Vidya Balan is not running any race — certainly not one that leads to Hollywood. At a time when a bevy of Bollywood actors are making their foray or finding their footing in the West, Vidya is content with her share of work in Indian cinema. The 38-year-old says that what matters [to her] is the nature of a film that she’s offered and not the industry [it belongs to].
“The only thing that guides my decision is the role, the stories that come to me. That could be from any part of the world — Iran, Pakistan, Korea, China — and I am open to it,” says Vidya, whose last project was the recent release Begum Jaan, which failed to make an impact at the box office.
The actor insists that she “isn’t actively seeking roles in Hollywood” because things work differently there. “You have to have an agent [there] among other things. I don’t even know the process correctly. Honestly, I’m not someone who has ever had to ask for work, thankfully, but not that I think there’s anything wrong in it. Somehow, it has just happened like that [for me].”
What does she think of her Bollywood contemporaries Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone who have successfully made a mark in international cinema? While Deepika starred in this year’s big Hollywood release, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, alongside Vin Diesel, Priyanka will be seen in the upcoming Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron-starrer, Baywatch. The two have also made their presence felt at international award dos.
Both Deepika and Priyanka are playing substantial roles [in the West]
Vidya says: “It feels great that they are doing mainstream work [in Hollywood] because for a person of colour — like they [people in the west] call those who aren’t white-skinned — to have broken into the mainstream is a big step forward. And both [Deepika and Priyanka] are playing substantial roles.”
Vidya admits that Hollywood has a global reach, but this doesn’t entice her enough. Mention that unlike in Bollywood, an actor’s age is rarely a hindrance in his or her career in the West, and The Dirty Picture (2011) star says: “I don’t think of Hollywood as an option. As long as the doors of cinema are always open to me, and they will be till I want them to, I am fine. Hollywood is not something I’m chasing,” says Vidya, who has impressed fans and critics alike with her roles in Bollywood films such as Paa (2009), The Dirty Picture (2011) and Kahaani (2012), among others.
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