Bollywood celebs have been inspired by the world’s ‘woke culture’ to be bold and courageous. Instead of remaining silent and preserving good relations with Bollywood’s elite, performers have spoken out about their personal experiences, challenges, and the film industry’s hypocrisy to the press.
Fans have always praised their strength and perseverance, whether it was Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s amazing story of surviving racism in Bollywood or Vidya Balan’s journey of combating fat-shaming like the true boss that she is.
Here are 12 such performers who didn’t think twice about it previously, giving us an accurate glimpse of Bollywood’s dark side and how they fought back and created their own path to prominence. Continue reading!
1. When Nawazuddin Siddiqui slammed Bollywood racism:
“I fought against it for many years,” she told Bollywood Hungama, “and I hope that dark-skinned actresses are made heroines; it’s really important.” I’m not even talking about skin colour; there is a bias in the industry that needs to be addressed in order for better films to be produced… For many years, I was turned down solely because I’m short and have a specific appearance, though I can’t complain today. However, this kind of bias affects a lot of other brilliant actors.”
2. When Seema Pahwa spoke out against Bollywood’s unfair casting practises:
“When we talk about so-called commercial films with stars, I didn’t get work in those films,” Pahwa told Indiatimes. Even when I did acquire roles, they were either minor or servant roles, in which I had to serve tea and coffee in the frame and then return.
3. When Sonam Kapoor was asked about income inequality, she said:
Sonam was reported as saying in an interview with Hindustan Times, “‘You can afford it because you have a safety net,’ I was told. ‘You come from a well-to-do family.’ I’ve been on my own since I was 18 years old. It’s difficult for me to say no to money, but I don’t work for such producers because I believe it’s unethical to be paid less than male stars.”
4. When Anushka Sharma called out ageism in Bollywood and questioned the concept of “desirable”:
Anushka Sharma questioned the concept of ageism in an interview with the Economic Times. “She stated,” she said “They’re still amazing and cool, and I don’t mind at all. But why are women only acceptable till they are “young and desirable”? What does “desirable” imply? There’s a sexual undertone to everything. As a result, we only see women in films in that light.”
5. Priyanka Chopra on fat shaming and high aesthetic standards for women in Hollywood:
“Being raised in the industry and having a tight lens on what my shape was, what my figure was, or what my measurements were, minutely looking at every aspect of me, I kind of grew up for a spell in my 20s believing it was normal,” PC stated as a guest on the Victoria’s Secret Voices Podcast. Like most young people, you imagine exaggerated beauty standards, such as a perfectly Photoshopped face and flawless hair. For years, I never used my natural texture. I used to always have my hair blown out.”
6. Vidya Balan on her years of fighting with body image issues:
“It was vital for me to have gone through what I did,” Vidya told TOI. It was quite public, and it seemed insurmountable at the time. My family isn’t like movies. No one warned me that these stages wouldn’t last. My weight problem has turned into a national one. I’ve always been a big girl, and I’m not sure I’m at a point where my changing weight doesn’t concern me. However, I’ve gone a long way. Hormonal difficulties have plagued me my entire life. For a long time, I despised my physical appearance. It seemed to have betrayed me. I would bloat up on days when I was under pressure to look my best, and I would be so angry and frustrated.”
7. Taapsee Pannu on Bollywood’s celebrity culture
Taapsee was quoted as saying in an interview with RJ Siddharth Kanan, “Producers have finished my contract, set my dates, and then abruptly cancelled me at the last minute due to a larger name. Equal compensation is a long way off; even the minimum wage is a battle I have to fight for— but I’m not complaining.”
8. Radhika Madan on the film industry’s nepotistic nature:
Madan, speaking to Hindustan Times, stated, “When I first started out, I didn’t have a stack of scripts in front of me from which to choose the best or the director or banner with which to make my debut. Mujhe mil jaye bus, tab yeh thi ki jo ho raha hai aur achha lag raha hai. It’s not as simple as it appears from the outside. This conversation might continue if I start talking about rejections. My audition did not go well, but I did lose the project to a famous youngster. When you’re 20, however, you’re told you’re a terrific actor but not pretty enough, your confidence is shaken.”
9. Deepika Padukone discusses the pay gap in Bollywood.
According to Deepika, “I’m aware of my past performance and what I’m worth. I’m aware that my co-stars’ films haven’t performed as well as mine have. It didn’t make any sense. I felt fine with declining the film based on that one factor since I thought it was unjust.”
10. Manoj Bajapyee on nepotism and the hypocrisy of Bollywood’s mediocrity celebration:
“Let me start with this, and the world is not fair,” Bajpayee said in an interview with WION news. As an industry, we have been saying this for 20 years, yet we glorify mediocrity. Forget the sector; we reward mediocrity as a country. Somewhere in our mental process, our value system, something is missing. When we notice talent, we instinctively want to dismiss it or push it away. This is the horrible value system that we have.”
11. Abhay Deol opened up about Bollywood’s lobbying culture.
“Lobby culture has been pervasive in our industry not for years, but decades,” Abhay told Hindustan Times. As a result, no one considers getting up or doing anything. They’re all willing to comply, which is why they think they’ll get away with it. Because I grew up in a film family, I was familiar with these games even as a child. I heard it as a child through other people’s stories, and I’ve experienced it firsthand as a professional.”
12. Lin discussed the absence of diversity in casting for major projects.
Lin added to the Free Press Journal, “I respect Priyanka for her dedication; she put in a lot of time to appear like Mary Kom, but I’ve always believed that casting is a vital element in the filmmaking process. Because I believe in honesty and diversity, I believe that a girl from Manipur or the North East would have been an excellent choice to represent us.”