Deepika Padukone (born 5 January 1986) is an Indian film actress and model. One of the most popular and highest-paid Indian celebrities, she has established a career in Hindi films, and is the recipient of several awards, including three Filmfare Awards.
Padukone, the daughter of the badminton player Prakash Padukone, was born in Copenhagen and raised in Bangalore. As a teenager she played badminton in national level championships, but left her career in sport to become a fashion model. She soon received offers for film roles, and made her acting debut in 2006 as the titular character of the Kannada film Aishwarya. Padukone then played dual roles in her first Bollywood release—the 2007 blockbuster Om Shanti Om—and won a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. Padukone received praise for portraying the lead female roles in the romance Love Aaj Kal (2009) and the drama Lafangey Parindey (2010), but her performances in the romance Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008) and the comedy Housefull (2010) met with negative reviews.
The 2012 box office hit Cocktail marked a turning point in Padukone’s career, earning her praise and Best Actress nominations at several award ceremonies. She rose to prominence with starring roles in the comedies Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (2013), Chennai Express (2013), and Happy New Year (2014) and the historical romance Bajirao Mastani (2015), all of which rank among the highest-grossing Bollywood films. Padukone’s acclaimed performances in the dramas Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013) and Piku (2015) garnered her two Best Actress awards at Filmfare.
Alongside her acting career, Padukone participates in stage shows, has written columns for an Indian newspaper, is a prominent celebrity endorser for brands and products, and is vocal about issues such as feminism and depression. In 2013, she began her own line of clothing for women, and in 2015, she launched the foundation “Live Love Laugh” to create awareness on mental health in India.
Padukone announced in 2006 that she would make her film debut with Aishwarya, a Kannada film directed by Indrajit Lankesh.The romantic comedy was a remake of the Telugu film Manmadhudu, and she was cast in the titular role opposite the actor Upendra. The film proved a major commercial success. RG Vijayasarathy of Rediff.com was appreciative of Padukone’s screen presence but added that “she needs to work on her emotional scenes.”
By the end of 2006, Farah Khan’s Happy New Year was shelved, and Khan had instead cast Padukone for the reincarnation melodrama Om Shanti Om (2007). Set against the backdrop of the Hindi film industry, the film tells the story of a struggling actor in the 1970s who dies soon after witnessing the murder of the woman he loved, and is reincarnated to avenge her death. Shah Rukh Khan starred as the protagonist, and Padukone featured in dual roles—Shantipriya, a leading actress of the 1970s, and later as Sandy, an aspiring actress. She said, “I’ve grown up watching and always admired him so much. To get to work with him … is quite wonderful. It was also fantastic that Farah showed faith in my talent and cast me opposite him.” In preparation for her role, Padukone watched several films of actresses Helen and Hema Malini to study their body language, which she felt “were more graceful” and “completely different from today’s actors.”