The Enchantress!

The Enchantress!

- in Interview, NGI Opinions
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A power house of talent, angelic looks, smouldering eyes and captivating smile has stolen millions of hearts. Vidya Balan, the award winning actress needs no introduction to Bollywood lovers. Kavita Shyam gets a whiff of the dainty diva’s winning formula…

Title of the films is apt, you are happily married. What would you say are the side effects of marriage, has anything changed even with the offers?
Honestly, no. Nothing has changed post marriage, if at all has gotten better. The offers have got nothing to do with marriage, it’s the kind of films I have done so far and has given the people the confidence that these kind of films are being made and have done well so they can push the envelope. With each passing year I feel the offers are getting better and exciting. Professionally there is no difference at all, except that I have to stay away from Siddharth. I didn’t think I’d be like this and I’d make fun of my friends and tell them not to behave like a typical wife. But actually, I’d be miserable on free days! I want to be with Siddharth, so that’s a change I have seen in myself.


Positive changes would be that I am a calmer person now, I am very restless otherwise and want to do 100 different things. I sleep much better now, I used to always feel that sleep was a waste of time. Over the years I have started enjoying my meals. I used to stand, walk and eat so my mother would always tell me to respect food or sit and eat or even sleep for 8 hours. But now she tells me that if she knew that so much of me would change after marriage then should would have got me married at the age of 20.

Do valentine’s day or rose day mean more to you now after marriage?
No I don’t think. But earlier I used to think all this was crazy but now I feel every day should be valentine’s day or try to do something special for the person constantly especially when you love the other person so much. But having said that, in all our busy schedules if a day has been set aside then you should make efforts to make the day special.

Many writers, directors have kept you in mind while writing the stories of their films, like Dirty Picture and Kahaani. You think the expectation goes higher this way from you as an actress?
Each year the films or offers are getting better for me. But every film will not be a Dirty Picture or Kahaani. They would be better or not as good. During Ghanchakkar, I was under pressure as everyone would tell me that whichever film you are doing is turning successful. We tried to do something new but everyone did not like it which is fine. For the first time in my career, I was thinking in terms of numbers, as everyone would say that Vidya and Imran are coming together the opening would be something. That pressure should not happen. I am a human being and do feel the pressure, it was a big learning for me. One good thing was that people realized that I can also make mistakes, Ghanchakkar wasn’t a mistake but it was as per people’s expectations. I also believe do what you want to do and leave the rest to god or universe and that’s what I am doing with this film.

Do you think with post motherhood, things change or the chemistry changes?
I do not know. People ask me when are you going to have a child and I tell them that I still have not got enough of Siddharth. When I am ready to share Siddharth with my child is when I am going to have a child. We have been travelling a lot and we have not got enough time. This happened with every couple, that’s also a phase, a part of the journey where the couple wants to stay together. If at all that happens I will figure a way around it.

Do you feel a mid life crisis, which is very common in the west and now in India too?
I am 35 now. I thought mid life crisis at 35 is for men and women go through menopause at 50. So we have more time I guess.

You have an unusual pairing with Farhan, both of you are powerhouse of talent. How was it working with him and did you feel he may steal the limelight?
We both are secure actors. We both enjoyed playing off each other and never against each other. We were living out the scene so it was enjoyable working with him. We have mutual respect and we share a great rapport. He is such an intelligent mind, so talented, great sense of humour. Even our director is very secured, cool and very sure even though there was a gap of 8 years between Pyaar Ke Side Effects and Shaadi Ke Side Effects. He would tell us to play out the scene and then he would tell us what he wanted. He gave us an open field to play with which only a secured person would do.

Any reason why you opted for designer Jayati Bose?
I have worked with Jayati on personal shoots and she did some of my personal styling. What I respect about her is that she knows her job, she is a hard worker and you will never find her talking about another star to you. That’s something you respect. She understands fashion but she also understands character. The director, costume designer and me always talk about things and have to have a co-ordination. Jayati enjoyed creating the graph of the character through the looks and not just wanting to show off her clothes in the film. She has been with me for a while now and is doing Sujoy Ghosh’s next for me.

In Kolkata, after Kahaani and of course your debut film you are extremely popular?
Hindi film calenders are done one year prior to the shoot while Bengali films start in two months time. And that is why I have not been able to do some very good Bengali, Malayalam or Marathi film offers that came my way. But god willing, I am going to do one good Marathi film for the city that is home and one Bengali film for the city Kolkata that is second home and one Malayalam for the place I hail from.

Have you asked your husband, the head honcho of UTV if he can make a regional film for you?
No, actually if we can avoid working together we would avoid working together. Of course, if one of my films go to UTV and they decide to do it that’s a different story all together. Work and family as far as possible! We won’t try to work together if the work happens like that we will happily work then.

Your strength is your smile and sense of humour? But what are your weaknesses as per you since you are playing a detective in your next?
Thank you! I don’t think I have one weakness. Sometimes in a simple scene you can get stuck or this would be difficult, so one cannot predict on a daily basis. I cannot pre-determine what kind of roles will be tough for me. On set I can be tired, distracted, I have low attention span.

After Hum Paanch, which has gives you so much, has television ever been on your agenda?
No. Television is too much hard work but films get over with three months of shooting followed by promotions. TV actors who I interact with work 12 hours a day throughout, I am lazy. I cannot work so much. I have been getting lots of opportunities but I am not keen on that. I am not a dancer I cannot judge a dance reality show and I am not a singer either. Unless there is something to do with acting what can I do.

Your second film with Ekta Kapoor and you are working with Dia too? What is your experience of working with these ladies?
Fabulous experience! I cannot believe that this Dia’s second film as a producer. Dia and Sahil have created an environment where everyone felt valued and certain sense of ownership. We have happily worked hard towards Bobby Jasoos. It is not just a detective film it’s also a human story.

You are quite an avid reader, have any book or author which has influenced you a lot?
Not any more of reader. In fact, before Bobby Jasoos I was reading a book Chembur Ka Data by Surendra Mohan Pathak because I come from Chembur. It was a fat book so I couldn’t finish it but it was interesting. It’s one of those best sellers in Hindi.

What next for you in terms of work?
I am working on Sujoy’s next film which is opposite Irfan Khan, it’s a thriller. Sujoy is a fabulous writer and film maker so let’s hope we manage to make something like Kahaani. Humari Adhuri Kahani is Mohit Suri’s next film which has me and Imran.

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Somanjana Chatterjee

Somanjan Chatterjee is San Francisco based consulting editor