Deepika Padukone: International Star You Should Know

Role in Disney UTV’s "Chennai Express" has sped Deepika Padukone to the top tier of Indian actresses

Deepika Padukone

Padukone plays a woman with a past who needs to be saved by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan — and also does some saving herself — in 2013’s “Chennai Express,” which has so far grossed $65 million worldwide. (Her most recent film, “Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram-Leela,” which opened Nov. 15, has grossed $25 million worldwide.)

Padukone was born in Copenhagen and grew up in Bangalore, the daughter of Indian badminton champ Prakash Padukone. Though always athletic, Deepika opted for something else when it came time to choose a career. “I had modeled as a child and was drawn to movies (and) beauty pageants,” she says. “I enjoyed being in front of a camera.”

Debuting in a regional film, her big break came opposite Khan in 2007’s “Om Shanti Om.” Since then, Padukone, 27, has been in several Hindi films, been a spokesmodel for various products and written columns for Indian papers. Her romances have been tabloid fodder.

Just as she did last year, Padukone is working on three films simultaneously: “Happy New Year,” helmed by Farah Khan; the English-language “Finding Fanny Fernandes”; and an untitled film with helmer Imtiaz Ali and star Ranbir Kapoor. “You can have overlap,” she says. “Once I’m dressed, I’m in that character.”

The actress, repped by CAA Kwan in India, says she would love to work in Hollywood. “I’m a Woody Allen fan,” she reveals. “That’s the kind of cinema I would like to do. Simple love stories or drama; that’s what I’m drawn to even in Hindi cinema.”