There is no denying that, over the years, Vidya Balan has managed to chart her own unique path in Bollywood. Not only has she experimented with her roles, but she has also shouldered films single-handedly — like The Dirty Picture (TDP; 2011) and Kahaani (2012) — that have gone on to become successes at the box office, which is something that is usually expected of a male actor. It is no surprise then that the 36-year-old feels that things are rapidly changing for women in the Hindi film industry.
“Now, there is definitely more faith in movies that have female protagonists. I think that comes from the success that other women-centric films have witnessed,” says Vidya, adding, “Even generally, all over the world, women are breaking stereotypes. We’re doing the unexpected, and we’re living the way we want to live, unapologetically. I think that is inspiring [film] writers and directors, and that’s what people are identifying with.”
Watch Vidya in the Kahaani trailer here
That’s one reason, as per Vidya, why women are opening up to playing grey roles now more than ever. “I could do Ishqiya (2010) and TDP because they were accepted. We are not expecting our women to only be noble anymore. We’re expecting them to be real. There’s lesser judgement, when it comes to women, and that sentiment is what is finding a voice in cinema too. Having said that, we still have a long way to go,” says the actor.
Meanwhile, Vidya reveals that she is currently busy reading scripts, and is excited about playing late actress Geeta Bali in a bit role in an upcoming Marathi film. “There was a time when actors like Nargis, Nutan and Geeta Bali were doing some wonderful work. Sometimes, I wish I was born 40-50 years ago. But, at times, I also feel glad I wasn’t born then. I think, today, female characters are more human. At that time, they were more glorified,” says Vidya, adding that she has always wanted to feature in a Marathi film. “While I was growing up, my mum used to watch a lot of Marathi films on Doordarshan on Saturdays. I used to watch them too. I grew up watching actors like Ashok Saraf and Lakshmikant Berde, but those [films] were largely comedies. Now, Marathi cinema is going through a new phase. I recently watched Natrang (2009) and Shikshanachya Aaicha Gho (2010). The industry is definitely going through a wonderful change,” she says.