Deepika Padukone will not only play the lead but also produce Meghna Gulzar’s next project based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. According to a Mumbai Mirror report, she was so moved by the story that she decided to fund the movie as well.
After Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat, which released in January amid huge controversy, this will be Deepika’s first project. Meanwhile, Meghna’s last project, Raazi, also proved to be a big success. Padmaavat and Raazi are two of the most successful Bollywood films of the year so far.
“When I heard this story, I was deeply moved as it’s not just one of violence but of strength and courage, hope and victory. It made such an impact on me, that personally and creatively, I needed to go beyond and so the decision to turn producer,” Deepika told Mumbai Mirror.
Laxmi was attacked by a man in 2005 after she rejected his marriage proposal. She was one of the winners of the US State Department’s International Women of Courage Award in 2014. She also hosted a few episodes of a TV show, and walked the ramp at London Fashion Week in 2016. However, she is reportedly now without a job and facing possible eviction from her home as well.
Before joining Meghna’s project, Deepika was set to work with director Vishal Bharadwaj and Irrfan Khan on a new project. However, the project has been indefinitely postponed due to Irrfan’s ill health. “I am pushing back the film by a few months as both of my lead actors are down with different health problems. Irrfan is down with jaundice and it will take him a few weeks to recover and Deepika Padukone’s back problem which had previously developed during the shooting of Padmaavat has now resurfaced,” Vishal had tweeted in February. Irrfan later revealed that he has been diagnosed with cancer. He is currently receiving treatment in England.
Deepika will follow actors Anushka Sharma and Priyanka Chopra’s footsteps, who also turned producers with films like NH10 and Ventilator respectively. Ventilator became the 10th highest-grossing Marathi film of all time and won three National awards at the 64th National Film Awards.