Exclusive: Bollywood star Deepika Padukone talks women's empowerment and harassment in film industry

It's a time in Hollywood when a spotlight is being placed on sexual harassment and women's rights, but Indian actress Deepika Padukone says it's not just America's film industry that's plagued by sexist scandals.

The 32-year-old who has forged a successful career in both Bollywood and Hollywood, says it's important for women, regardless of where they live in the world, to now speak up and empower themselves.

And given the current climate, Deepika says there's no better time for her new female-centric film Padmaavat to be released.

deepika padukone weinstein

It's a time in Hollywood when a spotlight is being placed on sexual harassment and women's rights in light of the Weinstein scandal, but Indian actress Deepika Padukone says it's not just America's film industry that's plagued by sexist scandals. Source: Getty

Deepika says portraying Padmavati, based on real-life Indian queen Padmavati from the 13th-14th century, was so appealing because she's a character "any woman will relate to".

"I think any woman will relate to her because of the qualities that she stands for and embodies," Deepika tells Be.

"Whether it’s her power or her strength or her courage, her intelligence, her vulnerability," she continues.

deepika padukone padmaavat

The 32-year-old who has forged a successful career in both Bollywood and Hollywood, says it's important for women, regardless of where they live in the world, to now speak up and empower themselves. And given the current climate, Deepika says there's no better time for her new female-centric film Padmaavat to be released. Source: Supplied

"I feel like all of these qualities - some women are probably aware of them - but you know we have these qualities nonetheless and I feel like every woman will be able to relate or will identify with [her]."

And it's these qualities the actress admires in those who've come forward in recent months - whether famous or not - to share their experiences related to harassment and abuse.

"More power to women who come out and share their stories and I think it’s the right thing to do," says Deepika.

deepika padukone women rights harassment

"More power to women who come out and share their stories and I think it’s the right thing to do," says Deepika. Source: Getty

"I was saying to someone earlier, it’s not about women against men or men against women, it’s about what is right and what is wrong.

"The way women have been abused, and sure there have been men who have been abused as well, for me it’s really about people coming out and standing up for themselves and empowering other people in similar situations," she continues.

"If people have experiences, they should talk about this because you empower yourself and you also empower people around you, because it needs to stop."

deepika padukone ema awards

"If people have experiences, they should talk about this because you empower yourself and you also empower people around you, because it needs to stop," says Deepika - pictured here with Nina Dobrev at the 2017 EMA Awards. Source: Getty

After several years working in India's major film industry, Bollywood, Deepika recently made her debut in Hollywood, starring in xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage, opposite Vin Diesel.

But the star says the abuse we hear of is not just restricted to the entertainment industry in the East or West.

"I wouldn’t reduce it to Hollywood and Bollywood, I would just bring it down to a human level," she says.

deepika padukone instagram

Deepika says portraying Padmavati, based on real-life Indian queen Padmavati from the 13th-14th century, was so appealing because she's a character "any woman will relate to". Source: Instagram

"Whoever you are and whichever part of the world you might belong to or whichever industry you’re a part of, at a human level it’s incorrect whether you’re a man or a woman.

"And that’s what we need to focus on, not just reduce it to one industry or another industry," the actress explains.

Deepika is currently promoting her new film Padmaavat, which also stars popular actors Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor.

She describes working with these male co-stars as a "unique" experience.

vin diesel deepika padukone

After several years working in India's major film industry, Bollywood, Deepika recently made her debut in Hollywood, starring in xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage, opposite Vin Diesel. Source: Paramount

"Working with Shahid was the first time," the star explains.

"We were asked by our fans many, many times for many years to sort of come together and collaborate but for some reason it never happened," she laughs.

"And today when I look back I’m glad it didn’t because I feel like this is the film for us to come together. I always believe the right things happen at the right time."

james corden deepika padukone

Deepika is bringing her unique talents to Hollywood - seen here during an interview with James Corden. Source: Getty

As for working with Ranveer, her rumoured real-life fiance, it was an opportunity to explore a different onscreen dynamic.

"We’ve been pitted as eternal lovers in our earlier films and now to sort of completely turn that dynamic on its head and to pit us almost against each other or to create a hate story between two people who have loved each other on screen, it’s a bizarre feeling," admits Deepika.

Padmaavat releases in cinemas on January 25, with English subtitles at all major cinemas.

Got a story tip? Send it to tips@yahoo7.com.au

Want more celebrity, entertainment and lifestyle news? Follow Be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram

Back To Top