She is being called the new ‘hero’ in Bollywood. Vidya Balan might just be forcing her female contemporaries to rewrite their career scripts again

Bharati Dubey (THE TIMES OF INDIA; January 1, 2012)

 

What do you feel when people say you are redefining the importance of heroines in Bollywood?
I am extremely humbled by the success of No One Killed Jessica and The Dirty Picture. There was apprehension that women-oriented films don’t do well in Bollywood.

Do you think a heroine can now be the hero of a Hindi film?
Filmmaking is a team effort. My performance in isolation would not do anything for the film. The film fraternity spends a lot of energy and time in marketing and promoting films. I spent 70% of the effort I put in playing the character in promoting the film.

Are you a star now?
I came here to be an actor so that I could live different people’s lives on screen. I am living that dream to the fullest. And I like to think I have enjoyed stardom from the beginning of my career. The proportion has certainly changed now. The most gratifying thing for me is both producers and directors are saying, ‘Abhi hum women-oriented films mein invest karne se darenge nahin.’ There are people who are saying they are writing scripts with me in mind. Industry people ask me how much I am going to charge now and if I will ‘take territory’ and all that jargon.

What are you doing in 2012?
I have not signed a single film. I will take a break, come back fresh and start narration sessions and meetings.

Your weight has been discussed a lot.
I have always said that I celebrate my curves. I gained weight during Kismat Konnection and that time I did get a lot of criticism for my looks. I always had a heavyset figure. I enjoy it. There are so many women who are telling me that we love our curves now, so that is heartening.

Did the criticism after ‘Kismat Konnection’ affect you?
I was so upset that I stopped reading papers. I was self-assured when I came into the industry with Parineeta. I then went through a phase of trying to fit in, but was criticized for it. I felt victimized and developed a persecution complex. But my family and friends brought perspective back to me. (Filmmaker) R Balki told me, `You are one of a kind… Celebrate it…’ I was born a woman, I was never a girl. I was trying to be a girl in Kismat Konnection. No wonder it failed.

Naseeruddin Shah says that after Madhuri Dixit, he has become your fan.
When someone like Naseer Saab says this, you deserve to have a bloated head. He gave me a lovely piece of advice: the biggest undoing of an actor is when he starts to think how big he has become. I hope to have a hat-trick with him.