Padukone, the daughter of the badminton player Prakash Padukone, was born in Copenhagen and raised in Bangalore. As a teenager, she played badminton in national level championships but left her career in the sport to become a fashion model. She soon received offers for film roles and made her acting debut in 2006 as the title character of the Kannada filmAishwarya. Padukone then played a dual role opposite Shah Rukh Khan in her first Bollywood release, the romance Om Shanti Om (2007), which won her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. Padukone received praise for her starring role in the romance Love Aaj Kal (2009), but this was followed by a brief setback.
Padukone is the chairperson of the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image and is the founder of the Live Love Laugh Foundation, which creates awareness on mental health in India. Vocal about issues such as feminism and depression, she also participates in stage shows, has written columns for a newspaper, designed her own line of clothing for women, and is a prominent celebrity endorser for brands and products. Padukone is married to her frequent co-star Ranveer Singh.
Padukone was born on 5 January 1986 in Copenhagen, Denmark to Konkani-speaking parents. Her father, Prakash Padukone, is a former professional badminton player and her mother, Ujjala, is a travel agent. Her younger sister, Anisha, is a golfer. Her paternal grandfather, Ramesh, was a secretary of the Mysore Badminton Association. The family relocated to Bangalore, India when Padukone was a year old. She was educated at Bangalore's Sophia High School and completed her pre-university education at Mount Carmel College. She subsequently enrolled at the Indira Gandhi National Open University for a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology but later quit it due to scheduling conflicts with her modelling career.
Padukone has said that she was socially awkward as a child and did not have many friends. The focus of her life was badminton, which she played competitively from a young age. Describing her daily routine in a 2012 interview, Padukone said, "I would wake up at five in the morning, go for physical training, go to school, again go for playing badminton, finish my homework, and go to sleep." Padukone continued to pursue a career in badminton throughout her school years and played the sport in national level championships. She also played baseball in a few state level tournaments. While concentrating on her education and sporting career, Padukone also worked as a child model, first appearing in a couple of advertising campaigns at the age of eight. In the tenth grade, she changed focus and decided to become a fashion model. She later explained, "I realised that I was playing the game only because it ran in the family. So, I asked my father if I could give up the game and he wasn't upset at all." In 2004, she began a full-time career as a model under the tutelage of Prasad Bidapa.
Early in her career, Padukone gained recognition with a television commercial for the soap Liril and modelled for various other brands and products. In 2005, she made her runway debut at the Lakme Fashion Week for designer Suneet Varma and won the "Model of the Year" award at the Kingfisher Fashion Awards. Padukone's fame increased when she appeared in a highly popular print campaign for the 2006 Kingfisher Calendar; the designer Wendell Rodricks commented, "Since Aishwarya Rai, we haven't had a girl as beautiful and fresh." Rodricks had spotted her at a Ganjam jewellery class he was teaching and signed her up with the Matrix agency. At the age of 21, Padukone relocated to Mumbai and stayed at her aunt's home. That year, she gained wider recognition by featuring in the music video for Himesh Reshammiya's song "Naam Hai Tera".
Padukone soon began to receive offers for film roles. Believing herself to be too inexperienced as an actor, she instead enrolled for a course at Anupam Kher's film academy. Following much media speculation, the director Farah Khan, who had noticed her in Reshammiya's music video, made the decision to cast her for a role in Happy New Year. Fashion designer Wendell Rodricks also takes credit in helping her get the role. Farah Khan was looking for a model to star in her next film, and got in touch with Malaika Arora. Rodricks, for whom Padukone had been modelling for roughly two years then, recommended her to Arora, a close friend of his, who in turn recommended her to Khan in 2007.
Padukone had five film releases in 2010. Her first role was in the psychological thriller Karthik Calling Karthik, where Padukone was cast as the supportive girlfriend of a depressed man (played by Farhan Akhtar). Derek Elley of Variety found the film to be "thinly plotted" but considered "the uncomplicated ingenuousness of Padukone" to be the film's highlight. Commercially, the film performed poorly. Her most financially profitable film that year was Sajid Khan's ₹1.15 billion (US$16 million)-grossing comedy film Housefull in which she featured alongside an ensemble cast headlined by Akshay Kumar.Raja Sen described the film as a "festival of bad acting" and attributed Padukone's poor performance to her "plasticky expressions."
Padukone began 2011 with an item number in Rohan Sippy's Dum Maaro Dum. She referred to it as "the wildest song any actress has done;" the song's sexual content attracted controversy including a court case for indecency. Her next film was Prakash Jha's socio-political drama Aarakshan, which dealt with caste-based reservations in India. Trade journalists had high expectations for the film which ultimately flopped at the box office. Critical reaction was largely negative, though Pratim D. Gupta mentioned Padukone as the most "refreshing thing" about it. Her final appearance that year was in Rohit Dhawan's comedy-drama Desi Boyz alongside Akshay Kumar, John Abraham and Chitrangada Singh, a role that failed to propel her career forward. The series of poorly received films led critics to perceive that Padukone had "[lost] her sparkle."
Establishing as a leading lady (2012–2015)
Padukone has said that her starring role in the 2012 Homi Adajania-directed romantic comedy Cocktail marked a significant turning point in her career. Raja Sen of Rediff.com opined that she had successfully proved to be a "stunning girl who can also act." Set in London, Cocktail tells the story of a man's relationship with two temperamentally different women—an impulsive party girl (Veronica, played by Padukone) and a submissive girl next door (Meera, played by Diana Penty). During the script narration, the producer Dinesh Vijan offered Padukone the choice of which woman to play; she decided on Veronica to expand her horizons as an actress. Portraying the role was a creative and physical challenge for her, and to achieve the physical requirements of her character she exercised extensively and followed a rigorous diet. Critics were divided in their opinion of the film, but particularly praised Padukone's performance; Devesh Sharma of Filmfare credited her as the "soul of the film" and wrote that she "excels in every scene, whether as a material girl who enjoys sex, drugs and rock and roll or as the jealousy ridden girl out to destroy herself."Cocktail earned Padukone Best Actress nominations at several award ceremonies, including Filmfare, Screen, and IIFA. The film proved to be a box office success as well.
In 2013, Padukone had established herself as a leading actress of Hindi cinema by featuring in four of the top-grossing productions of the year. She collaborated with Saif Ali Khan for the fourth time in Abbas-Mustan's Race 2, an ensemble action thriller that served as a sequel to Race (2008). The film received predominantly negative reviews, but with a total collection of ₹1.62 billion (US$23 million), it proved to be a commercial success.Ayan Mukerji's romantic comedy Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani was Padukone's next film release. Co-starring opposite Ranbir Kapoor, she was cast as Naina Talwar, a "shy wallflower," which marked a departure from the glamorous characters that she had a reputation for portraying. Raja Sen thought that the film "lacked a good story" but added that Padukone "acts within herself and eschews exaggeration, and the results are impressive ... This may be her most self-aware performance so far". The pairing of Padukone with her former boyfriend was anticipated, and the film emerged as a major commercial success. Her next appearance was opposite Shah Rukh Khan in Rohit Shetty's action-comedy film Chennai Express, as a Tamil girl on the run from her father (a local don), which required that she adopt a Tamil accent. Critical opinion on her accent was mixed, but her performance received praise; film critic Aseem Chhabra wrote, "Padukone is delightful in the film—beautiful, smiling, and often a lot more playful and funny than Khan."Chennai Express earned over ₹3.95 billion (US$55 million) to emerge as one of the highest-grossing Indian films.
Padukone next played opposite Ranveer Singh in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, an adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy of Romeo and Juliet from director Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Her role was Leela, a Gujarati girl based on the character of Juliet. Initially titled Ram-Leela, the film's title was changed after a court case was registered against Bhansali, Padukone, and Singh for "offending the religious sentiments" of the Hindu community by showcasing sex and violence under a title that referred to the life of Rama.Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela released among protests across several states in India, but was generally well received by critics. Meena Iyer of The Times of India mentioned Padukone as "breathtaking", and writing for Deccan Chronicle, Khalid Mohamed concluded that "it's Deepika Padukone whom the film belongs to. Looking drop dead gorgeous and going at her part with a wallop, she's the prime asset of Ram-Leela." Her performances in Chennai Express and Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela won her several awards, including the Screen Award for Best Actress for both films and the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for the latter.
In 2014, Padukone featured opposite Rajinikanth in the Tamil filmKochadaiiyaan, a period drama that was shot using motion capture technology. She was paid ₹30 million (US$420,000) for two days worth of work in it. In Homi Adajania's praised satire Finding Fanny, Padukone played a young widow who takes a road trip with her dysfunctional friends (played by Arjun Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia and Pankaj Kapur) in search of a woman named Fanny. The film was screened at the 19th Busan International Film Festival; critic Anuj Kumar of The Hindu wrote that Padukone successfully "takes off the fineries of Bollywood and you can sense the freedom from baggage in her performance". Later that year, she starred opposite Shah Rukh Khan for the third time in Farah Khan's renewal of Happy New Year. She played a bar dancer who trains a group of underachievers for a dance competition. Sanjukta Sharma of Mint found her role to be of minimal importance that required her only to be "a pretty thing to be laughed at and pitied", but the film became one of her most successful, earning over ₹3.4 billion (US$48 million) worldwide.
Following an appearance in Homi Adajania's online video on feminism, entitled My Choice, Padukone took on the role of a headstrong Bengali architect who cares for her hypochondriac father (played by Amitabh Bachchan), in Shoojit Sircar's comedy-drama Piku (2015). She was drawn to the depiction of a realistic father-daughter bond, which she thought was rare in Hindi cinema. Reviews for the film were positive; Tanmaya Nanda of Business Standard praised the film's feminist tone, and wrote that Padukone proves "what she is capable of when given something more to do than look pretty and be the crazy-dance girl at parties". NDTV's Saibal Chatterjee opined that she "holds Piku together with a restrained star turn". With a worldwide gross of over ₹1.40 billion (US$20 million), Piku emerged as a box office hit, and garnered Padukone several awards, including second Best Actress awards at Filmfare and Screen.
Later in 2015, Padukone played the part of a businessperson who helps Ranbir Kapoor's character overcome his conflicts in Imtiaz Ali's romantic drama Tamasha. Despite poor financial returns, Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com named Padukone's performance as the best by an actress that year, writing that she "is so potent in Tamasha, it's almost as if you can hear her heartbeat across the screen". In her final release of 2015, Padukone reunited with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ranveer Singh in Bajirao Mastani, a historical drama about a tragic extramarital affair. Singh was cast as the maratha general Bajirao I, while Priyanka Chopra and Padukone featured as his first and second wife, respectively. To play the warrior-princess Mastani, Padukone learnt sword-fighting, horse-riding, and the martial art form of kalaripayattu. With a revenue of over ₹3.5 billion (US$49 million), Bajirao Mastani proved to be the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of the year.Anupama Chopra found Padukone "riveting", but Subhash K. Jha thought that she was "way too subtle and silken, and not steely enough". The film was showcased at the International Film Festival of India; at the 61st Filmfare Awards, Bajirao Mastani was named Best Film and Padukone received her second Best Actress nomination in that year.
Professional expansion (2017–present)
The action film XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017), in which Padukone played the lead female role of Serena Unger, opposite Vin Diesel, marked her first project in Hollywood. Critical reception of the film was mixed. Tirdad Derakhshani of The Philadelphia Inquirer termed the film a "repetitious heap of remarkably tedious CGI-enhanced action scenes" and thought that Padukone's talent was wasted in it. Conversely, Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter believed that she had successfully "outclassed" Diesel to "practically [steal] the film". The film earned over US$345 million worldwide, a majority of which came from the Chinese box office. Padukone received three nominations at the Teen Choice Awards and followed it with an item number in the romantic drama Raabta.
Padukone at the premiere of Chhapaak (2020), which marked her first production venture
In 2018, Padukone portrayed Rani Padmavati, a Rajput queen who commits jauhar (self-immolation) to protect herself from the Muslim invader Alauddin Khilji, in the period drama Padmaavat; it marked her third collaboration with Bhansali and Singh. She was challenged by the need to convey her character's courage through silence and considered it to be the most emotionally exhausting role of her career. She read history books on the era and researched the various historical depictions of Padmavati.Right-wing Hindu groups speculated that the film portrayed a romantic liaison between Padmavati and Khilji; they protested violently and placed a bounty to behead Padukone and Bhansali. Following a deferment in release, the film was cleared for exhibition after several modifications were made to it.Anna M. M. Vetticad of Firstpost criticised the film's glorification of jauhar, but credited Padukone for managing to "eke something out of the stereotype-ridden writing". With an estimated budget of ₹2 billion (US$28 million), Padmaavat is one of the most expensive Hindi films, and with earnings of ₹5.45 billion (US$76 million), it is Padukone's highest-grossing release and one of Indian cinema's biggest grossers. She received another Best Actress nomination at Filmfare.
Following the success of Padmaavat, Padukone took some time off work to focus on her home and family. In 2018, she formed her own company, named Ka Productions. Her first production venture came with Chhapaak (2020), a drama by Meghna Gulzar, in which she starred as an acid attack survivor (based on Laxmi Agarwal). She found it taxing to film in extreme heat wearing prosthetic makeup on her face, and considered it to be the most physically challenging role of her career. Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express credited her for "not just putting the focus on the ravaged-skin-with a missing ear-and-nostril, but reflecting a mix of pain, anger, resignation, and finally, arriving at some kind of resolution". Teo Bugbee of The New York Times added that "Padukone is by turns inquisitive, watchful and serene but never maudlin". It did not perform well commercially.
Singh and Padukone at their wedding reception in 2018
Padukone shares a close bond with her family, and visits them regularly in her hometown of Bangalore. She lives in Prabhadevi, a neighbourhood in Mumbai, and has admitted to missing the presence of her parents there. A practicing Hindu, Padukone considers religion to be an important aspect of her life and makes frequent visits to temples and other religious shrines.
While filming Bachna Ae Haseeno in 2008, Padukone began a romantic relationship with co-star Ranbir Kapoor. She spoke openly about the relationship and sported a tattoo of his initials on the nape of her neck. She has said that the relationship had a profound effect on her, transforming her into a more confident and social person. The Indian media speculated on an engagement, and reported that this had occurred in November 2008, although Padukone had stated that she had no plans to marry within the next five years. The couple broke up a year later; she professed in an interview to feeling betrayed for a long time. In a 2010 interview, Padukone accused him of infidelity, and Kapoor later admitted to it. They reconciled their friendship while working on Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani.
Padukone subsequently became reticent to discuss her personal life, but in 2017, she fondly spoke of her relationship with her frequent co-star Ranveer Singh, whom she began dating in 2012. In November 2018, the couple married in traditional Konkani and Sindhi ceremonies at Lake Como, Italy.
In addition to acting, Padukone has written opinion columns and has been involved with women's health and fitness magazines. She has also supported charitable organisations, and has performed for stage shows. In 2009, she was hired by Hindustan Times to write weekly columns for their lifestyle section; through these columns she interacted with her fans and passed details of her personal and professional life. That year, she participated in the World 10K Bangalore marathon, which raised ₹13.1 million (US$180,000) in support of 81 NGOs. In 2010, Padukone adopted the Maharashtrian village of Ambegaon as part of NDTV's Greenathon Campaign, to provide the village with a regular supply of electricity. She visited Indian jawans (troops) in Jammu, for an Independence Day special episode of NDTV's reality show Jai Jawaan.
Padukone performing at the "SLAM! The Tour" concert in 2014
Padukone has also been outspoken on issues such as feminism and has said, "New feminism isn't about being aggressive; it's about reaching the top yet being soft. It's about being you — feminine, strong and full of will power.” In a 2015 interview, Padukone spoke about her personal experience of overcoming depression, and in October that year she formed a foundation to create awareness on mental health in India, named The Live Love Laugh Foundation. The following year, she launched a campaign named More Than Just Sad to assist general physicians in their treatment of patients suffering from depression or anxiety. Also in 2016, the foundation teamed with Facebook and the AASRA organisation to launch multilingual tools and educational resources in Facebook's networking site to support people with suicidal tendencies. Padukone became the brand ambassador for the NGO Indian Psychiatric Society and on her foundation's first anniversary, the two organisations collaborated to launch the video and poster campaign #DobaraPoocho dedicated to victims and survivors of depression. The World Economic Forum presented her with the Crystal Award in 2020 for creating awareness on mental health.
In 2020, Padukone lent her support to students who were brutalised during the 2020 JNU Attack due to their protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. Members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party criticised her decision and asked people to boycott her film Chhapaak. Many others praised her for standing up against a crackdown on dissent, as mainstream Bollywood actors avoid making political statements fearing backlash and consequences on their film.
In the media
The journalist Vir Sanghvi, in 2013, described Padukone as "strong, someone who makes up her own mind, [and] has motivation within herself." She is particularly known in the media as a professional, disciplined performer, whose "work takes precedence over everything else." A reviewer for Rediff.com described her personality as "simple," "grounded," and "accessible," and wrote, "She takes criticism in her stride, acknowledges her limitations and strives to work hard at getting better. She handles praise with equal composure." Ayan Mukerji (the director of Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) considers her to be "a woman who will flirt with you but you will love to take her home to meet your mom as well." Padukone has maintained a Twitter account since 2010, and launched an official Facebook page in 2013. She is the most followed Asian woman on Twitter.
Padukone is considered among the most popular and high-profile celebrities in India. Analysing her career, Reuters published that after making a successful debut with Om Shanti Om, she featured in a series of films for which critics labelled her as "wooden" and "mocked her accent."The Indian Express added, "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." Following the success of Cocktail, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, and Chennai Express, several media publications began crediting her as the most successful contemporary actress in India.India Today featured her among the nation's 50 most powerful people in 2017 and 2019. The global edition of Forbes ranked her as the tenth highest-paid actress in the world in 2016 and in 2018, the magazine ranked her as the highest-earning woman celebrity in India. From 2014–2016 and in 2018, she was the highest ranked woman on the Indian edition of Forbes' "Celebrity 100" (a list based on the income and popularity of celebrities), peaking at the fourth position in 2018 with an estimated annual earning of over ₹1.12 billion (US$16 million). Also in 2018, Time magazine named Padukone one of the 100 most influential people in the world, Variety featured her in their listing of the 50 most impactful women in the world, and the market research firm YouGov named her the world's thirteenth most admired woman.
Padukone is considered a sex symbol and style icon in India – the media cites her figure, height 1.74 m (5 ft 81⁄2 in), smile, and eyes as her distinctive physical features. The actress ranks high on various listings of the most attractive Indian celebrities. In 2008, she topped Indian Maxim's "Hot 100" list, and in 2012, she was named "India's Most Beautiful Woman" by the Indian edition of People magazine. Padukone has frequently featured in The Times of India's listing of the "Most Desirable Woman", topping the list in 2012 and 2013. In 2010 and 2014, she was named the "World's Sexiest Woman" by the Indian edition of FHM. and she was selected by the UK magazine Eastern Eye as the "Sexiest Asian Woman" in 2016 and 2018. Taking note of her dress sense, Filmfare credited her as one of the "few actresses who experiments with colours, cuts and silhouettes." In the fitness book The Four-Week Countdown Diet, the actress was cited by Namita Jain as "the ultimate role model for a healthy, fit and active lifestyle."
Padukone is an active celebrity endorser for several brands and products, including Tissot, Maybelline, Coca-Cola, and L'Oreal Paris, among others. In 2014, Business Standard reported that Padukone earned ₹50 million (US$700,000) to ₹60 million (US$840,000) per endorsement deal and TAM AdEX named Padukone the most visible face on television in India that year.Duff & Phelps estimated her brand value to be US$102.5 million, in 2018, the second highest of Indian celebrities. In 2020, she became the first Indian actor to campaign for the fashion company Louis Vuitton.