She briefly flirted with action in Chandni Chowk to China (2009), Race 2 (2013), Bajirao Mastani (2015) and XXX: Return of Xander Cage (2017). But an out-and-out action role was missing from Deepika Padukone’s filmography until Pathaan came her way. The espionage thriller, which marks Shah Rukh Khan’s return to films after over four years, sees Padukone as a ruthless spy. She was the first choice of director Siddharth Anand, who was certain that she would be able to pull off action set-pieces with ease.
His belief was reaffirmed when Padukone pulled off a crucial fight sequence that saw her manoeuvring the Gatling gun. For the unversed, the Gatling gun is one of the best known rapid-firing multiple-barrel firearms. “There is nothing cooler or sexier than a woman wielding a powerful weapon on screen. As a film-buff, I have always loved women doing sick action sequences,” says the director.
Padukone trained extensively with action director Craig Macrae for the stunts, to become the “bad**s” femme fatale that Anand had envisioned for the thriller. All praise for her, the director says, “We wanted to present Deepika in her most bad**s avatar — a gorgeous, gun-toting, femme fatale spy. You have to see the way she wields the Gatling gun to believe that she is a bona fide action [star].”
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