Deepika Padukone is the latest in the line of super models trying their luck in Bollywood and is being touted along with Katrina Kaif as the next big thing to hit Hindi cinema. There is no doubt that like Katrina, she is one of the most gorgeous woman in Hindi filmdom today. She still has to prove herself as an actress though, as it is more a case of her being cast correctly in films like Om Shanti Om (2007) and Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) rather than her acting talent making the roles work.
Daughter of Indian badminton ace Prakash Padukone, Deepika was born in Copenhagen on January 5, 1986. Her parents moved back to Bangalore in South India when she was one. After completing her schooling at Sophia High School, she joined Mount Carmel College. Following in her father's footsteps, she did play badminton in school at State and National level but gave it up as a career option when she took an extended break to concentrate on her board exams. By the time Deepika was in college, she began to get modelling offers thanks to her tall slender figure and good looks.
Her rise in the modelling world was meteoric. She modelled for many prestigious brands like Liril, Limca and Close Up toothpaste, where she got noticed in a big way. Her crowning glory, however, was when Maybelline made her their International Spokesperson. She was awarded the Model Of The Year Award at the 5th Annual Kingfisher Fashion Awards and was one of the models chosen for the Kingfisher Swimsuit Calender in 2006. She was also chosen as brand ambassador for Kingfisher Airlines, Levi Strauss and Tissot SA.
Acting was the next logical step. Deepika began by first starring in a music video for the song Naam Hai Tera from the album Aap Kaa Surroor by Himesh Reshammiya.
As film offers poured in, Deepika began her movie career with a Kannada film, Aishwarya (2006) opposite Upendra. In the film where she plays the title role, Abhi (Upendra) is a woman-hater believing women to be the cause of all problems in life. What's more, he merely doesn't dislkike them, he also troubles them. A beautiful and charming young woman, Aishwarya (Deepika Padukone), joins the office. Fed up of being perstered by Abhi, she decides to resign. Abhi's uncle convinces her to stay on telling her Abhi is not such a bad person. He reveals to her why Abhi has become what he's become. Aishwarya stays on. Soon she and Abhi go to Europe on an assignement. There they come close and start liking each other. Just when Abhi realizes he loves her, Aishwarya tells him she's engaged...While she got unanimous praise for her looks, her reviews as an actress were mixed with the general consensus being that she was still raw and had some way to go.
Deepika made a dream debut in Hindi cinema with Farah Khan's re-incarnation drama Om Shanti Om (2007) opposite Shah Rukh Khan himself and that too in a double role as 1970s star 'Dreamy Girl' Shanti Priya and a young woman of today, Sandy. Even though the film is an out and out Shah Rukh Khan show, Deepika garnered positive reviews all over though as mentioned above, one would say she is rightly cast. However, there's no denying her screen presence and she does look stunning in the film. In fact, quoting Derek Ellery in Variety, "With the hunky Khan onscreen almost the whole time, and seriously overdoing his mature-boyish charm in the first half, the movie also requires considerable tolerance of the King's limited range. Padukone, a real looker with major screen presence, acts as a balance in the early stages; more's the pity she's not given much chance in part two to develop her likeable, klutzy wannabe actress, Sandhya ("just call me Sandy")." Deepika not only won all the Best Female Debut Awards for Om Shanti Om but was also nominated for the Filmfare Award For Best Actress for the film.
Deepika's follow up film,Yashraj Films' Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008), sees her more than make her mark on the film. Of the three women cast opposite Ranbir Kapoor, she easily comes off the best of the three. Of course, the fact that she looks gorgeous as well helps tremendously. However, her next release and one of the most awaited films of 2009, Chandni Chowk to China opposite Akshay Kumar failed at the box office.
Love Aaj Kal (2009), her next release opposite Saif Ali Khan, hasn't helped Deepika's cause much as an actress. In fact, it highlights how well she was used in her earlier films, which managed to hide most of her shortcomings. In Love Aaj Kal, she looks nice enough but her performance shows she still has miles and miles to go as an actress. Her dialogue delivery is stilted without any modulation whatsoever and she is just embarrassing
in the scene where she tells Rahul Khanna she knows she hasn't done right by him.
Karthik Calling Karthik (2010) with Farhan Akhtar hasn't helped either as the film got neither critical acclaim nor did it perform well at the box-office. The response to Deepika too has been luke warm too. Her next release is the biggie Housefull.
Deepika's popularity today is evident as she topped the Maxim Hot 100 Girls' worldwide list. And on the personal side, while she has been linked earlier to cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh, she was seeing her Bachna Ae Haseeno co-star, Ranbir Kapoor for a while.