Deepika Padukone, hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, and born on 5 January 1986, is a celebrated Indian actress with a primary focus on her stellar performances in Hindi cinema.
She is among the highest-paid actresses in India and has received three prestigious Filmfare Awards. Deepika is a prominent figure in India, and her influence extends globally.
In 2018, Time magazine recognized her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2022, she was honored with the Time100 Impact Award.
Deepika Padukone, raised in Bangalore, is the daughter of the former badminton champion Prakash Padukone, though she was born in Copenhagen. In her teenage years, she excelled in badminton, participating in national-level championships.
However, her career path took a turn when she decided to pursue a career in fashion modeling. This decision opened doors to film opportunities, and she made her acting debut in 2006 with the Kannada film “Aishwarya.”
Her first Bollywood film was “Om Shanti Om” (2007), where she played a dual role alongside Shah Rukh Khan, earning her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut.
Deepika’s acting career gained momentum with the romantic comedy “Cocktail” in 2012, marking a turning point in her journey.
Her success continued to soar as she took on prominent roles in movies such as “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani,” “Chennai Express,” “Happy New Year,” “Bajirao Mastani,” “Padmaavat,” and the Hollywood action film “XXX: Return of Xander Cage.”
Her roles in “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela” and “Piku” were lauded by critics, leading to her receiving two Filmfare Awards for Best Actress.
After a brief hiatus and a couple of commercially unsuccessful productions through her company, Ka Productions, Deepika Padukone made a robust comeback with roles in “Pathaan” and “Jawan,” both top-grossing action films in 2023.
Beyond her acting career, Deepika is committed to social causes. Deepika Padukone founded The Live Love Laugh Foundation to foster awareness of mental health in India, simultaneously advocating fervently for the causes of feminism and depression awareness.
Her multifaceted involvement extends to stage performances, newspaper column writing, the launch of her women’s clothing line, and her prominent role as a celebrity endorser for various brands and products.
Her ventures extend to startup investments and a self-care brand. She is married to her frequent co-star, Ranveer Singh.
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Deepika Padukone’s Early Life and Modeling Career
On 5 January 1986, Deepika Padukone was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, to parents who speak Konkani.
Prakash Padukone, her father, boasts a professional badminton career in his background, while her mother, Ujjala, works as a travel agent.
Her younger sister, Anisha, is a golfer, and her paternal grandfather, Ramesh, was the secretary of the Mysore Badminton Association. The family relocated to Bangalore, India, when Deepika was just a year old.
Deepika Padukone pursued her early education at Sophia High School in Bangalore and completed her pre-university studies at Mount Carmel College.
Her academic journey then led her to initially enroll at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, where she embarked on her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology.
Still, she had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with her burgeoning modeling career. As a child, Deepika was socially introverted and had few friends. Her primary focus was badminton, a sport she played competitively from a young age.
Her typical day involves rising at 5 A.M., engaging in physical training, attending school, participating in badminton sessions, completing homework, and finally retiring for the night.
She continued her pursuit of badminton throughout her school years and participated in national-level championships. Simultaneously, she also worked as a child model, appearing in a few advertising campaigns when she was eight.
However, in the tenth grade, she decided to shift her focus and become a fashion model, a decision her father supported. In 2004, she commenced a full-time modeling career under the guidance of Prasad Bidapa.
In the early stages of her modeling career, Deepika Padukone gained recognition through a television commercial promoting the Liril soap brand, paving the way for her to feature in various other brand and product campaigns.
Her runway debut took place in 2005 at the prestigious Lakme Fashion Week, where she walked for designer Suneet Varma, earning the esteemed title of Model of the Year at the Kingfisher Fashion Awards.
Deepika’s popularity surged as she graced a prominent print campaign for the 2006 Kingfisher Calendar. She earned accolades from designer Wendell Rodricks, who lauded her beauty and youthful charm, drawing comparisons to Aishwarya Rai. In 2006, at 21, Deepika relocated to Mumbai and resided in her aunt’s home.
In that very year, she also appeared in Himesh Reshammiya’s music video for the song “Naam Hai Tera,” which was part of the album “Aap Ka Surroor.”
Subsequently, Deepika Padukone began receiving offers for film roles. Initially, she felt inexperienced as an actor and enrolled in a course at Anupam Kher’s film academy.
Her breakthrough in Bollywood came when director Farah Khan noticed her in Reshammiya’s music video and cast her in the melodrama “Om Shanti Om” (2007), where she played a dual role alongside Shah Rukh Khan.
This film became the highest-grossing Hindi film of the year, and Deepika received acclaim for her performance, winning the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut.
Deepika Padukone’s Acting Career
Deepika Padukone’s acting career began in the Kannada film “Aishwarya” (2006), where she played the lead role. This romantic comedy was a remake of the Telugu film “Manmadhudu” and proved a commercial success. While she received praise for her screen presence, some critics noted that she needed to work on her emotional scenes.
In 2008, Deepika played one of Ranbir Kapoor’s love interests in “Bachna Ae Haseeno,” a romantic comedy directed by Siddharth Anand. The film was financially successful, but her performance received mixed reviews, with some critics finding her lacking energy and zest.
In 2009, Deepika Padukone appeared in the film “Chandni Chowk to China.” She co-starred with Akshay Kumar in this kung-fu comedy. Her role in the movie involved portraying the characters of twin sisters. She played the part of one sister who was Indian and the other who was Chinese.
Despite high expectations and a broad international release, the film needed to recoup its budget. Her role in the romantic drama “Love Aaj Kal,” opposite Saif Ali Khan, garnered praise, and the film became the third highest-grossing Hindi film of 2009.
Deepika’s portrayal of Meera Pandit, a headstrong career woman, was well-received by both audiences and critics. In 2010, Deepika Padukone had five film releases. Deepika Padukone featured in the psychological thriller “Karthik Calling Karthik.” Her role in the film involved playing the character of a supportive girlfriend.
The man in the story was dealing with depression. She portrayed the role of a caring and understanding partner to him. Although the film had a sparse plot, her performance was widely regarded as its standout feature.
Her most financially successful film that year was the comedy “Housefull,” which featured an ensemble cast led by Akshay Kumar. However, critics found the film’s acting to be subpar, with some attributing Deepika’s performance to “plasticky expressions.”
In “Lafangey Parindey” (2010), a drama directed by Pradeep Sarkar, Deepika portrayed a blind girl determined to win a skating competition. Her performance was noted for its considerable restraint, and it received positive feedback from critics.
She also starred opposite Imran Khan in the romantic comedy “Break Ke Baad” in 2010. The film was considered watchable mainly due to Deepika’s performance, according to some critics.
Her final release in 2010 was Ashutosh Gowariker’s period film “Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey,” where she played the role of Kalpana Dutta, the confidante of the revolutionary leader Surya Sen, portrayed by Abhishek Bachchan.
The film was based on the book “Do and Die” and retold the story of the 1930 Chittagong armory raid. Unfortunately, none of these films, except “Housefull,” achieved commercial success.
In 2011, Deepika Padukone appeared in an item number in the film “Dum Maaro Dum,” which garnered attention due to its bold and controversial content. Her subsequent film was Prakash Jha’s socio-political drama “Aarakshan,” addressing caste-based reservations in India, although it had limited success at the box office.
Critics had varying opinions, but Deepika’s performance was singled out as the film’s most revitalizing element. Concluding her cinematic endeavors in 2011, she featured in the comedy “Desi Boyz,” where she shared the screen with Akshay Kumar and John Abraham.
However, this role did not significantly advance her career, marking a period of career struggles. Overall, from 2006 to 2011, Deepika Padukone experienced both breakthrough successes and works in her acting career.
Despite criticism for some of her roles, her talent and potential as an actress remained evident, setting the stage for her future accomplishments in the industry.
Deepika Padukone as an Established actress (2012–2016)
Deepika Padukone’s career entered a significant phase between 2012 and 2016. Her leading role in the 2012 romantic comedy “Cocktail,” under the direction of Homi Adajania, represented a significant milestone in her acting career.
Raja Sen noted her ability to combine stunning looks with acting prowess. In the film, set in London, Deepika portrayed Veronica, an impulsive party girl, challenging her to expand her acting horizons. The character demanded significant physical transformation, leading her to adopt an intensive exercise regimen and a strict diet.
While critical reception of the film was mixed, Padukone’s performance garnered acclaim. Critics praised her for being the “soul of the film” and delivering a versatile portrayal. “Cocktail” not only elevated her acting but also achieved significant success at the box office.
The year 2013 was a pivotal year for Deepika Padukone as she appeared in four of the highest-grossing Hindi films. She once again teamed up with Saif Ali Khan in “Race 2,” a high-octane sequel to the 2008 film “Race,” directed by Abbas–Mustan.
Although the film received predominantly negative reviews, it was a commercial hit. Deepika then starred opposite Ranbir Kapoor in Ayan Mukerji’s romantic comedy “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani,” portraying Naina Talwar, a shy and introverted character.
This marked a departure from her previous glamorous roles, and her performance was praised for its self-awareness and subtlety. The film was a major commercial success. Her next venture was “Chennai Express,” an action comedy directed by Rohit Shetty, where she played a Tamil girl.
While her Tamil accent received mixed opinions, her performance was widely appreciated, with critics describing her as delightful and playful. “Chennai Express” emerged as one of the highest-grossing Indian films.
Deepika’s next significant role was opposite Ranveer Singh in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela,” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” She portrayed Leela, a character inspired by Juliet.
Initially titled “Ram-Leela,” the film faced legal issues due to its title and was eventually well-received by critics. Deepika’s performance was described as breathtaking, making her standout in the movie.
Her exceptional portrayals in “Chennai Express” and “Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela” earned her numerous honors, including the Screen Award for Best Actress in both movies and the prestigious Filmfare Award for Best Actress, especially for her role in the latter.
In 2014, Deepika had the opportunity to work alongside Rajinikanth in the Tamil film “Kochadaiiyaan,” a period drama created using motion capture technology. Despite only devoting two days to the project, she played a significant role and earned ₹30 million (US$380,000) for her contribution.
Her role in Homi Adajania’s satire “Finding Fanny” showcased her as a young widow on a road trip with her dysfunctional friends. The film gained recognition when screened at the Busan International Film Festival, with Deepika Padukone’s performance earning significant acclaim.
In the same year, she had her third collaboration with Shah Rukh Khan, reuniting in Farah Khan’s “Happy New Year.” Her role in the movie saw her playing the character of a bar dancer who takes on the task of mentoring a group of underachievers as they prepare for a dance competition.
This marked another notable performance in her career, showcasing her versatility as an actress. The film added to her growing list of successful and acclaimed projects in the industry.
Although her role was glamorous, the film succeeded significantly at the box office. In 2015, Deepika portrayed the character of a determined Bengali woman who looks after her hypochondriac father, portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan, in Shoojit Sircar’s comedy-drama “Piku.”
Her attraction to the film lay in its depiction of a realistic father-daughter bond, a rarity in Hindi cinema. Deepika’s performance was lauded for breaking free from traditional Bollywood stereotypes and was praised for her contribution to the feminist tone of the film.
“Piku” was a box office hit and earned Deepika several awards, including her second Best Actress award at Filmfare and Screen. Subsequently, in 2015, Deepika played the role of a fragile young woman who falls in love with a psychologically troubled man, portrayed by Ranbir Kapoor, in Imtiaz Ali’s romantic drama “Tamasha.”
Her performance was regarded as the best by an actress that year, showcasing her potency and depth as an actor. While the film didn’t fare well commercially, Deepika said she didn’t define her success by box office numbers.
In the same year, Deepika Padukone rekindled her collaboration with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ranveer Singh. This partnership resulted in the movie “Bajirao Mastani,” a historical drama.
The film explores a poignant narrative of love that is considered forbidden. “Bajirao Mastani” was a significant project in Deepika’s career. Her role in the film showcased her versatility as an actress and contributed to her growing acclaim in the industry.
To play the warrior-princess Mastani, Deepika underwent rigorous training in sword-fighting, horse-riding, and the martial art form of kalarippayattu. The film was the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of the year and earned her accolades for her performance.
These years, she has marked a significant period in her career, characterized by versatile roles, critical acclaim, and commercial success. Her dedication and acting prowess allowed her to break free from stereotypical Bollywood roles and establish herself as a formidable actress.
Deepika Padukone’s Professional Expansion and Film Controversies (2017–Present)
Deepika Padukone’s career took an international turn in 2017 with her role as the leading lady alongside Vin Diesel in the action film “XXX: Return of Xander Cage.”
While some critics, like Tirdad Derakhshani of The Philadelphia Inquirer, found the film lacking, others, such as Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter, believed she almost stole the show.
“XXX: Return of Xander Cage” achieved significant global success, grossing over $345 million worldwide, with a substantial portion of earnings coming from the Chinese box office.
This role earned Padukone three nominations at the Teen Choice Awards. In 2018, Padukone portrayed the role of Rani Padmavati in the period drama “Padmaavat,” her third collaboration with director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and actor Ranveer Singh.
The film presented a challenging portrayal of a Rajput queen who commits self-immolation to protect herself from the Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji. Her character demanded conveying courage through silence, and she extensively researched the historical background to depict Padmavati authentically.
The film faced controversy, with right-wing Hindu groups alleging a romantic liaison between Padmavati and Khilji. They protested violently and placed bounties on the heads of Padukone and Bhansali.
After undergoing modifications, the film was eventually released. Padmavati’s portrayal was noted for her ability to transcend stereotype-ridden writing.
With a substantial budget and earnings of ₹5.45 billion (US$68 million), “Padmaavat” became one of Indian cinema’s highest-grossing films, earning her another Best Actress nomination at Filmfare.
Following “Padmaavat,” Padukone took a break to focus on her personal life. In 2018, she established her production company, Ka Productions. The company’s debut production was “Chhapaak” in 2020, a drama directed by Meghna Gulzar, where Padukone portrayed an acid attack survivor based on Laxmi Agarwal.
The role was physically demanding, as she had to wear prosthetic makeup in extreme heat. Critics, including Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express and Teo Bugbee of The New York Times, praised her nuanced and empathetic performance.
Despite the critical acclaim, the film faced commercial challenges, partly due to political backlash related to Padukone’s perceived support for protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
Deepika Padukone’s subsequent production endeavor, “83,” in 2021, is a sports drama chronicling India’s triumph at the 1983 Cricket World Cup. In the film, she not only produced but also took on the role of Kapil Dev’s wife, Romi.
While the film received positive reviews, it didn’t perform well commercially. In 2022, she starred in Shakun Batra’s “Gehraiyaan,” a drama centered on infidelity, released on Amazon Prime Video.
She described her role as one of the most layered in her career, earning recognition for her emotionally complex performance. In “Pathaan” (2023), Deepika Padukone reunited with Shah Rukh Khan, and the film faced controversy related to a song sequence.
The Central Board of Film Certification eventually cleared the movie for release after edits were made to the song. Saibal Chatterjee praised Padukone for her multifaceted performance, encompassing an irrepressible femme fatale and a dedicated soldier.
In the same year, Padukone made a special appearance in the action thriller “Jawan,” which, along with “Pathaan,” broke several box office records, each earning over ₹10 billion (US$130 million) and ranking among the biggest grossers in Hindi cinema.
Looking ahead, Padukone has an exciting lineup of projects, including “Kalki 2898 AD,” a Telugu-Hindi bilingual science fiction film, and “Fighter,” another action film alongside Hrithik Roshan.
She is set to become part of Rohit Shetty’s Cop Universe franchise with her role in the action sequel “Singham Again,” where Ajay Devgn plays the titular character.
Deepika Padukone’s Personal Life
Deepika Padukone shares a close bond with her family and regularly visits her hometown of Bangalore.
Although she resides in Prabhadevi, Mumbai, she often longs for her parents’ presence. Deepika is a practicing Hindu and considers her religion a crucial aspect of her life, frequently visiting temples and other shrines.
In her personal life, Deepika Padukone’s romantic relationships have garnered media attention. She was in a relationship with Ranbir Kapoor while filming “Bachna Ae Haseeno” in 2008, which was openly discussed and even led to a tattoo of his initials on her neck.
However, the relationship ended a year later. In a 2010 interview, Padukone accused Kapoor of infidelity, which he later admitted. They eventually reconciled their friendship while working on “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.”
In 2017, Padukone fondly spoke about her relationship with frequent co-star Ranveer Singh, whom she began dating in August 2012.
In October 2018, the couple revealed their plans to wed, and they later solemnized their marriage in the stunning setting of Lake Como, Italy, with a series of traditional ceremonies to mark their union.
The Konkani Hindu and Sikh Anand Karaj ceremonies were part of the wedding festivities. The picturesque Lake Como served as the backdrop for their weddings.
Deepika Padukone’s Off-Screen Work
Beyond her achievements in acting, Deepika Padukone has made notable contributions as an author, advocate for women’s health and fitness, supporter of charitable causes, and a dynamic presence on the stage.
Her journey as a writer began in 2009 when she commenced penning weekly columns for Hindustan Times’ lifestyle section, fostering a connection with her audience by offering insights into her personal and professional life.
She actively participates in charitable activities, such as the World 10K Bangalore marathon, and supports various NGOs.
She played a role in the “Greenathon Campaign” by adopting the Maharashtrian village of Ambegaon to provide electricity. Deepika also visited Indian troops in Jammu for a special episode of NDTV’s reality show “Jai Jawaan.”
In addition to her contributions to sports and social causes, she’s known for her stage performances. She participated in the opening ceremony of the Indian Premier League and performed in concert tours alongside prominent actors and musicians.
Deepika Padukone has ventured into fashion and retail, launching her clothing lines in collaboration with Van Heusen and Myntra. She was the chairperson of the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image from 2019 to 2021.
Through her company, Ka Enterprises, she has invested in various startups, including Drum Foods International and Blu Smart. In 2022, she introduced her self-care brand, “82°E,” starting with skincare products that received $7.5 million in seed funding for further product launches.
She has also been a vocal advocate for women’s issues and mental health. With “The Live Love Laugh Foundation,” her primary mission is to promote mental health awareness in India.
Her unwavering commitment to this cause earned her the prestigious TIME100 Impact Award in 2020 for her remarkable contributions to mental health advocacy. Deepika Padukone has been involved in controversies related to political events and social issues.
Her participation in a protest related to the 2020 JNU Attack and her support for the Black Lives Matter movement led to both criticism and praise from different quarters. In response, she was indifferent to the political backlash, emphasizing her focus on her work.
Deepika Padukone In the Media
Deepika Padukone is universally acknowledged as one of the most beloved and influential personalities in India.
After her successful debut with “Om Shanti Om,” she faced a period of criticism but rebounded with hits like “Cocktail,” “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani,” and “Chennai Express.”
Several publications acknowledged her as one of the most successful contemporary actresses in India. She has featured prominently on Forbes’ lists of the highest-paid actresses and celebrities. In 2020, she was awarded the TIME100 Impact Award for her advocacy work on mental health.
Additionally, she has been featured in various lists of influential individuals and admired women. Padukone is considered among the most attractive Indian celebrities and is widely recognized for her style.
She is an active brand endorser, and her brand value has ranked high on Duff & Phelps’ listings of Indian celebrities. She has, however, faced criticism related to her endorsements and the portrayal of an acid attack survivor.
With a reputation for professionalism, discipline, and dedication to her craft, Deepika Padukone maintains an active presence on social media. She is admired for her approach to personal and professional life.
Her impact extends beyond the entertainment industry, as she advocates for social causes and works toward redefining leadership roles. She remains a prominent figure in India and an influential voice on various issues.