send a big hug to my friends and fans. I wanted to be there but today there is a special occasion for my family and I wanted to spend this time with them.
“I have been reading all of your messages and I have to say it is absolutely overwhelming. Your support means the world to me and I am extremely grateful for it. And of course, a big thank you to my co-star and the entire team for giving me the opportunity to play Narmada,” the actor said.
Working on “Jawan” was a journey “filled with laughter, challenges and growth”, she added.
“Speaking of growth, I want to thank Shah Rukh sir. To share the screen with him and witness his exceptional talent and lively energy in person was truly fabulous,” she added.
The film also stars Sanya Malhotra, Priyamani, Girija Oak, Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, Lehar Khan, Aaliyah Qureshi, Ridhi Dogra, Sunil Grover and Mukesh Chhabra as well as Sanjay Dutt in a cameo appearance.
A Red Chillies Entertainment presentation, “Jawan” is produced by Gauri Khan and co-produced by Gaurav Verma.