Deepika Padukone played the role of acid attack survivor Malti in her recently released film Chhapaak that tanked at the box office. But rather than taking the lesson that her political misadventure at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) backfired, affecting her earnings from brand endorsements too, Deepika has begun avoiding scripts with serious issues these days, sources in the film industry say.
It is reported that filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar approached Deepika for her next film. The film will be a biopic of 19th-century Bengali actress-singer Binodini Dasi.
Binodini is one of the first actresses in Bengal. She dominated Kolkata’s theatre for over a decade and was also known as Nati Binodini. Born to prostitution, she started her career as a courtesan and at age twelve she played her first serious dramatic role in Calcutta’s National Theatre in 1874, under the mentorship of its founder Girish Chandra Ghosh, a Bengali musician, poet, hair designer, playwright, novelist, theatre director and actor. He was largely responsible for the golden age of Bengali theatre. A legend about him goes that Ramakrishna Paramahansa was so moved by his portrayal of a villainous character that the holy man had hurled his slippers on the actor on the stage.
Back to the present, a source in Bollywood said, “The filmmakers met Deepika a few months ago and told her the story. Deepika liked the story a lot and asked for a script reading session. After this, she got busy with Chhapaak promotions and the matter got stuck.”
“After about a month, her team said that Deepika would not be able to work in this film because she did not want to work in a film so serious for some time that would squeeze her emotionally,” the source said.
Another film trade insider said, “After Chhapaak, Deepika might want to take some time to be a part of an emotional film again and hence she is looking for a romantic-comedy film.”
After Deepika turned down the plot of Binodini, the makers approached Aishwarya Rai and she liked the story too. The final script of the film is almost ready and Aishwarya has given her consent verbally, said a source. The film will be made in Hindi. Parts of the plot will be taken from the autobiography of Binodini Das.
Deepika has appeared in her recently released film opposite Vikrant Massey. In the coming days, the sports drama film 83 (based on the real-life story of the Indian cricket team’s Prudential World Cup victory in 1983 in Lord’s, England) and Shakun Batra’s romantic drama will feature her alongside Siddhant Chaturvedi and Ananya Pandey.