It’s evident she anticipates a question about Priyanka Chopra, who is also negotiating the waters in Hollywood. The Quantico star is set to appear in the Baywatch movie opposite another heavyweight action star, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. There have been murmurs that the friendship between DP and PC, who swore undying loyalty only a year ago while filming Bajirao Mastani, has subsequently soured. On that, Padukone will say nothing. On their relationship and the parallels being drawn, she is characteristically stoic. “We have had very different beginnings. I still remember I was in school when she won Miss World! I’ve known her for many years and nothing has changed.” Rejecting the notion that the two actors are in competition over similar career trajectories, Padukone insists that “everyone will have a different path and a different journey.” “What she wants from her career will be very different from what I want and that needs to be understood and respected,” she says.
Is it lonely at the top? “Well, I wouldn’t know. My focus has always been on the journey… on doing good and challenging work and enjoying the process,” she says.
Padukone would rather focus on the positives. In the weeks ahead, she’ll reunite with Sanjay Leela Bhansali and her boyfriend Ranveer Singh for their third film together, an ambitious costume drama on the life and tragic death of Rani Padmavati. She’s chuffed that the conversation around mental health and depression has only gotten louder since she set up the Live Love Laugh Foundation less than a year ago. Vanity Fair recently featured her in their prestigious portfolio, Hollywood’s Next Generation. And Forbes has her down as the 10th richest actress in the world (the only Indian on a list comprising Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts), noting that “she earns less than her Hollywood counterparts for roles but compensates with over a dozen lucrative endorsements.” “I’ve never been driven by money. It has never been my priority or ambition. But it makes me happy to know that when I focus on the things that I love doing and I’m so passionate about, it can result in something like this,” she says of the Forbes ranking. For Padukone, success is measured by the journey and not the destination, she insists. “As long as I can sit here and enjoy the experiences I’m having, the rest is gravy.” Some pasta with that can’t hurt.
Photographed by Tarun Vishwa; Styled by Anaita Shroff Adajania; Creative direction by Sabyasachi Mukherjee Concept: Sabyasachi Mukherjee. Hair: Daniel Bauer/Artist Factory. Make-up: Anil Chinnappa. Production: Temple Road Productions; Divya Jagwani. Art direction and prop styling: Dipankar Dasgupta. Photographer’s assistants: Raju Raman; Nishant Radhakrishnan. Assistant stylist: Priyanka Kapadia. Production assistant: Janine Dubash
Article: Vogue India – Cover Story (November 2016)