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The balance between technology and real performances made Kalki 2898 AD very special: Deepika Padukone

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Bollywood superstar Deepika Padukone speaks about her association with filmmaker Nag Ashwin and featuring in multi-starrer Kalki 2898 AD, which released on June 27. IBNS-TWF correspondent Souvik Ghosh pens Deepika’s thoughts on the film…
Q: How was the experience of Nag Ashwin’s world of Kalki 2898 AD?
 
A. It has been an incredible and a great learning experience for me. It was a completely new world and we went through different phases of discovering what this movie was about. 
 
I think the magic that is in Nagi’s (Nag Ashwin) head is now finally here for everyone to see and we as actors have discovered that along the way. So it has been an incredible experience both at the personal and professional level. 
 
Q. How was working with Nag Ashwin?
 
A. The film is something which is unlike anything we have experienced or seen before. Even during the narration through Covid times and Nagi was on Zoom call, one could see sparks of genius in him, though this is just his second or third movie. As he was narrating, there wasn’t much on paper but it was all in his mind. 
 
When someone looks into his (Nag Ashwin) eyes, one can see the entire visual. What he has envisioned over the years is so clear and that’s the only time, I say this in a good way, one can hear him speak articulately because that’s the one thing he is just completely consumed by and passionate about. 
 
Q. You are not just a massively popular star in India but have the experience of world cinema as well. How would you access the entire mechanism employed in this film?
 
A. I think every kind of technology that is available in the world today is probably at our disposal through this movie. We have a director who has used it so intelligently and also found that balance. With AI and things like that, one can also lose the soul of performances. I think to be able to find that balance between technology and the real performances is what makes this movie and this experience very special. 
 
Q. Was it a fact that Prabhas used to feed everyone on the set?
 
A. Yes, everyday. And it got to a point where it wasn’t just food coming from home, there was like a full catering service. So the highlight of the day almost became what Prabhas was feeding everyone. Those who know him well are aware that he feeds from the heart. 
 
Q. How different was it acting in a Telugu film after working in Bollywood all along?
 
A.  I think as actors, one is not really thinking. When an actor emotes, the language, I think, becomes secondary. Emotion is the language of cinema, right? It transcends borders. One can act in English, Telugu, Hindi, but as long as the emotion is concerned, one can say so much with eyes without saying anything at all and be able to convey that emotion. The words are more like a crutch, I feel. So, no, I didn’t feel overwhelmed in that sense working in Telugu cinema because what I was investing in as an actor is the emotional journey of the character. 
 
Q. Do you intend to do more films in Telugu?
 
A. I mean, sure (blushes). If the audience likes me, then sure (smiles). 
 

(Photo courtesy: X/@VyjayanthiFilms, Deepika Padukone Instagram, Screenshot grab)

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