From Lolita to Silk and now Vidya Bagchi, this woman has been an embodiment of Strength. The epitome of Elegance, she is bestowed with the noble power of expressions: some that might take over you. With a consecutive winning run at the Awards for the past three years, Vidya Balan has definitely proved herself to become the most profitable and bankable actress of her time. She is the only actress today who can pull crowd to the multiplex. Proof? Check out the reviews and the BO collections of Kahaani and decide. But known to market and promote her films on a grand scale, Vidya Balan spoke to us while she promoted the film at Kolkata, days ahead of her poignant release!
You have used the fat look in The Dirty Picture and in Kahaani too. So do you think that curves will return to Bollywood due to this?
Actually this is not the fat look. This look is, what we call, the pregnant look. And in The Dirty Picture too, what was shown, was a healthy Indian body. It’s the specialty of an Indian woman to have a healthy body. And in both the films, back to back, this type of look has been used, and this look is due to the script of this film. It’s just the requirement of the character. The character needs to be dressed in a certain way.
How was the experience of working with so many actors from Kolkata?
Dhritiman da, Apu Da(Saswata), Khoraj Da and Param were all great! I have worked together with Param in Bhalo Theko and I have worked with Khoraj Da in Parineeta before. So it was great working with them; it was almost like a home coming for me.
There is a song in the film (Aami Shotti Bolchhi) which is an ode to Kolkata. So how would you describe Kolkata?
Kolkata has a whole lot of things, and sexy is just one of the many things that Kolkata is. It’s the friendliest place I have ever been to. Sujoy(Director Sujoy Ghosh) says that Kolkata serves good food. Everyone has an opinion; everyone wants to contribute their opinion. Great films have been made here. And Kolkata is like a Bengali woman, who is always mischievous.
You are doing more female centric roles like No one killed Jessica, The Dirty Picture and Kahaani. Is that your conscious decision? Are you a feminist?
Yes, it is my conscious decision to do films, which gives me the opportunity to play great parts. I’m getting to work with great directors. But I don’t support feminism. I don’t believe in feminism or any such –isms.
How is Parambrata as a co-actor?
He is fabulous in the film. He is one of the most under-rated actors I have ever come across and I really think that there are going to be an array of people who would want to sign up Param all over. God bless him.
What makes Kolkata a perfect background for this film?
I just loved shooting in Kolkata. And I loved the backdrop of Durga Puja in Kolkata. I started my career here with Bhalo theko and I have always said that Kolkata is second home to me. Aami mon theke Bangali (I am a Bengali from heart)
In Paa, you played the mother’s role Vidya and here also you played the role of Vidya, a mother-to-be. So how different are the two Vidyas?
I think, they are completely different people. It’s just a coincidence that both of their names are Vidya. But Vidya in both the films are extremely strong woman. The interesting thing about Vidya Bagchi is that she is in a very pathetic situation. She is six-months pregnant and she is coming to Kolkata where she knows no one. She is coming here for the first time. And yet, she is not helpless. She still has got a smile on her lips and that’s the most beautiful thing.
Do you ever desire to direct any film?
I am not a director. Param is a director so he should tell me. And he does not want to cast me. Coming back to your question, I think I will never turn a director. I have people like Sujoy who want to cast me, so I’m happy. And Sujoy has been telling me that he is going to write a script for me which I should direct but I have told him then he should give up the dream of making the film. Ami direct korte parbo na. (I can’t direct)
Which is your favourite song in this film?
Ami shotti Bolchi. It describes Kolkata so beautifully and Usha di has sung it so beautifully. When I heard the song first time I didn’t recognize it was her. She changes her voice so effortlessly, it’s unbelievable. And she has given such energy to this song. Anyone who doesn’t know Kolkata, needs to hear this song.
You are carrying this baby bump everywhere for promotion of your film.
Yeah this baby bump helps in the promotions. When you see me with this baby bump you will be sure that it’s for the film Kahaani and nothing else. So it draws the attention to the particular film.
After The Dirty Picture, you are stamped as the most profitable actress of Bollywood now. In the recent tabloids we read that you have done something which only Madhuri and Kajol could do: bring audience to the theatres. So how do you take that?
That is surely a huge compliment. But I still think that I have a long way to go.
One thing that you love about Kolkata and one thing you want to change about the city. Shotti Shotti.
(Laughs) Shotti Shotti. I love the people of Kolkata. That is what makes Kolkata for me. I started my career here. I have got a lot of love and affection from here. But there is nothing specific which I don’t like about Kolkata. I can’t think of anything such now really.
In The Dirty Picture, you had mentioned: “Ek film sirf teen cheezo ke liye chalti hai- Entertainment, Entertainment, aur Entertainment”. So what are the three things for which this film (Kahaani) will work?
“Kahaani…Kahaani…Kahaani” (Smiles). The Kahaani (story) of the film, Kahaani is very interesting. Is Kahaani ka kahaani bohot mazedar hai. There’s a Kahaani in the Kahaani of Kahaani, so it’s nine times over Kahaani. So this is the USP of this film. (Laughs out loud, leaving us confused)
(She signs off, in her own imitable style)
The Khans, Kapoors and Bachchans can now be done away with, for sometime. We have our Balan, here!