Deepika Padukone on playing Draupadi in her next: The role of a lifetime

Updated: Oct 25, 2019, 14:37 IST | Shaheen Parkar | Mumbai

Deepika Padukone announces her next production after Chhapaak, to play Draupadi in multi-part Mahabharat

Deepika Padukone. Pic/ Instagram
Deepika Padukone. Pic/ Instagram

Her maiden production, Chhapaak, may be a few months away from its date with the audience, but Deepika Padukone has already greenlit her next venture. The actor, in collaboration with producer Madhu Mantena, will bring Mahabharat to the big screen. Continuing her streak of portraying powerful author-backed parts, Padukone will breathe life into one of the Indian epic's most enduring characters, Draupadi. Interestingly, the story will be told from the perspective of the female protagonist.

Deepika Padukone

"We all know the Mahabharat for its mythological tales and socio-cultural influence. We derive many of life's lessons from the epic. But the narrative we are most familiar with is that of the epic's leading men. This new perspective will be not only interesting but also significant," says Padukone, who has constantly striven to tell stories of female bravado with her offerings. Her next, Chhapaak, directed by Meghna Gulzar, is inspired by the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal.

Aware that three hours is too little to do justice to Draupadi's journey from her birth in Panchala to her role in the destruction of the Kauravas, the duo intends to make it a multi-part franchise, with the first edition slated to release in Diwali 2021.

Madhu MantenaMadhu Mantena

Padukone acknowledges that mounting the film on the grand scale that it deserves, is both daunting as well as creatively fulfilling. "While I'm thrilled and honoured, I'm also nervous and can only hope that we are able to create something that we can all be proud of. I believe this is the role and opportunity of a lifetime."

While the duo is scouting for a director to give shape to their vision, they are also in discussion with leading actors to step into the pivotal roles of Yudhishthir, Arjuna, Bheem, Nakul and Sahdev. "We all know and have studied Mahabharat throughout our lives but not from the point of view of Draupadi, who happens to be one of the most important female icons in Indian history. This is an ambitious project, and if not for Deepika, we wouldn't be so confident about taking on this challenge," says Mantena, adding that they will announce the rest of the cast and creative team soon.

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  • 1/16

    Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone solemnized their six-year-old relationship by walking down the aisle on November 14, 2018, in Italy's exotic location - Lake Como. Their wedding was a four-day revelry with extra-tight security at the venue and some interesting events like no gifts-instead donate to charity, wedding insurance, and no mobile phone policy. The reason why we didn't see social media bombarded with clips and pictures from their wedding ceremonies. (All photos: mid-day archives and Deepika and Ranveer's official Instagram account)

  • 2/16

    While reports had earlier suggested that Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone tied the knot at Villa del Balbianello, it later came to light that the venue of the band, baaja, baaraat was, in fact, the Casta Diva Resort and Spa that is located on the east side of Lake Como in Blevio village.

  • 3/16

    A source close to Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone had earlier revealed interesting tidbits about the engagement ceremony. "The evening had two functions lined up — an engagement ceremony and a sit-down dinner. Deepika and Ranveer welcomed the guests personally at the entrance of the Casta Diva, which was all lit up. Both flaunted western outfits – while Deepika wore a white dress, Ranveer sported a black creation. They exchanged rings in the presence of about 45 people, including their families and entourage. The ceremony was followed by a formal dinner where the couple thanked everyone for being part of their special occasion. The guests were categorically requested not to share any pictures from the function," asserted the source.

  • 4/16

    A grand reception took places after Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone returned to the bay on November 28 at Grand Hyatt hotel, which saw a sky of stars shining on the red carpet. Prior to this, they hosted a reception party at Deepika's hometown in Bengaluru on November 21.

  • 5/16

    Keen that the auspicious occasion, that is Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone's wedding serve a higher cause, the duo requested guests to not give them any gifts. Instead, they offered them the opportunity to make donations to Padukone's non-profit organisation — The Live Love Laugh Foundation — that spreads awareness about mental health.

  • 6/16

    A source close to the soon-to-be-married couple had told mid-day the reason why they chose Lake Como as their wedding destination. "Since they are both from non-filmy families, they wanted a quiet wedding away from the prying eyes of the world. The Mumbai and Bengaluru receptions though will be a snazzy affair. Also, they've requested that donations be made to Deepika's foundation that actively works towards creating awareness and removing the stigma around depression. Both Ranveer and Deepika are deeply committed to the cause and want to involve all their guests in the good deed," revealed the source.

  • 7/16

    With a day before Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone's big, fat wedding, social media pages were flooded with fans sharing pictures of the venue. The source added that the villa was closed for the public starting from Monday, November 13. The families were staying at a hotel 10 minutes from the venue because the venue itself didn't have a boarding facility. 

  • 8/16

    Before tying the knot, when asked about the status of his relationship with Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh had once said that he shares a relationship of mutual admiration with her, and is "blessed" to have her in his life. "It is a relationship of mutual admiration... I rate her very highly as an actor, and she doesn't," said the Bajirao Mastani actor.

  • 9/16

    Ranveer Singh had also quipped, "She says, 'You're just a ham'," adding that she is "awesome" and that "there's a lot to learn from her as an artiste". He acknowledged that his Bajirao Mastani, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela and Padmaavat co-star has helped him become a "well-rounded human being" and that he is "blessed" to have her in his life.

  • 10/16

    The buzz of Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh getting married began after they rang in the New Years, 2018, with their respective parents in the Maldives, and the presence of their peers blew a spark of their engagement there. What added fuel to fire was Ranveer Singh's maternal grandmother's wish of meeting the dimpled-beauty. In January 2018, a report claimed that Ranveer drove with Deepika to his late grandma's residence in Bandra. The report further suggested that post spending some quality time there, Ranveer and Deepika headed to the former's residence to spend some time alone. Back then, their meeting had strongly indicated marriage being on cards!

  • 11/16

    In one of the talk-shows hosted by Neha Dhupia, BFFs with Vogue, Dhupia had interrogated Deepika Padukone about her engagement in the Maldives and the actress denied. "I was not engaged," she said. Prodding further Neha asked her to show her ring finger to check if there was a tan on it. And the tan was indeed evident! Further indicating that she was sporting a ring during her vacation in the Maldives, where they were rumoured to exchange rings. Deepika was with her sister Anisha Padukone on the show and the latter in jest said, "She has been engaged successively for the last four years."

  • 12/16

    In 2017, in a media interaction when the dimpled-beauty was asked about her engagement with beau, she had said, "There's no such plan ANYTIME soon. I'm not pregnant, I'm not having a baby, I'm not engaged and I'm not married. And I'm not even planning to get married anytime soon."

  • 13/16

    In November 2017, a clip went viral where Deepika Padukone as the first guest on Shah Rukh Khan's talk show, 'Baatein with Baadshah' was seen watching Ranveer's message for her. Dressed in a shiny silver jacket and blue shades, Ranveer was seen dancing hilariously on the Kumar Sanu hit song 'Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga' from the film 1942 - A Love Story, picturised on Manisha Koirala and Anil Kapoor. Ranveer ended the message saying, "Mandir mein ho ek jalta diya, Diya, yaani ke Deepika, yaani ke aap. Aapke baare mein kya kahun? Jis tareeke se aap, apne karoron chahne waalon ke dilon me ujaala ban ke aayi, meri zindagi mein ujala ban ke aayi. Mai upar wale se yahi dua karunga ki aapki bhi zindagi me ujala barkaraar rahe, humesha humesha ke liye. There's nobody like you! God bless you and love you a lot."

  • 14/16

    Ranveer Singh had even confessed that Deepika Padukone is a 'really good kisser'. Ranveer, who was a guest on Neha Dhupia's podcast, made a candid confession that he considers Deepika a fab kisser. He said, "I think Deepika is the best kisser. Have you seen that song, Ang Laga De from Ram Leela?" Their smouldering chemistry on screen was indeed unmissable in Ram-Leela.

  • 15/16

    Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, are one of tinsel town's hottest couples. Ranveer apparently calls Deepika 'Booboo', while Dippy calls him 'Clown'. Those are some romantic nicknames, aren't they?

  • 16/16

    Bollywood's Bajirao and Mastani have been inseparable ever since Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Goliyon Ki Raasleela: RamLeela. Their chemistry spit fire on screen, thus making them the ideal couple. In between, there were rumours of their relationship hitting a rough patch. However, their public display of affection managed to quash those rumours. And they are a married couple now!

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