Deepika, who hails from Bengaluru, made her Bollywood debut in 2007 movie ‘Om Shanti Om’ and was recently conferred with the Time 100 Impact Award.

Actor Deepika PadukonePTI file image
Flix Bollywood Tuesday, May 10, 2022 - 16:50

Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone, who was recently conferred with the Time 100 Impact Award which is given in recognition of leaders who have made extraordinary efforts to shape the future of their industries, spoke to Vogue India about her journey in the Hindi film industry since her debut 15 years ago. While speaking to journalist Faye D’Souza for Vogue’s cover story, Deepika, who hails from Bengaluru, said that her south Indian accent was initially frowned upon.

Her father, Prakash Padukone, is a former professional badminton player, her mother Ujjala, is a travel agent, and her younger sister, Anisha, is a golfer.  In response to a question about the gender disparity in the film industry, Deepika said, “I do see the obvious disparity between men and women in almost any aspect of life, but never in my journey have I felt the need to compare. And I think it’s to do with the fact that my sister and I weren’t brought up like that. We weren’t constantly reminded of the fact that we were girls, and so we had to go into the world thinking differently and fighting for what we deserved. But I did have to tackle other challenges. Coming from a sports background meant I did not have a natural inroad into Bollywood. My South Indian accent was also frowned upon and I initially worried about being written off because of it.”

She also spoke about observing the industry as an outsider and playing a role in influencing how women characters are portrayed in Hindi cinema, Deepika said. “As an outsider to the industry, I inadvertently ended up becoming an observer, which I believe has enabled me to change the status quo. Earlier, I probably didn’t have the confidence or the clout to be able to effect change, but the desire for it was always there. Even as a child, I was always curious about why things were done a certain way. I would never take anything lying down or be satisfied with things being handed to me on a platter.” 

Deepika is one of the few celebrities in the country who has spoken about her struggle with anxiety and depression. She has been an active advocate of supporting the cause of mental health awareness since 2015. She has also launched her mental health awareness foundation ‘Live,Love,Laugh’. Sharing her observation about portrayal of mental health and how the industry could be more sensitive, Deepika shared that it needs to be done with more understanding and empathy.

She also added, “Something I personally hope to do in the next few years is to have a therapist present on film sets. We have a doctor on set, so I don’t see why we can’t have a mental health professional too. During Chhapaak (2020), I brought on a therapist for myself because there were days where I would have a panic attack or feel claustrophobic — it wasn’t easy carrying the emotion that came from playing Malti (the protagonist) for so many months. To have a therapist hold my hand through that was important to me.”

Deepika also noted that as a producer she would like to make therapy available for the whole crew.

Deepika is scheduled to attend the Cannes Film Festival as one of the jury members. According to media reports, the actor was spotted at the airport before traveling to France for Cannes, which will be taking place between May 17 to May 28. 

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