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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

Rakul Preet Singh on being body-shamed early in her career: ‘I was told that I had a generic face’

In a candid interview, Rakul Preet Singh spoke about pay parity, career in films, nepotism and MeToo movement with clarity and pragmatism.

bollywood Updated: Dec 03, 2019 17:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Rakul Preet Singh has been part of two hit Bollywood films, De De Pyaar De and Marjaavan, already.
Rakul Preet Singh has been part of two hit Bollywood films, De De Pyaar De and Marjaavan, already.(Instagram)
         

Actor Rakul Preet Singh is among the new crop of actors who are making their mark felt in Bollywood, despite being the classic ‘outsiders’ in the industry. Rakul, who is already an established star in Telugu and Tamil film industries, could make Bollywood take note of her with De De Pyaar De. She has since followed it up with Marjaavaan. In an interview with Pinkvilla, she spoke about being an outsider, being body-shamed early on in her career and MeToo movement.

Speaking about body-shaming, Rakul mentioned how early in her career, she was told that she had a rather generic face. “Somebody told me ‘You are very good, you are really nice but the problem with you is that you have a generic face’.” Positivity seems to be one of Rakul’s strongest qualities. She mentioned how she never got bogged down by such comments. What was more important was for her was to have self confidence.

“Everything stems from your belief in yourself. I have always believed that. You can’t expect everyone to like me. It’s okay if someone doesn’t like me, but I have to love myself. When you love yourself, when you accept yourself, half of the battle is won,” Pinkvilla quoted her as saying.

 

On the issue of sexism in the industry and the world at large and whether or not she has been a victim of that, particularly when it comes of pay remuneration or differential treatment, Rakul said, “Not differential treatment; I think I have been very well treated. I have worked with good teams. In the south, they actually put you on a pedestal. I do understand that actors are huge crowd pullers and the entire film rides on their shoulders. But if it is a film which is riding on the female actor; so now if there is a Saand Ki Aankh, or Badla or Chhapaak that’s coming, those women are playing central characters. So you should be paid accordingly. I think what you bring to the table and what your involvement is and number of days, time and effort goes... Honestly, you are also putting in extra effort, you are going to the gym to look thin, wear those tiny clothes, and then dance.”

On the issue of nepotism and being part of one of the many camps that exist in the film industry, Rakul was forthright is saying that she hadn’t been part of any camp so far and so she wouldn’t know the dynamics of it. On nepotism too, Rakul’s perspective was more positive than pessimistic. She firmly believes that the industry is a fine place to be in today and that it far more receptive to new talent. “It is such good space now. I think people have become so accepting of newer talent... if you look at some of the present stars - Vicky, Anushka Sharma, Taapsee, Bhumi, Ayushmann - they are all non-filmy people. So somewhere somebody is giving them opportunities. So, I think it is a great time to be in the industry.”

 

With MeToo movement becoming such a big issue, had she faced any such problem? Central to  Rakul's belief system on the subject is the bfact that no one should be desperate. “If people know that you are very desperate and they see that... we are in an opportunist world. You give somebody a job and go away, they will not do their job correctly. They want to make more money out of it. That’s how we have been conditioned.”

“I do understand that when people come, and I can also tell you that I am privileged that I have a family that was supportive of me. Many people don’t have that, which is why they feel this is ‘make or break’ but let me tell you, I have always believed that nobody is going to cast you in a film or shell out hundreds of crores on you because you are easy. It’s just probably a trick and don’t fall for it, is all I would say. My heart totally goes out to people who have fallen prey and its really sad.”

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