Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone has said that more than the box office performance of her upcoming film Chhapaak, she will be happier if the movie manages to impact the lives of acid attack survivors, in terms of legislation or financial changes.
Speaking with Pinkvilla in an interview, Deepika said, “This is the first time I am playing a real-life, living character. Whether it is Mastaani or Padmavati, they are historic, almost surreal in a way, if you may say. A role like Laxmi’s….I would say, in that sense, it is the first time I am playing a real-life character. Someone who can actually validate or negate my work. So it comes with an added sense of responsibility.” Deepika plays an acid attack survivor in Meghan Gulzar’s directorial Chhapaak which is loosely based on the life of Delhi’s Laxmi Agarwal.
Deepika Padukone along with acid survivor Laxmi Agarwal during the title song launch of Chhapaak in Mumbai on Friday.
Asked about box office expectations from the film, Deepika said, “As far as the success of this movie is concerned, for me, the true success will be when we see change in society and the way society has viewed acid attack survivors, in the way that we treat them in society. The changes we will hopefully see…legislation and financially how we impact their lives..hopefully, if we are able to see changes in these ways, I would consider this a truly successful film.”
Asserting that playing a living character adds to the pressure, Deepika further told the entertainment website, “Not only are you trying to satiate the expectations of an audience but also the person, whose life you are portraying. Honestly, more than the audience, the person’s validation, whose character your playing, is more important. For me, when Laxmi walked on the sets for the first time we were filming in Delhi… On the first day, her validation, she looked at me and said, ‘I am looking at myself in the mirror.’ For me there is no bigger validation.”
She also reacted to being labelled as a superstar. She said she focusses on her work, as stardom is the audience’s perception based on her work. “I don’t wake up every morning thinking I’m some superstar. That’s the audience’s perception of me, and that perception is based on the work that I do. So, my only endeavour when I wake up every morning is to continue doing such work. I wouldn’t be having these titles and labels such as that of a ‘superstar’ if I didn’t have the work that allows people to think this way about me, to feel this way about my body of work. Honestly, it’s not something I pay to much attention to. Having said that, I would be lying if I said that it doesn’t feel nice. It most certainly is very gratifying and humbling, but at the same time, I don’t wake up thinking, ‘Oh, people think I’m a superstar.’ I mean, I don’t know if people do that, but that’s just not me. I think, where I am in life today is to do work that can positively impact other lives.”
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