Post Chennai Express, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani Deepika Padukone is number 1

DeepikaDeepika Padukone is credited ahead of Shah Rukh Khan in Chennai Express.
There's a shot in Cocktail where the smoky eyed-bronzed glossed Deepika Padukone strides confidently in a slinky dress as if she walked straight out of a Vogue fashion shoot. Without displaying even an ounce of self-consciousness, she gives us a look—straight in the eye — from the camera as if to say, "I'm Hot. And I know it."

In Chennai Express (CE) she is credited ahead of Shah Rukh Khan (SRK's nod for women power even though he called on Yo Yo Honey Singh, known for his misogynistic lyrics to compose a last minute item song, the very hummable Lungi dance). Anyway, so Deepika is credited ahead of the superstar hero, and true enough she leads from the front with her Tamilian act. In one particular sequence that has her sleep-talking, she shows such fine comedic chops that it seems after a long wait we finally might have a comedic actress to fill in Sridevi's shoes. In the film she is as different from her party girl Cocktail avatar as she is from the nerdy-turned-glam scholar Naina act in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD).

From a rank newcomer playing a superstar in Om Shanti Om to becoming the best thing in the superstar's film in their second pairing, Deepika Padukone has claimed her place under the arch lights and how.

With things pretty tepid currently on the work front of Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor-Khan and with Priyanka Chopra targeting her global singing career, Deepika Padukone with back to back mega hits — Cocktail, Race 2, YJHD, CE — has swiftly claimed the Numero Uno position.

Not too long ago after a few unwise script calls and the public blow up of her high profile relationship with Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika was written off. Credit to her much touted professionalism, dedication, discipline and perseverance that she bounced back. Her date diary was in a mess because of the delays in the filming of Kochadaiyaan and Ram Leela. There came a point when she opted out of Race 2. After some unpleasantness, she came to a compromise with producer Ramesh Taurani and completed the Abbas-Mustan thriller with grace. The dignity with which she conducted herself with Ranbir during the publicity blitz of YJHD was also impressive.

Nothing tastes sweeter than success and Deepika must be indulging her sweet tooth right now. She's earned it. Let's give her the crown already.

harneet.singh@expressindia.com

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