Hindi actor Vidya Balan will be the brand ambassador for rural development ministry’s sanitation campaign

“This will be a clean picture,” said Bollywood actor Vidya Balan, after signing up as a special ambassador on Thursday to spearhead a campaign to end open defecation that has put more than half of the country's population at a disadvantage.

Accepting Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh's proposal that she associate herself with the campaign for two years, Ms. Balan said her role in Dirty Picture was a mere onscreen character. And her new role, in the sanitation campaign, only underlined the wide spectrum of her persona.

“What could be a matter of more pride than doing a dirty picture on screen and a clean picture off it? This is the real me,” she said.

Ms. Balan noted that it was a matter of pride for her to contribute to a national cause and vowed to do everything to spread the message across the nation. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” she remarked.

Stressing that her decision to take part in the campaign stemmed from her commitment to the cause, she said she could not remember the last time she had accepted any offer without conviction. “I'd have declined if I had not believed in it.”

Expressing distress at lack of priority for women and children, Ms. Balan said what was needed was not to attack the big problem, but approach it with urgency and obsession. “It involves a small step by all concerned. And it will not involve even the cost of buying a mobile.”

She was confident of accomplishing the task in the two years. Joining her in the campaign will be Shah Rukh Khan, who is likely to accept the offer formally on Monday.

Mr. Ramesh, who is also in charge of drinking water and sanitation, said Ms. Balan was the most perfect personality from the tinsel world to promote the cause and hailed her for instantly responding to his call and agreeing to devote at least five days to the campaign.

He said Ms. Balan would propagate sanitation awareness through audio-visual advertisements on television and radio and on hoardings, besides attending promotional events like National Day for Sanitation, the National Nirmal Gram Puraskar Award presentation and the launch of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.

Ms. Balan also agreed to visit at least two nirmal gram villages and as many open-defecation villages to laud the achievers and urge those who are stuck to the practice to use toilets instead.