Bollywood actors Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone Image Credit: GN Archives

Perhaps the worst-kept open secrets in Bollywood has finally been confirmed, with actress Deepika Padukone now going on record that she is indeed starring alongside Shah Rukh Khan in ‘Pathan’.

The stories about Khan’s comeback film since 2018’s ‘Zero’ have been doing the rounds for months, but neither the makers, nor have any of the stars spoken about the project till date. Aside from Padukone, John Abraham also reportedly stars in the project being produced by Yash Raj Films.

Khan had dropped a video on social media earlier this month, confirming that he would be returning to the screen this year, without announcing the film.

In a Femina magazine interview with Padukone, who is one of the most sought after stars in Bollywood today, the actress not only spoke about ‘Pathan’, but also confirmed that she is to play Draupadi in the retelling of the mythological epic, the Mahabharata, along with starring in Shakun Batra’s next.

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Deepika Padukone Image Credit: Instagram.com/deepikapadukone

Speaking in detail about her upcoming films, Padukone said: “It [Batra’s film] is a relationship story that we haven’t seen in Indian cinema before. Then there is ‘Pathan’, an action film with Shah Rukh Khan, next is Nag Ashwin’s multilingual film with Prabhas.

“Then I am doing which is a remake of Anne Hathaway’s movie ‘The Intern’, which is so relevant in today’s times when you have the millennial and the older generation coming together. And then, the most famous story coming out of our country, Mahabharata, in which I am playing Draupadi; I want to tell that story to the world.”

While the mythological film is based on the book by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, ‘The Palace of Illusions’, ‘The Intern’ remake is said to undergo a casting change following the death of Rishi Kapoor who was to play Robert DeNiro’s role to Padukone’s Anne Hathaway.

The Palace of Illusions
The Palace of Illusions Image Credit: Supplied

When quizzed in the same interview about picking favourites, the actress said: “That is like having five different children and being asked to choose one. I have always been someone who only says ‘yes’ to a project when it comes from my gut, and I know I have something special to offer as a character. So, it’s not like I planned it; in 2013, I remember people asked me, ‘Oh, did you plan four or five releases a year?’ No! When these films are written or offered to you, you never know how they will play out.”

She added, “This year I am going to be doing five films. I think in some ways the pandemic panned out creatively because it was a time when people in the arts were writing and they were coming to me with stories I really connected with.”

Padukone will also star in the recently announced film ‘Fighter’ with Hrithik Roshan, which is slated to release next year.