The ‘woke culture’ that we’ve been witnessing recently has inspired Bollywood celebrities to talk about things that were once brushed under the carpet. Instead of holding back and maintaining good relations with the crème de la crème of the Hindi film industry, stars have now come forward and spoken about their experiences, struggles, and the hypocrisy that exists.

From Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s story of surviving racism in Bollywood to Vidya Balan’s journey of battling fat-shaming, here’s a look at actors who didn’t think twice before giving us an accurate picture of the dark side of the Bollywood.

When Nawazuddin Siddiqui called out racism in Bollywood

In a conversation with Bollywood Hungama, “I fought against it for many years, and I hope that dark-skinned actresses are made heroines; it’s very important. I’m not even talking about skin colour; there is a bias that exists in the industry which needs to end for better films to be made… I was rejected for many years only because I’m short and look a certain way, although I can’t complain now. But some so many other great actors fall prey to this kind of bias.”

When Anushka Sharma called out ageism in Bollywood

Speaking to Economic Times, Anushka Sharma brought up the topic of ageism. She said, “They’re still amazing and cool, and I have no problem with that. But why is it that women are only okay till they are “young and desirable”? So desirable means what? There’s a sexual connotation attached. So we are looking at women in that way in films only.”

Priyanka Chopra on fat-shaming and unrealistic beauty standards in the film industry

In Victoria’s Secret Voices Podcast, PC said, “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 part of me, I kind of grew up for a while in my 20s thinking that was normal. Like most young people, you think about these unrealistic standards of beauty, which is like, absolutely Photoshopped face, perfect hair. I never used my natural texture for years. I used always just to have blown out hair.”

Vidya Balan on dealing with body-image issues

Vidya Balan said, “It was important for me to have gone through what I did. It was very public, and at that time, it was so insurmountable. I come from a non-film family. There was no one to tell me that these phases don’t last. My weight issue had become a national issue. I have always been a fat girl; I wouldn’t say that I am at a stage where my fluctuating weight doesn’t bother me anymore. But I have come a long way. I have had hormonal issues all my life. For the longest time, I hated my body. I thought it had betrayed me. On the days I was under the pressure of looking my best, I would bloat up, and I would be so angry and frustrated.” 

Taapsee Pannu on star culture in the industry

In an interview with RJ Siddharth Kanan, Taapsee was quoted as saying, “Producers have finalized me, locked my dates, and then randomly backed out at the last minute because they got a bigger name. Expecting equal pay is far off; even the basic amount is something I have to fight for — but I’m not complaining.”

Deepika Padukone on pay disparity

Deepika had stated, “I know my track record and what I’m worth. I know that my co-actor’s films haven’t been doing well as my films have been doing. It made absolutely no sense. I was okay to say no to that film based on that one thing as I thought it was unfair.”

Abhay Deol on the lobbying culture in Bollywood

Abhay spoke to Hindustan Times and said, “Lobby culture has been prevalent in our industry not for years, but decades. Hence, no one thinks about standing up or bothering to do anything. They are all ready to conform, which is why they know that they can get away with it. I can say this because I grew up in a film family, and I’ve heard of these games even as a child. As a kid, I heard it through other people’s experiences, and as a professional, I have seen it myself.”

(Featured Image Credits: Instagram)