NEW DELHI: A decade ago when she forayed into Bollywood, Deepika Padukone never imagined she would be a Sanjay Leela Bhansali heroine.
Now, as she prepares for the release of epic drama "Padmavati", which clocks her trilogy with the filmmaker, the actress is confident the movie will tide over the controversy, hit the screens and win a "bigger battle" for the industry.
"As a woman, I feel proud to be a part of this film, and to tell this story, which needs to be told. And it needs to be told now," Deepika, who plays the title role in "Padmavati" -- Bhansali's professed tribute to the sacrifice, valour and honour of Rajput queen Rani Padmavati -- told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
Doubts on the extent to which the National Award winning filmmaker has fictionalised the story, has led to a spiralling controversy with politicians, organisations and individuals raising a finger at Bhansali for "distorting history" and demanding that the release of "Padmavati" be stalled. Deepika is convinced the movie will release, as scheduled, on December 1.
"It's appalling, it's absolutely appalling. What have we gotten ourselves into? And where have we reached as a nation? We have regressed," she said, commenting on the hullabaloo the movie is causing pre-release.
"The only people we are answerable to is the censor board, and I know and I believe that nothing can stop the release of this film," said Deepika, adding that the film industry's support symbolises how "this is not about 'Padmavati'... We're fighting a much bigger battle".
"Padmavati" marks the third film that Deepika has worked in under Bhansali's direction after romantic crime drama "Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela" and historical drama "Bajirao Mastani" -- all of which, she says, gave her roles "so similar, yet so different".
"They are very independent individuals and very strong characters," Deepika said, her voice exuding pride that in "Padmavati", while there are two men -- Shahid Kapoor and Ranveer Singh -- she essays the title role, which "does not happen often in a woman's career".
"I celebrate that," she said.
Interestingly, November has marked not just Deepika's 10 years in the film industry -- her debut film "Om Shanti Om" was released on November 9 -- but also November 15 is when "... Ram-Leela" hit the screens four years ago.
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