One of the perks of being the actor of the moment is that you can choose. And who better than Vidya Balan to know that. Currently the top heroine in Bollywood, Vidya is busy promoting her next big film, ‘Kahaani’, where she plays a pregnant woman in search of her husband.
Interestingly, Vidya being a part of the film wasn’t because of director Sujoy Ghosh, but the other way round. Recalls the actress, “I met Sujoy for the first time while I was doing ‘Ishqiya’ with my manager Sanjay. He had literally kept some cash in his hand and confirmed my being a part of his film. I do not know what the amount, but he assured me that I would work with him. Incidentally, it was with ‘Kahaani’ that we worked together. I always was keen in doing a film with him and here I am turning pregnant for him.”
Shot exclusively in the streets of Kolkata, ‘Kahaani’ has Vidya traveling in cabs as a pregnant lady. Tell her this, and the actress as if on cue, continues, “I distinctly remember a couple being awestruck after seeing me pregnant. The lady immediately recognized me and said, ‘She is Vidya! Oh! Look she is pregnant. ‘I just smiled and replied to her,” Yes! I am pregnant it is not real but for reel’.”
One of the few actress credited of bringing women-centric films to the fore in recent times, Vidya’s ideology of choosing such project is an inner conviction. Says the actress, “I like doing such roles and I do it with conviction merely because my work is an extension of my belief. I have lived my entire life with women of substance and strength. My mother and my sister with who I have grown up are strong individuals. Also those in my neighborhood have influenced me a lot. I have seen my father treating my mother and his daughters with respect. So doing female centric films and characters come easily to me.”
It is this realization that has also helped Vidya to upgrade the kind of characters she has played on screen. “Earlier the female characters were not depicted in good taste “Giri hui aurat dikhate the (they showed the other women and female characters as amoral). But now the perception is slowly changing. Now a woman is portrayed in a challenging manner. It’s a character with substance. Indeed the actresses of today are experiencing a changing and endearing phase for themselves.”
The actress further adds, “I am happy that women today look upon themselves as a distinct entity. They are no more dependent on any one. They still fulfill their duties as a lover, wife and mother, only their priorities have changed. While on one hand they are equally wonderful mothers, great lovers and a dependable wives, on the other they have become evolved human beings with strong ideologies. They have learned not to succumb to any undesirable decisions.”
On being called the ‘Hero’ of Bollywood, Vidya says,” I have done and I am doing women centric films but I do not think that should be a reason for our male stars to fear. No woman character can be compared to that of a male’s. In fact I feel audiences are interested in watching real life tales on the reel. So directors are choosing films based on real life stories. Women oriented subject are more emotional and thus finding a place for themselves. What we actors need is to get characters which are entertaining yet multi-dimensional. The success of a film depends on the brilliant execution of what a director actually wants to portray, and not on a particular actor or actress.”
Opinionating on the growing culture of celebrating days like friendship day, Valentine's day mother/father day, the actress opines,” I feel everyday is for everyone. It doesn’t matter what relationship we have, the important thing is to be there for them. Why should we celebrate any particular day...love can see the light of the day at any point of the day and any time.”
Crediting her parents and Milan Luthria for ably playing Silk on screen, she says, “I remember Milan had once told me that respectability to sleaze is the right statement for you ,you and only you. And after the success of ‘The Dirty Picture’ I realize the wisdom behind the words. I will never forget my dad’s compliment after he saw the film. He said, ‘You make us proud Vidya’ I was speechless.”
On being gifted a house and Vidya turns humours. “I too have read that I have been gifted a house, but where’s the key. Now I will have to demand a house,” quips Vidya, who though confesses a love for those ‘luvvy-duvvy films’ doesn’t want to get hitched for the next two years at least.
Quiz her on her skills of spewing ‘gallis’ in real life and Vidya accepts defeat.” I am not very familiar with much of them and I don’t like to use them in my daily life either. Nonetheless, I feel now-a-days people want to watch reality on screen too. So if there are some gallis used on reel, which is fine by me. But never in my real life,” says the actress, whose best bet at the bad word is ‘ass’.
But quiz the actress, who has professed her love for all things Bong, including the language, to say something in Bengali and Vidya suddenly goes quite for a moment and then continues, “I love Bengali as much as I do my mother tongue. But the only thing I could muster saying was this: ‘ aami tumakke bhalo bhashi’.” Loosely translated it’s ‘I love you’.
Clearly the romantic at heart has learnt the best line.