In one of her most candid interviews to date, Vidya Balan tells Vickey Lalwani what she’s looking for in her man, her take on live-in relationships and why she’d rather marry a rich man though the money doesn’t really matter

Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; May 21, 2010)

It’s a humid afternoon when we enter Vidya Balan’s new home in Khar at the appointed hour. She isn’t there. A little later, she breezes in, looking like a million bucks. She catches her breath, settles into a sofa, and profuse apologies give way to small talk about the unbearable heat. “Now shoot,” she says finally. So be it.

• You are 30 now – is marriage finally on the horizon?

I haven’t come across someone I want to spend the rest of my life with. My parents want me to get married, but it’s not like they think it will happen tomorrow. Even they want me to marry someone I’m sure about.

• So do they show you photographs of eligible grooms and ask you to meet them?

It hasn’t come to that stage. They are not setting it up themselves, but they do encourage me to meet people and keep saying that I should find the right person. They want me to keep my eyes open, rather open my eyes wider (laughs). Let’s just say that they want me to socialise more often. I think they realise that I don’t see myself getting into an arranged marriage.

But you have fallen in love…

Yes. I have fallen in love. It has happened a couple of times.

• And?

It didn’t work out…

• Did that slow you down?

No. I am a hopeless romantic at heart. I believe that it’s better to have loved and lost rather than never to have loved at all.

• Was it difficult to come to terms with?

Well, it wasn’t easy. It is directly proportional to how strong the relationship was.

• What kind of a man would you want if you get married?

Please reframe your question. There is no ‘if’. I want to categorically tell you that I want to get married. I want to have a husband and a family – I’d love that (pauses). I don’t believe in casual relationships and I can never be in a live-in relationship.

• Please continue…

I’ll marry someone who gives me some butterflies in my stomach. Someone like George Clooney. His age is now beginning to show, so maybe someone younger. He should be someone I can discuss anything under the sun with. Most importantly, he should be very self-assured.

• What’s your definition of ‘self-assured’?

My man should accept me just the way I am. If he hears rumours linking me with someone, he should have faith in me. And if it’s bothering him, he should bring it up with me and not let it fester. Also, he should be able to deal with the attention and adulation we stars get.

• But would you give up your acting career for him?

Not at all! If I decide to do that, that’s a different story. I’ll go with the flow. But it can’t be someone else’s decision. Being an actress is a big part of me. That – and my family – is my driving force. I can manage both, a career and marriage. Why would I want to wake up one morning and give it all up just because someone else is pressurising me to?

Have you set a deadline for marriage?

Not really.

Most actresses tend to marry wealthy men. Do you see yourself following suit?

It does make sense. Most men cannot handle women who earn more than them. There is an Abhimaan type of situation in most relationships where the woman is more famous and has a bigger bank balance. Don’t get me wrong – I am not a materialistic person. But it’s always wiser to marry someone who is at least as well of as you, if not better. Besides, money is important, isn’t it?

How important is fidelity to you?

It’s on the top of my list. If he wants to be with anyone else, he shouldn’t be with me. Having said that, it amazes me that there are so many people who know that their spouses are having affairs and yet they continue with a loveless marriage. I have conversations with people about this and some of them even tell me that so-and-so is ‘having an affair but he loves his wife dearly’. How can that be possible? It’s so scary. And mind you, this isn’t just happening in the film industry, but in other spheres as well.

If you catch your husband cheating on you, would you slam the door on his face forever?

(Clenches her fist) Yes, I would.

The bottom line about men…

You can’t live with them, you can’t live without them.