When Silk in The Dirty Picture said, “Main entertainment hoon”, you can also see how aptly the dialogue applies not only to the character, but also the actor herself. A career spanning across several languages and mediums, with several prestigious awards and accolades to boast of (including a National Award, six Filmfare Awards, and the coveted Padma Shri), Vidya Balan has become a name to reckon with.
Fans, admirers, critics, and even haters would concur that Vidya has delivered strong content through her films, without missing out on the entertainment quotient; and more often than not, she has succeeded in finding that sweet spot.
Living it up on-screen
With a solid screen presence, big expressive eyes, an endearing persona, and killer acting chops, Vidya Balan owns each and every frame she is in! One of the most admired elements of her acting skills has been her ability to camouflage on-screen while holding the audience in rapt attention so that you forget the person behind the actress.
From Kahaani to Paa, and more, Vidya has depicted some very complex emotions with effortless ease.
Be it the character of an over-enthusiastic, full of life, and enterprising housewife in Tumhari Sulu or the level-headed, committed scientist in Mission Mangal, she has been the shining star of the films she has starred in. Her brand of cinema has been captivating, relatable, and thoroughly entertaining.
Breaking the mould, one smile at a time!
Starting her professional acting career with music albums and sitcoms, refusing to fit into the mould of a ‘perfect heroine’, openly defying the rules of portraying sexuality on-screen, working in regional cinema, Vidya has not only challenged the do’s and don’ts for a Hindi film heroine but has also presented herself as a modern woman living on her own terms.
In Ishqiya, Vidya’s ‘Krishna’ seduces two strangers with her smouldering looks and mysteriously tragic eyes. In this film, she proved that sexuality has very little to do with showing skin. With The Dirty Picture, Vidya danced her way through everyone’s heart with a no-holds-barred portrayal of a yesteryear sex-symbol.
In real life too, Vidya has spoken about body shaming and the flak she received for her body type and fashion sense. Using her position in the film industry, she has been a strong advocate on body positivity. She has inspired conversations and changes in perceptions around societal expectation of the ‘perfect body’ and has often opened up about her own ongoing battle with hormonal problems.
"When people tell me why don’t you start exercising, I want to say f**k you! How do you know I haven’t been exercising? Do you know how hard I exercise? Do you know what challenges I’ve been facing? Do you know that my hormonal problem has made it impossible for me to lose weight for years in between? Not just that, there was a period in between when the more I’d work out, the more I’d put on? People would insinuate that you must be eating unhealthy or that you’re lazy. And these things stick with you. It would anger me no end. I kept wanting people to stop judging me. But over time, I realised that people judge you/your body only if you do.” – Vidya Balan in an interview to India Today earlier this year.
Be it her choice of clothes, roles, or pace of her film career, Vidya has always challenged the stereotypes and standards set by the industry and society. Remember her epic response to paparazzi who started referring her as the ‘asli hero of Bollywood’, ‘hero among the heroines...’?
She had said, “I'm happy being called a heroine or female actor. I take more pride in being a heroine than a hero.”
Vidya’s fans will soon see her playing the math genius, human calculator, and the person behind India’s first study of homosexuality – Shakuntala Devi. Touted to be one of the most anticipated films of the year, her look in Shakuntala Devi has already garnered a positive response from audience and critics alike. The film is set to release on May 8, 2020.
Happy Birthday, Vidya! Here’s to another year of feistiness.