Vidya Balan has spent over a decade in Bollywood, and her passion for the craft only seems to grow. However, unlike many of her contemporaries, Vidya is not interested in getting into film production. Here, she talks about the challenging roles she does, why she isn’t interested in production, and more.
You usually take up films that have challenging roles…
I think I love challenges and they love me (laughs). For the past years, that’s how my career has been. I have done a couple of films that were neither challenging nor fulfilling. I like to play different characters. For me, that’s the meaning of being an actor.
Is it true that you’d started focusing on the business aspect of film-making some time ago?
I’m an actor because I love acting. And thankfully, I have enjoyed being part of every film that I’ve done till date, except, maybe, a couple of films that weren’t great in terms of process. I feel when you focus on business and numbers, you start looking at a film differently when it doesn’t fare well. I don’t want to do that. Although I would like every film to do well, but if it doesn’t, that shouldn’t take away from the joy that I experience as an actor while working on it. If you focus only on numbers, you are judging a film only in terms of the business it does. And that’s not fair. So that perspective is back.
Apparently, you and your husband, Siddharth Roy Kapur (producer), have decided not to work together…
We have decided between ourselves that it’s healthy if we don’t work together as far as possible. I don’t think it’s easy to work as well as live together. But, if I’m doing a film, and they, as a studio, decide to back that movie, I can’t and wouldn’t stop that process. It’s not like, ‘Hum log saath mein kabhi kaam nahi karenge (We will never work together).’ But if we can manage it, we will. We want to retain the sanctity of our marriage or relationship, which you have to protect for yourself.
Do you, like your husband, want to become a producer?
Nahi, woh kar rahe hain, unko hi karne do (No, let him do that; laughs). I don’t understand numbers at all. That’s why it (the business part of films) defocused me in between because I was trying to understand something that I don’t get at all (laughs). So, I have decided that if I don’t understand something, I won’t get into it.
You have shot two back-to-back films in Kolkata. You seem to have a special bond with the city…
I don’t know, but I love Kolkata. I’ve always said that since I was born and brought up in Mumbai, it’s my home. But if there’s a second home, it has to be Kolkata. I have shot so much there. Kolkata has been so kind, loving and warm towards me. It feels like home. I have shot Parineeta (2005), Kahaani (2012), the sequel to Kahaani, my latest film and my first Bengali film there, besides ad films and music videos. I will keep going back to Kolkata.
How was the experience of filming the sequel to Kahaani?
It was great. Working with Sujoy (Ghosh; director) again, after so many years, was superb. The film demanded a lot of hard work. We shot in really high temperatures at a place that is, supposedly, the hottest place in West Bengal. It was tough in that sense, but we all really roughed it out.
Was it challenging to play Geeta Bali in a Marathi film?
It was a challenge, because our faces aren’t similar at all. Luckily, I had a good team, so during the look test itself, I felt that I might be able to pull it off. I have tried to imbibe her mannerisms. It wasn’t a biopic, wherein I had to get into her skin. So, I watched her in films and tried to imbibe her mannerisms. It was fun.