Bollywood actress Vidya Balan will be part of the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious international jury, presided over by the American director and producer, Steven Spielberg.
Born in Ottapalam, a small town in Kerala, Balan would make South India proud. A region which has never had much of an international exposure – thank to Bollywood’s money and muscle power – South India may well be on Cloud Nine with Cannes bestowing the honour on Balan.
Balan herself could not have been happier, given the string of rejections which marked her early career in the initial years of 2000. She was labelled a jinx after her first movie opposite Mohanlal was shelved. She was also dropped from several other Malayalam works and at least one Tamil film.
But Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta (Hindi, 2005) – a story based on Bengali writer, Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel about romantic love between an idealistic woman and an egoistic man – proved a turning point for Balan. However, the part came after a gruelling audition which lasted six months!
Post 2005, Balan’s talent bloomed, and her performances in movies like Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica, The Dirty Picture and Kahaani were hailed by critics and audiences. And with a face as beautiful and expressive as Balan’s, there can be no more regrets.
Apart from Spielberg and Balan, the nine-member jury – with four women on it -- consists of Japanese director Naomi Kawase, Australian actress Nicole Kidman, British helmer and writer Lynne Ramsay, French actor Daniel Auteuil, Taiwanese director Ang Lee, Romanian helmer Cristian Mungiu and Austrian actor Christopher Waltz.
Indeed, the jury is just brilliant.
Vidya Balan has changed the face of an Indian heroine. (HT Photo/Manoj Verma)
The Festival begins on May 15 and ends on May 26.