Vidya Balan is enjoying her newly acquired 'sex symbol' status but the actor, who is determined to play as varied roles as possible, says she has stopped being scared of being typecast.
The 33-year-old actor, who played mother to Amitabh Bachchan in Paa, has surprised everyone with her portrayal of Silk Smitha, a tragic dancing star of 60s and 70s Southern cinema in her latest The Dirty Picture.
Balan says she decided to go by her instinct after getting lots of brick bats for her film choices and weight a few years ago.
"This is as varied as it gets from everything I have done before or from the kind of person I am. When I am being offered interesting roles like this it will be stupid of me to let them pass by. About three years ago I went through this mindset change.
"I was going through a lot of confusion about the kind of roles I wanted to do. The kind of films I was doing, I was getting slapped across the face. I saw a lot of criticism coming my way for everything that I did and I sat back and asked myself what brought me here. If it was acting I should focus on that and that's what has guided my decisions so far," Balan said during a session with actor-director Farhan Akhtar on Hindi cinema at the HT Leadership Summit.
The actor, whose film The Dirty Picture hit theatres yesterday, says she is an emotional person at heart and likes to portray roles with honesty.
"However tough it might be I decided to go with the films that I completely believe in. I don't worry about things because an image is very restrictive for an actor. With every film my effort is to not limit myself. And it is working, I am having a blast and I could not have asked for more," she added.
Balan says she identified with her character in The Dirty Picture to some extend but could not understand how Smitha never used her head and only her body.
The actor, who put on weight to play the curvaceous character onscreen, said she hopes that buxom figure is back in cinema with the movie.
"I like the tag of sex symbol added to other things. I identify with Silk to the extend that I also enjoy and celebrate my body. But It was amazing how she never used her head and never let anyone see the other side. It was always about the body and she was very unapologetic about it," she said.
Balan started her career with Saif Ali Khan starer Parineeta in 2005 and said that playing Silka Smitha has been the toughest role so far.
"It has been the toughest role for me. I had to play five different people for one character in the movie," she said.