Pinga, the song from December’s big release, Bajirao Mastani brings out an interesting chemistry between its two leading ladies – Priyanka Chopra (who plays Bajirao’s first wife, Kashibai) and Deepika Padukone (who plays Bajirao’s second wife, Mastani). In the song, the characters attempt to put to rest any rivalry that may exist between the two and celebrate their love for the man they are committed to, Bajirao.
Deepika credits a lot of ease that is reflected in the song to their off-screen friendship. ‘Priyanka was the first person I met when I joined the film industry. She was also the first friend I made,” she says. ‘She was already a star then. Our work may have kept us away, but we never really did grow apart. It is not as though we would call each other every day for a chat or gossip, but whenever we did get time together, we would take off,” she laughs.
Priyanka says it has a lot to do with non-filmi backgrounds they come from. ‘We have known each other for years now and our friendship has only strengthened. We have faced similar challenges. She has the discipline of a sportsperson, and I that of an Army-bred. We connected through our shared situations,” says Priyanka.
However, despite their friendship they did not get a chance to work together until now. ‘I suppose it was so destined that she be my guardian angel and supporting backbone in a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film!” laughs Priyanka, adding, ‘Barely three days into the shoot and I was having serious doubts about continuing with Bajirao Mastani because of hectic schedule. All credit to both Deepika and Ranveer to make sure I kept going.” Reportedly, when Priyanka ordered a dance gear for herself from the US, she ordered one for Deepika as well.
“It was fun working together. If there was a step that I found difficult to perform, she would encourage me and vice versa. There were days when we both wanted to give up and there were others when we both came in with the same kind of energy. I couldn’t have asked for a better co-star,” says Deepika.
In this day and age of cat fights and cold wars, this mutual support and admiration between two actresses makes Bajirao Mastani stand out. “We were so comfortable shooting the Pinga song that it actually bothered some people. Primarily, because it went against what a lot of people imagine the relationship between two actresses would be. They expected a lot of tension between the two of us and jealousies pertaining to the look or costumes, but they got none of that. Even Sanjay would crack an occasional joke and say ‘why can’t you fight?,’” shares Deepika.
It is not as if they did not fight at all. The duo, like any good friends, would spar but none would hold it against the other. “Once, I saw Deepika eating salad that had raw tomatoes in it. I am no lover of tomatoes so I really got put off and reacted in a way I shouldn’t have. Thankfully, she is easy enough to make me want to go up to her the next day and apologise,” says Priyanka, adding, ‘Retrospectively, my mom is thankful to Deepika because she actually made like tomatoes!”
The two would often discuss larger issues. ‘For example, the huge disparity between remuneration for men and women. We both feel that to be taken seriously as professionals, it’s going to be a long battle for women. People on the set would make fun and call it our ‘big talk’,” Priyanka laughs.
Priyanka refers to Deepika as her ‘family” and Deepika calls Priyanka her ‘energy booster”. Sure enough, the two girls get along like a house on fire on and off the sets. We hope to see many more joint ventures in the future.
- Deepika Padukone is seen doing physically tough scenes in Bajirao Mastani, such as sword fighting and sporting a 20 kg-armour.
- The original choice for the roles of Bajirao and Mastani were Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai. But they officially broke up and Bhansali couldn’t cast them together.
- In the first video song that was released, Deewani Mastani, Deepika is shown wearing a stunning attire created by designer Anju Modi.
- Deepika was trained in Kathak by none other than Pandit Birju Maharaj to bring perfection to her role.
- In preparation for her role of Kashibai, Priyanka underwent an extensive 15-day coaching course to learn the Marathi dialect of that era.
- According to Priyanka, her role in Bajirao Mastani had been the most mentally-exhausting role ever.
- Priyanka had teamed up with Bhansali for an item song in Ram-Leela where Ranveer and Deepika played the lead pair.