Looks like actress Deepika Padukone has finally zeroed in on her next Bollywood project. Deepika will portray the role of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal in a film directed by Meghna Gulzar, reports trade analyst Taran Adarsh, something which has also been corroborated by a report in Filmfare. Deepika Padukone has also come on board as a producer of the film. In an interview with the publication, the 32-year-old actress explained her decision and said: "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."
"We look forward to commencing our journey on the film," Deepika added in her interview.
When the Raazi director was asked why Deepika was selected for the role of Laxmi, who was attacked at the age of 15, Meghna said she simply trusted her instincts: "I was instinctively convinced that Deepika would do justice to the character and the story. Also, her physicality matched with what I'd imagined for Laxmi's character."
Casting Deepika in the role will also have a greater impact on the audience, she said. "I'm grateful and encouraged that she was so spontaneous in her decision to do the film. When you take a face as beautiful as hers and portray her as an acid attack survivor, the magnitude of the violence and damage is that much more resounding," Meghna Gulzar told Filmfare.
Laxmi Agarwal - whom Deepika Padukone will play in the movie - is a TV show host and a campaigner with Stop Acid Attacks. Laxmi, who was chosen as NDTV Indian Of The Year, heads the NGO Chhanv Foundation, which aims to ensure better lifestyle and mental health for acid attack survivors in India. Deepika Padukone runs an NGO of her own. In 2015, she opened up about battling depression, after which she founded the Live Love Laugh Foundation to help those struggling with mental illness.
Meghna Gulzar's film marks Deepika's first Hindi movie after "Padmaavat" - her film on Mumbai gangsters with Irrfan Khan has been postponed indefinitely owing to the actor's medical condition. Deepika Padukone has also been cast in the fourth xXx film opposite Vin Diesel, in which she will reprise her role as Serena Unger from xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage.