When director Sujoy Ghosh met actor Vidya Balan for the first time, he wasn’t intending to make Kahaani with her. The two were interacting over another project. “I don’t think it’s fair to dwell on a project I’m not doing anymore. But he approached me with a really interesting story. After a couple of meetings, he narrated Kahaani’s story to me and Sujoy and I were sure that this would be it. And before we knew, the film had rolled,” recalls Vidya, who received three awards in January for her performance in The Dirty Picture (2011).
The actor shot the first schedule of the thriller-mystery nearly 18 months ago on the streets of Kolkata. “I play a six-month pregnant woman in search of her husband who has mysteriously gone missing. I shot for a month or two with a fake womb attached to my belly. And when I returned to Mumbai, my mother and sister welcomed me with big news. I was going to become maasi (aunt) to twins,” says Vidya, who claims to have taught her sister sitting and sleeping postures during pregnancy.
“It’s a funny co-incidence. My sister and I laugh about it even now because I was the one preaching her about what to eat, when she needs to sleep and how.”
Over the last three years, the actor has won accolades in continuity, starting with Paa (2009), followed by Ishqiya (2010) and The Dirty Picture. Will Kahaani be next? “I hope so!” exclaims Vidya. “My nephew and niece have been extremely lucky for me. Each time that I win a trophy, I show it to them and thank them for being my lucky mascots. They don’t understand anything. But they smile back and that is probably the biggest award I’d ever get.
As for Kahaani, the feedback so far has been exciting. But I’ve left the rest to god who’s there to give me all I deserve.”
‘Happier with films’
The Dirty Picture’s DVD was released recently in the city. Vidya recalls how the film’s producer Ekta Kapoor had co-incidentally discovered her years ago while producing TV shows. Vidya had played the character of a bespectacled girl who couldn’t hear properly on the TV show Hum Paanch before calling it quits.
Recently, when she lifted the Best Actor trophy for her ‘Dirty’ performance at the Zee Cine Awards in Macau, she recalled her connection with the soap queen and the network that had aired the show for several years.
“Today, I’m happier doing films,” she beams. “I don’t want to get back to the small screen, although I owe my entry into showbiz to it. I found the medium so taxing that I quit. With movies, you can still take breaks as per your desire. You don’t have such freedom on TV, although the show concepts today are far superior to what they used to be five years ago. So, if something exciting comes my way, I may consider returning. Never say never!”