Vidya Balan always shies away from controversy. Even when reports of her being sidelined, during the promotions of No One Killed Jessica surfaced, she maintained strict silence. But when co-star Rani Mukerji ‘mock-kissed’ her at a media event, heads turned.
"Rani and I were fed up of answering questions about whether we had catfights. The truth is that we didn’t have any. Someone asked us if we had kissed and made up, so in the heat of the moment we did a mock kiss. I don’t need that kind of publicity, and neither does the film," says Balan.
The actor will be seen playing model Jessica Lall’s younger sister Sabrina in the film. She and Mukerji, who dons the role of a reporter, team up to take the criminal to task and fight for Jessica’s justice. When asked why she wasn’t part of initial promotions for the film, Balan says, "Sabrina is like a wallflower… shy, awkward, timid and yet ready to take charge. Over the years, she transforms into a real-life hero. The role has more silence than dialogue."
Balan was pleased about the fact that the Jessica case verdict came out while the film was still being shot. According to her, hearing that news was reassuring.
Even though the film borrows a lot from the actual case, it is not a docudrama: "It’s a dramatised version of the actual event." She also met two people who called the No One Killed Jessica thappad (slap) help line to offer solutions to their problems. "We had an astounding response. Five thousand people called up on an average every day — to complain about eve teasing, harassment and other issues," she says.
Refuting reports of her having earmarked three weeks to lose weight and practice for dance sequences in Ekta Kapoor’s The Dirty Picture, Balan says, “We have to figure out what preparations need to be put in. We haven’t even had a meeting yet.” She does add that there might be scope for an item number in the film. She will be seen playing the role of South siren Silk Smitha.
The actor was also recently approached to host a couple of television shows. She has previously starred on UTV Bindaas’ Love Lockup. However, she maintains, “No recent TV offers have excited me. I’m open to doing a short stint on television for up to three months.” While Vibhu Puri’s Chenab Gandhi with Amitabh Bachchan has been shelved, Balan has finished shooting for Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahani and Santosh Sivan’s Malayalam film Urumi, which will release around mid-2011. “Urumi is a gift to my parents, as they’ve always wanted me to do a Malayalam film,” she says, adding, “A love story and comedy film are around the corner; news of which I will announce soon.”