When Vidya Balan signed The Dirty Picture in 2011, little did she know that she would be kick-starting a trend of women-oriented films. And while she has played different kinds of roles since then, the actor continues to be the flag bearer when it comes to playing strong female characters, as can be seen in her films such as No One Killed Jessica (2011) and Kahaani (2012). It has been five years since Kahaani was released, but the actor says that it still feels like yesterday. “I can’t believe that people still talk about Kahaani with as much passion as they did when they saw it in 2012, so that is overwhelming,” she says.
Vidya has also spoken about how being married has nothing to do with the quality of roles she has been offered. “There is so much interesting content for female actors. Also, films centered around female protagonists are doing well. I think there are many opportunities for actors, no matter their age . I think it’s an exciting time for female actors, and it’s only going to get better from here,” she says.
Vidya says women pursuing higher education and aspiring to be more than homemakers may have caused society to change. She elaborates, “Previously, women would give up studies or their careers once they got married or had children. But now, women are continuing to pursue higher education, focusing on their jobs and careers. Previously, you made the man and his family the focus after marriage, and the children after that, leaving no time for yourself. There has been a shift there. I think women now continue to do what they want to do for themselves. Of course, it’s that much more demanding, but we are all walking the tightrope.”
Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra have secured acting gigs in Hollywood, but would Vidya also be interested in working in projects overseas? “I am open to working in the West or anywhere in the world where there is a compelling story to tell and where I am offered an extremely exciting part. But, honestly, I haven’t made any efforts towards that. I think I am an actor who needs constant stimulation. I get bored very easily, so I need new challenges all the time, which is what keeps me motivated. I choose roles that are different from each other, and I’m constantly looking for parts that I haven’t played so far — a person I would like to personify and like to know; a world I would like to inhabit; a story I’d like to tell,” says Vidya.