Ahead of the release of Bobby Jasoos, Vidya Balan regales Harshikaa Udasi with amusing anecdotes about the making of the film

“There is only one person I take instructions from. I have to be convinced about his vision. So much so even if he asks me to roll on the sets, I will do it without batting an eyelid. My director has to inspire that faith in me,” says Vidya Balan about her director, interrupting an otherwise hilarious conversation about her new role as a young Muslim girl living in the bylanes of old Hyderabad and her desire to be the best detective in her mohalla. It is almost as if the curtains have fallen on the previous scene and a serious act has begun. And in that flash of a second, Vidya shows you why she is the actress everyone loves.

Co-produced by Dia Mirza’s Born Free Entertainment and Reliance Entertainment, Bobby Jasoos (releasing July 4) is the story of Bilkis Bano, an unconventional girl from a conventional Hyderabad family who works with her aunt (Tanvi Azmi) to run background checks on matrimonial candidates. Her hobby turns into ambition and soon she has her own detective agency to solve cases. The film also stars Ali Fazal, Supriya Pathak, Arjan Bajwa, Zarina Wahab and Kiran Kumar. “It’s an exciting film for me. I get to play 12 different characters, including five male disguises. There is this Hyderabadi leheza, the most beautiful ever. It was a lot of work but all of it was fun,” says Vidya.

When Dia and Saahil (Singha, partners, Born Free Entertainment) narrated the script to Vidya, she was keen but asked to meet the director and writer. “When Samar (Shaikh, director) and his wife Sanyuktha (Chawla-Shaikh, writer) came home, I realised that Samar was a rather quiet person. I asked to spend time with the two of them to understand their film. I spent an entire month interacting with them, the longest I have ever had with any director of my films. When I joined, I realised that Samar communicates only by snapping his fingers so much so we called him the chutkiwal director! We had to interpret what every snap meant — to tone it down or to change the treatment,” she laughs heartily.

Bobby is very close to Vidya, according to her producer Dia. “She is endearing, she is intelligent and she has an opinion, yet she is not an in-your-face rebel. There was no way anyone else could’ve played Bobby.” Vidya says, “Bobby is like mustard heating in a pan. There is a child-like exuberance about her. She is ready to smile and ready to fight all within seconds. She is a goondi also!”

Vidya has put on a variety of disguises in the film, ranging from a television producer to a peon, from a beggar with matted hair to a balding astrologer. “I loved the male get-ups the most, especially that of the astrologer. I had paan-stained crooked teeth and dirt in my finger nails and a balding patch. I couldn’t recognise myself. I had to spend hours on make-up but that wasn’t a problem because I was really enthusiastic about it,” she adds, singling out the costume designer Theia Tekchandaney and make-up artists Vidya and Shreyas for praise. “They really worked hard.”

Speaking about the younger in age and experience, Ali Fazal (Fukrey) who has been cast opposite her as Tasawur, Vidya says there was no space for awkwardness. “We had a six-week workshop conducted by (film and theatre actor) Aakash Dahiya for this film. We got enough time to hobnob with everyone. Ali is a charmer. It’s a rare thing in men today. I have told him that he has an old soul trapped inside him which lends him this charm,” she smiles.

Vidya has cultivated the habit of laughing at everything. Include news bits she doesn’t particularly appreciate. The lady has become a queen of witticisms. At a recent press meet, when her director was speaking about how the film has been like a baby to him and his writer wife, Vidya interrupted with the remark ‘finally someone else is having a baby!’ to evoke immediate laughter. But one particular news piece recently got her goat. “There was no substance to it,” she says about a rumoured split in her year-old marriage to Siddharth Roy Kapur. “First of all, I wasn’t keeping well then and to tackle news like that! I was really annoyed and Siddharth just told me to chill as it wasn’t helping my health at all,” she says, visibly upset. However, it doesn’t take long to change her mood and here’s a quick take on topics, cheerful and sore.

Siddharth Roy Kapur as husband: “Doesn’t need jasoosi!”

Siddharth Roy Kapur as a person: “What I love most.”

Babies: “In a few years!”

Women: “Reason why the world moves.”

Looks: “Are deceptive.”

Mahesh Bhatt writes her next film

Vidya’s next film is Mohit Suri’s Humari Adhuri Kahani. “I am very excited about this as it has been written by Bhatt saab (Mahesh Bhatt) who has taken to writing after 14 years.” She will begin shooting for it as soon as Bobby Jasoos releases. The film has been reportedly written from Mahesh Bhatt’s stepmother’s point of view.