With more powerful female protagonists, Deepika Padukone in Padmaavat has certainly changed the course by playing the undisputed queen, Rani Padmini. Albeit certain scenes were under fire by people for "glorifying Jauhar and Sati", Deepika is telling otherwise.
On overtaking the gender pay gap:
The pay is one thing. The understanding is that I'm being paid a lot more than some of my male colleagues but I have never viewed it like that. I've never viewed it as wanting to be paid more than someone else. That's just a by-product. What I see as a bigger achievement is the budget that was approved for Padmavati. Especially it being the most expensive film with a female protagonist. This opens doors for more such opportunities with such budgets.
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From a feminist perspective, her thoughts on the Jauhar scene in Padmaavat:
As an actor, you find meaning in what you are doing. Whether it is true or untrue, history or not history in that conversation but the fact that it is based upon a true story, one could sort of envisage what she would be like, you also have to look into the context of these situations when they were set. Today, would I take permission? No. To go out with my girlfriends would I take permission? Most definitely not. In the film, in that scene, in that situation, in that particular moment, it feels like the right thing. It's beyond the words that are being said. It's poetic in a sense.
If you look at Jauhar in another way, it is me uniting with my husband who sacrificed his life trying to save and protect the honour of their clan. Now if I step away from it and look at the act itself, it doesn't make any sense.
She was a warrior in a completely different way. She won a different kind of battle. In her mind she defeated Khilji 'cause he went after that one thing and he still didn't get that one thing. It is important to view a film in the time it was set in and to view it in totality.
On how difficult it would be to say goodbye to Padmavati:
It's easy because I have to do it but at the same it is hard especially characters like these which are so powerful and a performance that had literally come from my gut, they don't leave. If you ask me to do a scene from Piku today or to play Veronica again, it would come back to me easily. It won't take long to get into that space again because a lot of these characters impact your life in such a powerful way.