Despite her prolific debut in 'Om Shanti Om', Deepika Padukone initially struggled to find her feet in Bollywood, battling poor dialogue delivery, a spat of flops, and not the best of acting abilities. But the model-turned-actress persevered, and her acting improved quickly, with 'Love Aaj Kal', 'Cocktail' and 'Yeh Jawani Hain Deewani' earning her several accolades. Some intermittent hits (Bachna Ae Haseeno, Housefull, Cocktail, Race 2, YJHD) Kept her in the game long enough to erase some of her more forgettable films. But currently Ms. Padukone is undoubtedly number one, one may argue that Kareena taking a backseat due to her recent marriage may help, however, she seems to have blindsided Katrina, Priyanka and many others too on the way to the top.
With her 2013 line up (Race 2, YJHD, Chennai Express and Ram Leela), its interesting that these films all went to the very contemporaries she displaced. While Race 2 was initially conceptualized with Kareena Kapoor in mind, Bebo bowed out due to Saif and her not wishing to repeat their unsuccessful pairing. Priyanka Chopra later signed on, but left citing 'date issues'. Deepika finally nabbed the project, and despite a tiff with the producers over her dates, ended up having the cake and eating it too, as the film moved on to become a commercial success.