Deepika Padukone has revealed that she was once complimented by an actor for speaking English fluently, despite India being home to the second-highest number of English speakers in the world.
The Bollywood star, who is one of the highest-paid female actors in India, recalled meeting the unnamed actor at a Vanity Fair party.
Although she did not mention exactly where or when the party took place, she said that every time she went to the US, she would be “upset”.
“Some of the things that are said and some of the things that are done just [make it] so obvious that people don’t know the world outside of the world that they live in,” she told the Business of Fashion publication.
Padukone continued: “I know this actor… I met him at this Vanity Fair party and he said, ‘Hey, by the way, you speak English very well’.
“I didn’t even realise what that meant. And when I came back, I said, ‘What do you mean you speak English really well?’ Did he have this notion that we don’t speak English?”
The 36-year-old actor was born in Copenhagen but raised in Bangalore. She currently lives in Mumbai with her husband and frequent co-star Ranveer Singh.
An estimated 10.6 per cent of India’s 1.4bn-strong population speaks English as a first, second or third language, according to the country’s 2011 census. It is the second-most spoken language there, after Hindi.
Elsewhere in the interview, published on Tuesday (4 October), Padukone said that international fashion brands need to understand how “extremely diverse” India is to succeed.
“It’s not one India. It’s many Indias. And as Indians, we’re also extremely proud of our history, of our culture and of our heritage,” she explained.
“Centuries and centuries of knowledge. And if you break that down into fashion – whether it’s colour, textiles, techniques, fabrics, all of these things – you need to understand all of this and find that sweet spot between who you are as a brand at the core, but also understand this new audience. The Indian consumer today cannot be taken for granted.”
Padukone was recently spotted at the front row of Louis Vuitton’s Paris Fashion Week show, alonside Ana de Armas and Gemma Chan.