I know my worth: Deepika Padukone rejected film that wanted to pay male actor more
The actress recounted a recent episode in which a director asked her to lower her fees so a male actor could be accommodated.
Actress Deepika Padukone has been quite vocal about equal pay for a long time. In a recent media interaction at the book launch of The Dot That Went For A Walk, the Padmaavat actress revealed that she walked out of a project because she was offered less pay.
“Today in films, there is no lack of opportunity. The kind of films and the place of a woman in these films have changed a lot. And, of course, the pay. I would like to speak for myself. I have been able to bridge the gap, in terms of what my male contemporaries get paid versus what I am getting paid,” she reportedly said. She is the first woman to rank among the top five highest earning celebrities of India.
The 33-year-old added, “There was a recent incident where a director offered us a film that creatively I liked. But then it came to talking about money, and I said that this is what I would charge. Then it kind of went back and forth. He came back and told me that he wouldn’t be able to afford me as he had to accommodate the male (lead). So, then I said ‘tata- goodbye’ as I know my track record. I know my worth. I know that his films haven’t been doing as well as my films have. So, it made absolutely no sense. I was okay to say no to that film based on pay because I thought it was unfair.”
She said that she would not be able to ‘sleep peacefully at night’ if she wasn’t getting what she was worth. “I don’t think I would be able to live with the thought that despite the same kind of creative contribution as my male co-star, and bringing in the same kind of value to the film as him, I am being underpaid. I was not okay with that,” she further said.
Deepika also said that filmmakers are now more open to making female-driven films.“We are in place today where directors are changing roles and that’s unheard of. If you have a script that has a male protagonist and suddenly directors are like, ‘Let me just flip that. Let me just make that female protagonist and then go to so and so with the film’ so, you hear of a film that was offered to a male actor two-three years ago and it’s coming back to you now with a female protagonist which is a huge achievement,” she said.
Deepika will next be seen in Meghna Gulzar’s film, Chhapak, based on the life of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal. It stars Vikrant Massey and is co-produced by Deepika herself.