I remember my informal chat with Deepika Padukone when the First Look of ‘Cocktail‘ came out. She mentioned that this was a film ‘closest to her heart’. Now while celebrities are expected to make such statements around the release of every film of theirs, regardless of the content (or the lack of it), Deepika has been different since she uses such words judiciously and only if a project really warrants. However this film was the chosen one and today if she is on a high, one can credit that to her ‘choice of Cocktail’. Apparently she had a choice to pick any of the two roles and she picked Veronica over Meera.
“That’s right”, she admits, “In fact I was the first to come board when there was no Diana Penty, no Homi Adajania and guess what, not even Saif Ali Khan as the lead. The only person who was putting together the film was Dinu (Dinesh Vijan) and he approached me for the film.”
Deepika was in Mauritius for the shoot of ‘Break Ke Baad‘ when she was offered these roles. Since she was occupied with the shoot then, she promised Dinesh that she would revert once back in Mumbai.
“Yes, on my return I did go through the script but was indecisive. The question now was not about whether I was doing the film or not but the fact that both roles seemed so interesting to me that it was difficult to pick and choose”, she smiles.
During this indecisive phase of hers, Dinesh got a tad impatient since he was expecting Deepika to call her within a couple of days of her return. Soon, she got a call from the producer who asked her point blank whether she was interested in the film or not. “Yeah, that’s the kind of relationship we share where we can just pick up the phone and say things straight without ghuma-phira kar”, smiles Deepika, “This is when I told him about my predicament.”
Eventually the man who helped her take the final call was no one else but her ‘Love Aaj Kal‘ director Imtiaz Ali. Since he is also the writer of ‘Cocktail’, he could see Deepika fitting the bill into the part of Veronica. “Yes, he also suggested that it would be lot more challenging for me to playing Veronica”, she reveals, “I went by his words and by the time I took the decision, Saif and Homi also came on board.”
This also resulted in second successive outing for Deepika which had the name Imtiaz Ali associated with it, something that no other actress has been able to achieve so far. Also, since Imtiaz is known for writing something special for his leading ladies (it’s a different matter that Nargis Fakhri’s performance in ‘Rockstar‘ couldn’t really stand up to the written word, leave aside elevating it further), Deepika was more than glad to land a role in film with him as a writer.
Says Deepika, “I am a huge fan of Imtiaz’s writing. I feel that the way he writes his scripts make them all so complete. I like his sensibilities when it comes to love stories because none of the characters or situations is clichéd. Even if I am not a part of his films, I like watching the stories that he has to tell. So yes, the conversation with Imtiaz made a lot of difference.”
Well Deepika, we would like to see the effort really pay off once the film hits the screens this Friday.