With the rollicking box-office success of Farah Khan's Om Shanti Om, Deepika Padukone made her spectacular debut on the Indian celluloid. Not only did the model turned actress sweep away with all the accolades for her gorgeous looks and stunning screen-presence, but Deepika's well honed acting credentials impressed critics and audiences alike. Not many know that in order perfect her dialogue delivery, diction and acting skills, Farah Khan asked Deepika to undergo formal training with acting guru Vinod Tharani for almost a year. Deepika's personal training began two-three months before the shooting for OSO began in full swing. And that's not it. During rehearsals, Vinod would imitate Shahrukh Khan's voice and speech pattern so that Deepika would get her diction and pauses right. When contacted, Vinod confirmed the news and shared his experience of training Deepika for her grand Bollywood innings. "Yes, Farah called me and asked me to train Deepika in acting, dialogue delivery and Hindi diction for almost a year. Because Deepika is from Bangalore, we needed to especially work on her command over Hindi. She spoke Hindi only in upper notes, so it was my duty to acquaint her with lower notes of the language. I also familiarized her with classical Hindi vocabulary, the kind that is spoken in classic epics such as Mahabharata and Ramayana. I also recommended a list of Hindi books that I wanted her to read. Soon she was able to pronounce tough words such as antardesi and mahasangram with perfect fluency and flow" says Vinod. But those who've seen the film would find it impossible to believe that her Hindi has been worked on. "Yes, that's because she worked very very hard and was rigorously trained for over three months", quips Vinod
So, is it true that he imitated Shahrukh's speech pattern during rehearsals so that Deepika would perfect her pauses and dialogue delivery. "Yes I would imitate SRK's speech pattern. Shahrukh has a very unique way of delivering dialogues and his pauses during romantic or emotional scenes are periodical and predictable. So I would pause where I thought SRK would pause, so Deepika would know when to deliver her dialogue, when to pause and even when to break into a smile. Deepika would come back extremely excited from her shoots and tell me how SRK paused and spoke exactly the way I'd rehearsed with her. Basically, everything was perfected to the dot" recalls the acting guru.
When quizzed what according to him are Deepika's strengths as an actress, he left no stone unturned in waxing eloquent. "Deepika is a highly intelligent girl. She would grasp and incorporate whatever I would teach her with immediate effect. Her dedication to her work is hundred percent. Her attitude and approach is extremely professional, which I think is a big plus. She has great grasping power and memory too. Even though her diction was slightly problematic at the beginning, she countered it beautifully. The results are for all to see" says Vinod about his pretty student. Seems like Deepika is another perfectionist in the making. Aamir Khan listening?