Deepika Padukone vs Times Of India cleavage controversy

One of India’s best-known actors has been accused of hypocrisy after she criticised the country’s best-selling English-language newspaper for drawing attention to her cleavage.

The Times of India tweeted a link to a video clip showing the chest and neck of Deepika Padukone, 28, shot from a high angle apparently by a press cameraman, to the 75,000 followers of its entertainment account. The tweet read: “OMG! Deepika Padukone’s cleavage show”. The video, reported to be a year old, was also posted on the newspaper’s entertainment site.

Padukone responded by tweeting to her own 7.5m followers: “YES! I am a woman. I have breasts AND a cleavage! You got a problem!!??”

The newspaper and Padukone have since traded accusations on social media, on television and in print. “I felt violated as a woman,” the former model told Barkha Dutt, one of India’s few leading female journalists on television.

The dispute took another turn on Monday when the Times of India published a response to a statement posted by Padukone on her Facebook page at the weekend arguing that the media should distinguish between her “reel” – cinematic – and “real” personalities.

“Deepika, we accept your reel vs real argument, but what about all the times, and there have been many, when you have flaunted your body off screen – while dancing on stage, posing for magazine covers, or doing photo ops at movie promotional functions? What ‘role’ do you play there? So why the hypocrisy?” senior editor Priya Gupta said in the article. The newspaper also accused the actor of seeking to publicise her latest film.

Other Bollywood stars, male and female, have rushed to Padukone’s defence. “Well done taken a stand for all of us,” said Priyanka Chopra, another Bollywood A-lister, after Padukone first hit back at the newspaper.