The World Under Her Feet: Deepika Padukone

In an industry as fiercely competitive as Bollywood, being top gun is no mean feat. However, Deepika Padukone has made the top spot her own and that too with so much ease and panache. Daughter of the famous Bangalore-based Badminton player Prakash Padukone and Ujjala Padukone, she followed in her father’s footsteps and took up the same sport. She turned her attention to modelling and movies soon, with a Kannada film Aishwarya opposite actor Upendra in 2006. She left her home in Bangaloreat the age of 18 and after her hit film Om Shanti Om with Shah Rukh Khan, she shifted to Bollywood and there has been no looking back, since!

There are so many facets to this lovely lady and just the few that we have come across have left us all in awe. Her boldness, composure and down-to-earth attitude, combined with a figure to die for, have brought her to where she is today. Having herself suffered from depression, Deepika formed The Live Love Laugh Foundation to help spread awareness on mental health. She has never shied away from voicing her opinions on social issues and has always believed in doing her part for the society. Here’s acandid chat with the reigning Bollywood queen.

Inputs from Namita Gupta

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“Deepika Padukone, actor and founder, The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF), was honored with the 26th Annual Crystal Award at the opening session of the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Annual Meeting that took place in January 2020 in Davos.”

On DP’s Mind…

Rasam Saadham:
Rasam and rice is life to me! I eat it everyday. Even today, I just had it for lunch. These are the first to be made at home, almost daily! Rasam always reminds me of home and is sort of a welcome-back-home dish!

Love:
It is very important and the basis of everything! Whether it is being loved or giving love or simply loving what you do, love is what drives people. It is what unites people!

Superstar Rajinikanth:
His childlike passion and enthusiasm have stayed with me, right from the time we worked together in Kochadaiyaan! He had just recovered from his ill health but the energy and enthusiasm he brought to the shooting spot was very special for me to see!

“Maybe because I am from a sports background, I don’t give up easily. I am a fighter!”

Fame:
It is a part of what I do but it is definitely not the “be all”, anymore!

Ad-films:
I love working in advertisements and it reminds me of my modelling days. It is also very challenging as we have to emote or convey the required expressions in a very short period of time. I find that highly exciting!

Selfies:
The word “Sefies” makes me think of all my fans. Everytime someone wants a picture, they ask me if they could take a selfie. The old style of taking out a camera and asking somebody else to take a picture is no longer in vogue. Everybody wants only selfies, nowadays. When I started out in movies, camera phones weren’t around, but this is the way of life now. I have actually gotten used to the fan moments with selfies.

Beauty regime:

It is important to keep your skin moisturised at all times. I use a light moisturiser to keep my skin soft. I make sure I eat healthy, drink lots of water, sleep well and don’t take stress.

Work-life balance:

It’s not easy to find the time with our hectic schedules, but whenever I can, I try to spend time at home to unwind.

Favourite holiday hot spots:

I love bright, hot and sunny places. I love the water and beaches.

What next after Chhapaak:

83, Mahabharat, The Intern, Radha Krishna.

Mental health and battling depression:
I have realised that taking care of the mind is as important as taking care of our physical health. It has made me realise how fragile our mind is, how common mental health issues are and all the stigma attached to it.To all those who are battling depression, I would ask them to be patient! More importantly, express yourself and seek help and always believe that there is hope.

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“To me, the mind and body are one. I’m very transparent, in a way and people can very easily make out what mood I’m in!”

Live Love Laugh:
Try and make it the motto of our lives!The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) was set up in 2015 to give hope to every person experiencing stress, anxiety and depression. $1 trillion dollars is the estimated impact caused by anxiety and depression on the global economy. It is important to understand that anxiety and depression are like any other illness and are treatable. However, in my experience acceptance is the first step. Few years ago, we wouldn’t even talk to our families about how we felt emotionally, let alone seeking professional help. Four years on, we as a nation, have come a long way in bringing that conversation to the fore.As key stakeholders in shaping the global mental health narrative prioritising mental health in the workplace and various other communities; integrating mental health curriculum in educational institutions; providing accessibility to affordable mental health care; and; enhancing funding for mental health are some of the focus areas that we believe are the need of the hour.We also have Live, Love, Laugh – a lecture series where we invite the world’s foremost thinkers and achievers to present their ideas that could help shape the global mental health narrative. Our maiden lecture was delivered by Pulitzer prize winning author and Padma Shri Awardee, Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee.The Live Love Laugh Foundation (TLLLF) received the 2019 Dr Guislain “Breaking the Chains of Stigma” Award. The Live Love Laugh Foundation has worked on several initiatives with a specific focus on destigmatising mental illness and creating awareness about mental health. This award further validates our work. Anna Chandy, Chairperson of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and I believe that not a single life should be lost due to mental illness and we continue our efforts in giving hope to those struggling with stress, anxiety and depression (SAD).