In hero-centric Bollywood, actresses are often left struggling to find prominence on-screen.
As a result, stories of research for roles also usually involve male stars. Women, unfortunately, are mostly talked about for their looks, their weight and bikini-ready bodies ahead of a film.
So it’s refreshing when Deepika Padukone says that her focus while preparing for the upcoming Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial wasn’t of a physical nature, but more on the lines of mannerisms. "I watched all of Sanjay’s films," Deepika concedes, in a bid to understand the director’s vision. "Each of his (female) characters has been so special and memorable," she says.
Bhansali, undeniably, has given prominence to many female characters in the past. Be it Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Manisha Koirala in Khamoshi (1996) or Rani Mukerji in Black (2005), the stories have largely revolved around female protagonists.
As a result, Deepika, it seems, watched all of his films again to prepare for her role in Ram-Leela. A friend close to Deepika says, "She has always been inspired by the way Sanjay portrays female characters. She was impressed by Nandini’s (Aishwarya) character in Hum Dil... and Paro and Chandramukhi’s characters (portrayed by Aishwarya and Madhuri Dixit respectively) in Devdas (2002)."
Deepika adds, "If you look closely, every (female) character has her own life and journey; I hope my part is also as remembered and loved as that of Nandini, Paro or Chandramukhi’s."