She says she has learnt to take criticism in her stride. Vidya Balan on what acting means to her, her role in "Paa" and her future plans...
Sensuous, pretty and charming…that’s Vidya balan for you. Hailing from a typically Iyer family she’s one of the few in the industry who do not have a filmy background. Her career started off with a surf excel ad and she went on to do more ads and music albums before she debuted in Parineeta…Her filmography says she done 13 movies but her journey has definitely taught her a lot more in these years. And today as she plays mother to Amitabh Bachchan, she speaks about her films, controversies and more…
You entered into the industry through Ad’s…and music albums...how was the shift from that into movies? And did you make any efforts for it?
I was very clear from the beginning about my choices and I always wanted to be an actor. Be it films, ad films, television everything gave me an opportunity to hone my skills through hands on experience especially because I never went to any acting school nor did I have any background to go with my career. So it was just passion that combined with my experiences made me an actor. Be in any medium it just helped me understand it better and therefore perform better.
How do you choose your films? What are the important things you look for when doing so?
I look for the role, overall story and the director…The director has to be someone with who I instantly share a rapport…for me that’s very important. Because when you think of it you will realise that that movie or the role you are playing is but his vision, his interpretation that I will be bringing alive. So that’s why it make it important to be on the same page. And if its not then he should be someone who inspires me to buy his idea.
What sort of roles do you enjoy and what would you do to ensure not getting typecast?
I enjoy acting. It’s not about any particular film or genre or role. It’s just about the performance and living someone’s life vicariously for a while that thrills me. It’s a chance to inhabit another world that’s completely in variance to who I’m. And am fine with doing similar roles if am convinced about it.
How do you react to controversy and how do you tackle it?
I used to get very bothered but now it does not bother me anymore. Even link-ups don’t bother me. I had great difficulty in handling things earlier but now I have found a way of dealing with things. I have stopped reading anything that’s written about me…good or bad…unless someone tell me its exceptional piece of writing I don’t really take the efforts. I do have records of all that’s written about me…and that’s my way of maintaining sanity.
How do you see the industry have you made more friends or foes? And how do you keep yourself up with the rest of the film fraternity?
I do have friends from the industry but my best friends are outside the industry. For me I like it if I can share a good rapport with my co- artists on set. I know its difficult to keep in touch after that but as long as I can maintain cordial relations its nice. I do socialise but am not a raving party goer so I do so when the occasion demands.
Lets talk about your forthcoming movie pa? It must have been a dream working with Mr. Bachchan and Abhishek? How did you feel and tell us about your role?
I play Auro’s mother. T’s difficult because he’s not like any other 3-year-old. He suffers from a condition called progeria. And it can be very trying for any family, any mother, but I play Vidya in the film. All I can say is for Vidya she celebrates him as a child, the ways she deals with it is different. She takes in in her stride to bring him up. She takes pride in bringing him up. It’s a regular mother-son bond.
Working with Bachchan is a great opportunity especially in a film like this. Its humbling to see that even after 40 years of his career his passion, his dedication to his craft is undiminished. With Abhishek, he’s live wire…he’s great fun and I shared a great rapport with him. He’s spontaneous and our scenes reflect that. I truly believe that what we have seen of him is just the tip of the iceberg and he’s hugely talented.
Do you watch T.V. and do you see yourself getting back to it especially since you share such a strong connection with the medium anyways?
I have never planed anything for myself. Things just fall into place. But I must admit that I have been pampered and totally spoilt. Television is an extracting medium and you have a budget to work around with and you have to deliver with the give time. So I don’t know if am prepared to work that hard anymore.
Future projects that you looking at...
Ishqiya is releasing in January. I play the bad girl and it’s outside of my comfort zone and I enjoyed it. It has Arshad Warsi, and Naseeruddin Shah playing the lead. The audience will get to see my like never more. She’s aggressive and its simmering…there’s a certain sexual aggression and that is interesting.
Are you looking into regional cinema? If yes why? If now why?
I do have some interesting offers from Malayalam films and if I’m able to wrangle time I should be able to do at least one next year. But I won’t be able to talk about it till we start.
You have been through a lot of criticism lately for your looks, clothes hairstyles etc…how do you take them and is it all a learning process for you?
Oh yes. It’s been an ordeal. But for me I have learnt from all of it. I know what’s good and what’s not…even with a myopic view like for clothes I know what suits me and what does not. I have grown considerably as an actor armed with these experiences and criticism.
Tell us about your favourite film that you have been a part of.
It has to be Parineeta for me. The role was so well scripted and layered that I can sometimes say it was a perfect debut. The different shades to her character are brought out at select intervals weaving an image that anyone can relate to.