By Chaitanya Padukone
The engaging bohemian rom-com movie ‘Cocktail ( 2012) directed by the affable Homi Adajania, which clocks nine years today had two heroines Deepika Padukone and film-debutante Diana Penty sparring their acting and romancing talents over a common interest lover-boy played by Saif Ali Khan. Now not many are aware that the two ‘DPs’ — Deepika and Diana seem to have a common mother-tongue—the Konkani bhaasha. Not surprisingly, Diana who shares her birthday ( November 2nd) with the King Khan ( Shah Rukh) had merited a worthy nomination for Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut in ‘Cocktail’.
Nine years ago, the slim, spunky actress-model Diana portrayed her character graph on screen with utmost ease and proved her flair for acting with her maiden outing itself. From her simplicity to her commitment, Meera, ( in ‘Cocktail’) still remains one of the most loved and appreciated on screen-characters. There was no looking back for glam-girl Diana after giving a blockbuster hit with Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone. The film became an instant hit at the box office, and Diana, with her character ‘Meera’, acquired a special place in everyone’s heart.
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Over the years, the svelte Diana Penty who has talent ‘a-plenty’ has given some of the most adorable and progressive female characters to Bollywood. From Harpreet “Happy” Kaur of ‘Happy Bhaag Jayegi’ to Gayatri Kashyap of ‘Lucknow Central,’ the versatility of Diana has been phenomenal. Diana also left both critics and the audience highly impressed with her role as Capt. Ambalika Bandopadhyay in Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran.
As the stunning actress Diana celebrates nine years in Bollywood, her ardent fans wish to watch more of her on the big screen. Hailed for her powerhouse performances, Diana will now venture into Malayalam cinema with ‘Salute,’ starring alongside heart-throb Dulquer Salmaan. She will also be seen in a much-awaited film, ‘Shiddat: Journey Beyond Love’. Regarding her bonhomie and camaraderie with ‘Cocktail’ co-star Deepika Padukone , Diana had said ,”As my first senior co-actor in my first ever film, Deepika made quite an impact, allaying my fears and giving me a memorable initiation into a world I had no clue about.
It’s important to remember that then I was young, a professional model, who was suddenly plunged into a new universe that was filled with so many unknowns, . I also remember watching in jaw dropping awe, how in ‘Cocktail’ , Deepika transformed herself into Veronica, a character that was not anything like her personally. I truly was blown away. Her smile still remains just as warm and to me she will always be the Veronica to my Meera,” recalls Diana.
( The writer Chaitanya Padukone is an eminent, award-winning senior film-journalist-columnist-author of memoirs book R D BurMania )