One look at the Gehraiyaan trailer and you know you’re in for an intense experience that will take you deep into the different dynamics of relationships. Director Shakun Batra, starring Deepika Padukone, Siddhanth Chaturvedi, Ananya Panday and Dhairya Karwa, is set to be released on Amazon Prime Video. Prior to the release, indianexpress.com had a brief chat with Deepika Padukone in which we talked about how Gehraiyaan looks like the most intense film she’s made since 2015’s release Tamasha, which starred her opposite Ranbir Kapoor.
“Ranveer (Singh) was telling me that yesterday right after watching the movie,” smiles Deepika. She added that her Alisha Khanna character has shades of Tamasha’s Shoojit Sircar’s Piku and Tara due to the way they were written.
“There are nuances of a Piku performance or a Tamasha performance because they’re similar in the way the characters were written – real and relatable. But honestly, it’s the only common thread running through these characters that they’re as close to the real thing as possible. That said, she’s probably the most complex character I’ve ever played, which makes this role different and extremely challenging from anything I’ve done,” Deepika said.
She continued, “At the same time, some of the decisions and choices that the character makes are slightly, I would say, unconventional or choices that we are unfamiliar with. It’s because either we don’t know these people in real life, or we’ve never seen such characters in movies before. For me, the most interesting part of portraying Alisha was humanizing that character. The challenge was how to interpret it in such a way that whether you (as in the audience) agree or disagree with it, you sympathize with it. So that was exciting.
After playing such an intense character, what’s his process for letting go and moving on after a movie? “Every character you play, you put a bit of yourself into it. At least I do. I think that’s what differentiates one actor’s performance from another. And every character you play as, you take a part of it with you. You grow from that. You evolve. Even in your personal life, it affects you somewhere. At the same time, I never came home thinking ‘oh my god, the next two years I’m going to have sleepless nights because I’m playing this intense character.’ No. It’s my job, my profession. Yeah, a lot of my process is internal – I think a lot, I live a lot with those emotions, but I think I’ve learned to differentiate and compartmentalize and leave that behind on sets,” Deepika replied.
She explained that chores and the little things in life keep her grounded. “I come home and do something like order vegetables or laundry. I’m doing something unrelated to what I’ve been doing all day. This is me. It’s also what I like to do. So, I think I’m able to make a difference (work and life) and also disconnect. I leave these emotions behind me and go home. Carrying the baggage of these emotions can lead to exhaustion, I can do that but it’s a choice…and I’ve chosen not to. I choose to do something completely independent and something that keeps me grounded. And then I go back to work the next day and approach the character with new energy,” Deepika said.
In several interviews, Deepika had talked about how Gehraiyaan is yet another perspective on the complexity of relationships. When asked if the film also changed her view of relationships, the actor said it made her more empathetic and accepting of people and their struggles.
“I think I was already on my way to being less judgmental, having more empathy, more acceptance, and this movie just reinforced that feeling and that emotion in me, it’s that is, everyone has a story deeper than meets the eye. Everyone’s life is complex. Everyone faces their own set of struggles. Many people make a certain choice because of the circumstances in they’re in. And I believe the moment you understand where their mindset is, you automatically empathize and become human.
Deepika also opened up about her takeaways from the film, while explaining that they were tied to what she went through as a person. “My view of relating to people, in general, has changed or the way I look at people has changed. Of course a lot of that happened when I battled depression, mental health issues in 2014…when I realized half the people pretended to be happy when they weren’t . So the learning was not just about a certain relationship. But people in general. How can we start looking at people with a little more understanding and empathy, that’s what I take away from this film,” Deepika concluded.