Opinion

Showbiz going through moment of reckoning

By Sugandha Rawal

New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) Charges of sexual harassment is what links Hollywood biggies Ben Affleck, Brett Ratner, Charlie Sheen, Dustin Hoffman, Harvey Weinstein, James Toback and Kevin Spacey these days. Indian-born supermodel Padma Lakshmi hopes things will change after several women have opened up, but says only “time will tell”.

The entertainment industry — be it Hollywood or Bollywood — is going through its moment of reckoning in the wake of reports of sexual abuse coming in from all quarters. It all started with numerous women coming forward to allege that Hollywood mogul Weinstein used his position to harass them.

Padma Lakshmi, who is also a TV host, producer and cookbook author, appreciates that people are speaking up.

Will it bring a change?

“Yes, I do (think so). I think it will be in stages, but I do think it will (change things) when people are talking (about it),” Padma Lakshmi told IANS over phone from the US.

“The number of people that have come out about it is how things (will change for) all women and in all industries. I am hoping that it will allow for a change. Time will tell,” she added.

Tracing her roots to Madras (now Chennai), Padma Lakshmi’s tryst with glamour started when she stepped on the ramp and acquired the tag of a supermodel. She has worked in Europe and the US.

She then explored the world in front of the camera and as a writer.

Padma Lakshmi, who was once married to British Indian novelist Salman Rushdie, has featured in “Wasteland”, “Pirates: Blood Brothers”, “Boom” and “The Mistress of Spices”.

Along with adding a glamour quotient to the kitchen world with TV show “Top Chef”, Padma Lakshmi is also an executive producer of the show, which is aired in India on AXN.

Her book of achievements is filled with notes like an Emmy nomination for “Top Chef”; an award-winning cookbook titled “Easy Exotic” and an eponymous company; a home decor line; and a memoir “Love, Loss, and What We Ate”.

Amid the glitterati, the mother of one also does her bit for society by getting associated with awareness initiatives promoting women’s health.

Reflecting on her journey, she said: “I am very happy to see many more Indian faces on TV and in the art and in publishing… It was hard to be an immigrant in the 1970s and 1980s. I am lucky that I managed to somehow find a place for myself. It is not like that I had a grand plan.

“There was no guarantee that I would be successful.”

What’s on her plate at the moment?

“This year, I have been trying to spend more time with my daughter (Krishna Thea Lakshmi-Dell). Last year, I was writing books and was kind of exhausted. I have a lot of travel this year too, so I am in a pretty take-it-easy (mood).”

The 47-year-old added: “Then next year I will start thinking about what book I want to work on. I don’t really talk about a project until it is finished.”

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