Getting personal

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CHAT Vidya Balan begins 2011 on an exciting note — playing Sabrina Lal in “No One Killed Jessica”

W hen Vidya Balan first met Sabrina Lal, all she could do was salute her. Vidya plays Sabrina, the face of the Jessica Lal murder case, in this week's release “No One Killed Jessica”. “Rajkumar (Gupta, director) was certain I should not meet Sabrina before working on the movie, as we wanted to portray the Sabrina of 11 years ago. I was quite overwhelmed about meeting her as she is not just an icon for us, but also because I had to personalise the journey of Sabrina” says Vidya.

The film is the story of Jessica Lal, a model whose death made headlines for over a decade with heavyweight politicians and top cops reportedly trying to quash the case while the media and public kept the fight for justice alive. Sabrina, Jessica's sister, kept running from pillar to post for justice, which took eleven long years to come. “She is the emotional core of the film. It's the riveting story of Sabrina who completely transformed into a fighter from being an inconspicuous wallflower. It was one thing to know about these sisters and read about Sabrina's grit, but another to play the part. I mean, in college, I was part of a signature campaign for Jessica. But, when Rajkumar narrated the script to me I was moved,” says Vidya.

“There was a hunger in Rajkumar to tell this story. Every day each of us sensed this passion. In fact, the reason why he didn't want me to meet her (Sabrina) was because he wanted our interpretation of what she might have gone through to come across in the film. So, Sabrina in the film is his and my characterisation. Also, what I liked was the sensitivity with which he makes fact and fiction meet. Very simply put, the fact in the film is what happened, and fiction is how it happened, which is open to imagination.”

When asked about her ‘chemistry' with co-star Rani Mukherji, Vidya laughs. “There was so much talk about our catfights that we decided to ‘kiss and make up',” she says, of her much-publicised kiss with Rani. “Honestly, I haven't ever had problems with my women co-stars; likewise with Rani. She is my senior in the industry, and we got along well,” she adds.

The actor had a good 2010 with strong roles in “Ishqiya” and “Paa”, and hopes the winning streak will continue with “NOKJ”. “I am happy directors trust me with diverse roles.”

Vidya recently wrapped up shooting for Sujoy Ghosh's film “Kahaani” in Kolkata. She plays a seven-month pregnant woman who comes from London to Kolkata in search for her husband who has disappeared. She is soon to begin shooting for Ekta Kapoor's “The Dirty Picture”, in which she reportedly plays the late actor Silk Smitha. There is also a zany comedy film, she's soon going to announce.





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