Deepika Padukone made her film debut opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Om Shanti Om. Six years on, they are working together again in Chennai Express – and the actress says that the on-screen chemistry still sizzles. “I think when you have Deepika and Shah Rukh in a movie, then even if the script doesn’t have that much romance, in the execution of the screenplay the romance will be added. I play a South Indian girl brought up in a conservative environment. My father is wanting to marry me off to a guy I don’t even know, so this film is about how she rebels.”
Khan jests that the big difference between working with Padukone today and when she was a debutante is that the sometime supermodel is getting taller.
The big question is whether the strong rapport they have together will see them become one of the great Bollywood matchups. Up till now, Shah Rukh Khan’s most famous pairing has been with his My Name is Khan star Kajol. Khan says of his Chennai Express co-star: “I always knew she would be a big star. I remember the first time she performed a song and we watched it on playback and everyone thought: wow, she’s a big star. In the last couple of years she’s worked on some great films, Cocktail and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. She’s very close to me so I feel very happy working on a film where I feel she has the most special role.”
It’s this ability to make Padukone feel comfortable that she finds so endearing about Khan. “I think from his side everything is the same, whether it’s Om Shanti Om or now, he’s sort of gone out of his way to make me feel comfortable. That’s a great feeling because I debuted against him, he could have made me feel very insecure but he never did that.”
There is a rumour that Khan and Padukone will soon be working together again on Happy New Year. Everyone knows that if the sparks should fly a third time around, audiences may be talking about Khan and Padukone in the same breath as such legendary Bollywood parings as Jaya Bhaduri and Amitabh Bachchan or Nargis and Raj Kapoor.
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