Bollywood's Deepika Padukone has opened up about diversity in actors in Hollywood and said that the conversation is still at the "surface level". In an interview with Vogue, she spoke about her contribution in making diversity the centre of her projects in Hollywood.
On May 9, the actor, who made her Hollywood debut in xXx: Return of Xander Cage in 2017, was asked about her international career and the kind of stories she wishes to put forward, the ones that value diversity. The Gehraiyaan star told the publication, "The minute you have a Black or Asian actor, it’s considered ‘diverse casting’. But we have a long way to go before we start seeing substantial change. I feel like 80 per cent of the people in charge are still looking at inclusive casting as a box to be ticked."
She also added that there are some who are genuinely interested in turning the tide but they are "getting it quite wrong" and that it's a learning process.
Padukone also talked about the projects she has been doing lately. She told the publication that any big or small project comes her way, she's willing to take it. "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," she said.
The actor also said that she never had the need to compare men and women in the industry. "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," she said. Padukone added that comping from a sports background meant that she didn't have the natural inroad to Bollywood and that her South Indian accent "was frowned upon", hence she worried that she would be written off initially.
On the work front, Padukone will be seen in Pathaan alongside Shah Rukh Khan and John Abraham. She also has Nag Ashwin's Project K, alongside Amitabh Bachchan, Prabhas and Disha Patani in the pipeline as well as Fighter with Hrithik Roshan and Anil Kapoor.