A 'record opening' for Deepika Padukone? Well yes, for the trivia hunter here is a scoop before we get into further details. Believe it or not, but Deepika holds a record that could well be a point of envy for most of her peers and contemporaries. Ever since she burst into the Bollywood scene with Om Shanti Om, she has made the fastest march towards finishing as many as 15 films as a Bollywood leading lady inside 6 years flat, something that has been left unchallenged.
With Chennai Express as her 15th Hindi film, she is all set to hit the milestone. We explore her Box Office journey so far in this Three part series.
The 'big league' charm
That Deepika wasn't willing to settle down for anything lesser was apparent from the fact that even when offers had started pouring in much before Om Shanti Om happened; she had decided to play the waiting game. Of course she had a momentary stint down South but it was primarily to gain idea about what really was in store for her once she decided to step into the world of Bollywood. A music video with Himesh Reshammiya (when he was at the top of the game) was a good enough trigger for her soaring popularity in the Hindi audience circuit as well and once Om Shanti Om was announced as her launch pad, the game was certainly on.
Om Shanti Om was offered to her at the time when Shahrukh Khan was fresh out of films like Don - The Chase Begins, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and Paheli. None of them being quintessential romantic films that one associates with Shah Rukh Khan, one would have expected him to play safe and choose a popular star heroine who would play the all important role of Shanti. However he as well as second time director Farah Khan was convinced that Deepika was the girl for the job and soon her grooming kick-started full throttle.
As it happened, the film was - as the cliché goes - a 'dream start' for her. She played a double role in the film (just like Shah Rukh Khan) and though one expected this to be an out and out 'Om' show, it turned out that 'Shanti' had a substantial part to play as well. Though she got an opportunity to play a girl from today's time as well, it was the 70s look that did the trick for Deepika. Right from Dhoom Tana to Aankhon Meri Teri, she proved that she had it in her to be the quintessential heroine material.
Deepika Padukone Audience too nodded in approval and the film took a record opening all over. The film was also the fastest to cross the 50 crore mark and by the time it ended its run, Deepika was gleaming with pride as she was now the first ever debutant to boast of a film that collected close to 80 crore at the box office. Industry too welcomed her with open arms and now it was up to Deepika to make the best of the platform set for her.
Making calculated choices
Thankfully for Deepika, she had a good bunch of advisers around her. Coupled with this the fact that here was one young woman with a stable head on her shoulders and she ensured that there were no rash decisions being made. She signed a film each with three of the hottest stars in the industry, Ranbir Kapoor, Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan, hence giving out clear signals that she was here to consolidate her place as a commercial actress and wasn't even thinking of experimenting.
This means that even though Bachna Ae Haseeno had two more leading ladies other than her, Bipasha Basu and Minissha Lamba, she made sure that there was enough meat in her characterization to keep her in the thick of things from start to finish. Chandni Chowk To China still looked good on paper as it gave Deepika her second 'double role' film. Not just that as it allowed her to even get into the skin of a Chinese girl. Well, literally as she went 'fair & lovely' to an extreme degree for that part. Last but not the least there was Love Aaj Kal which came from Imtiaz Ali, the man who had just delivered Jab We Met. It was clear that she had done her homework well while her calculations gave good results too. It was now time for the audience verdict to be announced.