In the midst of the #MeToo wave that has taken Bollywood by storm, actress Aditi Rao Hydari says she faced one "bad" experience initially in her career but she never settled for anything lesser than dignity and respect over opportunity and fame.
Asked about the casting couch and if an outsider of the film fraternity faces it more often than a star kid, Aditi told IANS here: "I only can talk about myself and my experience. Honestly, working on your own terms is difficult for a newcomer but not impossible. I am an example of that.
"My opportunities might become fewer, but I have to choose how I want to deal with it."
Recalling her days as a struggler in the film industry, she said: "I had one bad experience and I stepped out from that, though I had a three-film deal. I was new and naive, but I have been brought up in a way where I know how to stand for my dignity.
"So I let go of an opportunity if it requires me to do anything to compromise on my dignity."
Aditi refused to generalise the film industry as an unsafe place for women.
"In film business or any business for that matter, there are people with different mindsets. Some would be compassionate and respectful, some might just be the womaniser, but how can we generalise that? That is wrong, I guess... That way, in a male dominating society, shining is tough for women," said the "Wazir" and "Padmaavat" actress.
Having made her debut in 2009 with the film "Yeh Saali Zindagi", Aditi has appeared in movies like "Bhoomi", "Rockstar", "Murder 3", "Delhi-6" and "Daas Dev".
In the southern film industry, she has worked with legendary director Mani Ratnam and she is currently shooting for actor-filmmaker Dhanush's upcoming yet untitled project.
While her screen presence and performance keeps getting appreciation, the audience does not get to see her as leading Bollywood heroine. What is stopping her from being number one?
"I really do not have an answer to that, but I want to say that I am happy with the opportunities that I have got in the last few years across the regions in Indian cinema where I have worked with some iconic filmmakers. I admire them for their excellence in the craft of filmmaking.
"So there is no regret and I see no reason to feel negative about it," added the actress, who believes that success is a matter of perspective.
"For someone, success is to be the highest paid actress. For some, it might be the number of awards and for some, it is the number of films. Honestly, I feel privileged when a celebrated filmmaker offers me a role so that I can be a part of his vision. That is success for me."