You expect her to be down after news reports of having suffered a nervous breakdown on the sets of Sujoy Ghosh’s film, Kahani, in Kolkata. But Vidya Balan is upbeat after a rejuvenating Diwali break with her family in Mumbai. "Had the story been true, would I have been in a state to talk about it?" she argues, admitting that she has been flooded with calls and messages since the story appeared, not just from her extended family here, but friends and fans in the US, UK, Dubai and Australia.
"It’s good to know that so many people care but God forbid, such reports can drive my own family to the brink of a breakdown given that they have never let me utter even a white lie on the subject of my health."
Balan has been shooting non-stop for almost four months now and has spent the last couple of months in Kolkata, sometimes working through the night. She admits to being sleep-starved at times but not over-stressed. "I’m a night person anyway and love my work too much for it to ever become a pressure," she says, pointing out that the tears referred to in the article, were feigned to coax Ghosh into letting her dash home for Diwali.
She is readying for such breakdowns, though, in reel life, once she starts working on Milan Luthria’s Dirty Picture. The film is inspired by Silk Smitha, the ‘soft porn star’ from down south who was reportedly driven by personal and professional problems to take her own life at the age of 35.
"I’ve had my lows too but never been so sad as to contemplate suicide," says the actor, pointing out that such tendencies are often triggered off by psychological imbalances. "Thank God I’m grounded and equipped to cope with life’s troubles. I try never to get emotionally entangled with a role, however intense, and go for a detox after every film. I’m the eternal Sunshine Girl who sees a silver lining in every dark cloud."
Balan admits that she took her time giving the nod to Luthria’s offer to play Silk Smitha. “I’m doing it because I know that despite the title, which is a reflection of how Silk Smitha was perceived, and a story that can lend itself to plenty of sleaze, Ekta (producer Ekta Kapoor) and Milan are not going to make a dirty picture. I went to see Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai with my parents to reassure them and myself that I was in safe hands,” she smiles.
One can look forward to seeing her in a more sizzling avatar though. Balan recently posed for this picture that had a veteran actor swooning and ruing over her not having entered the industry during his time. “But even he acknowledged that despite being daring, the pose bore a certain dignity,” she asserts.
Supposedly, Kareena Kapoor is having second thoughts about Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine since Dirty Picture also revolves around the ups and downs in a star’s life. Balan retorts, “All I can say is that I’m doing Dirty Picture. Period!”