Vidya Balan resurfaces to talk men, movies and marriage with Roshmila Bhattacharya.
You had six releases last year.. and not a single in the first quarter of 2009. What’s the strategy?
(Laughs) What strategy? It was pure coincidence rather than careful planning. Some films were pushed back.. some pushed ahead. Was it really six releases? That’s a hell of a lot! This year, I won’t have more than two. So that should even out the equation.
You’ve been out of circulation for a while.<b1>
I’ve been out of Bombay for some time. I was in Wai for two months for Ishqiya. Now I’m off to Malaysia for Pa.
And visitors were barred from the sets of Ishqiya.
(Laughs) They weren’t actually banned. It was a gruelling and hectic schedule. We were all focussed on our work and had no time for socialising. Personally, I don’t like visitors dropping by because I can’t multi-task. But my mother and sister drove down.
Yeah, for your birthday..
Not mine, my mother’s. I couldn’t come down home, so they drove there. My birthday is on January 1.
What’s it like being born on the first day of the year?
(Chuckles) It’s like any other birthday except that it’s easier for others to remember.
How involved is Vishal Bharadwaj with Ishqiya considering he’s only the co-producer?
Abhishek (Chaudhary) has written the script and is directing the film. He has worked with Vishal on his earlier projects. Vishal has complete faith in him. He is backing the film in a big way.
I’m told the intimate scenes and the colourful UP dialect your character uses gave you some uncomfortable moments.
Yes, there were some awkward moments but as an actress it was my job to get over such blocks.
This woman is real.. believable. And to bring out the different shades in her persona, I had to reconcile with her and her setting completely. This is how she would speak and react. <b2>
Parineeta singled you out as one of the most promising new faces. But in the four years since, newer entrants like Deepika Padukone, Asin and even Katrina Kaif have streaked ahead.
I don’t agree. I have a great track record.. 10 releases, six-seven hits.. it’s a good average. You have to see where I come from and where I’ve reached to see how far I’ve come. Four years have passed in a flash.. and they’ve been wonderful. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to live my dreams with some brilliant filmmakers.
Are you doing Pradeep Sarkar’s Romeo and Juliet?
Is he making Romeo and Juliet? I have no clue. But I’m always there for dada.
You weren’t there in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag.
There were date problems. Anyway, Konkona (Sen Sharma) who did the role eventually, did a good job.
Manoj Kumar has you in mind for Naukrani—The Indian Maid.
No one has spoken to me about such a project but I respect Manojji. If he were to offer me a role, I’d definitely give him time for a narration.
Sajid Khan hasn’t repeated you in Housefull despite the successful Heyy Babyy.
No real reason but Sajid and I have decided to wait to work together till the next film. Right now I have my hands full with Pa. I’d loved Cheeni Kum and had told Balki (director) and Tabu as much.
The subject.. the language of cinema.. was so urban.. so today! Balki thinks out of the box and that makes Pa enjoyable.
Pa stars the Bachchans, Amitabh and Abhishek. What’s it like to get a double dose of the Bs?
(Laughs) Amitji is the Amitabh Bachchan and only when you meet him do you realise why there can never be another Big B. Abhishek and I have done Guru together and though it wasn’t a man-woman relationship, there was an instant comfort level.
Your chemistry sizzled with Madhavan in Guru. We can see that even in the ads that feature you two. What do you attribute it to?
(Shrugs) You can’t plan or predict these things. You just work better with certain co-stars.
In Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s
Chenab Gandhi, toplining Amitabh Bachchan, won’t you get sidelined?
I wouldn’t do a film if there wasn’t enough for me to do in it, and I don’t mean this in the context of screen time. In
, I had only a few scenes but they justified my presence
Even in Nikhil Advani’s Chand Bhai, the protagonist is a teenaged boy.
There’s still time to go before we start filming. It’s a wonderful script, I’m paired with Akshaye Khanna. I have enough scope to perform.
So it won’t be another Chandni Chowk To China?
I’ve not seen Chandni Chowk.. there has been no time. But I’ve worked with Nikhil Advani in Salaam-e- Ishq.. he’s a good
director and I know he will prove that once again.
This is the IPL and election season and you are not campaigning for anyone?
(Laughs) I don’t understand cricket, so I steer clear of the game even though there were offers last season. As for politics, I’ve never given it a thought.
I’m an actress and there’s plenty for me to do. My dates are booked for the next year. I couldn’t even accommodate a Bengali film, Mukti, when it was pushed ahead.
The economic slowdown seems to have hit the film industry too.
It was bound to happen. Budgets were going haywire.. films were being sold at unreasonably high prices. It was like the rocketing real estate prices!
But just concentrating on buying and selling is a myopic way of looking at things. In life, we need levellers to restore order. The economic slowdown is that leveller.
Ever since you’ve moved up the ladder, you’ve been keeping away from serials and doing only select ads.
It’s not a small screen versus big screen issue. Our films are shown on TV, right? But I have no time for soaps anymore. As for ads, earlier, I was just a model trying to make the best of every opportunity. Now I’m an actress and have a certain responsibility. I have to be careful which products I lend my name to because I could be a role model too.
From being a fashion disaster to Ritu Beri’s muse.. you’ve come a long way on the ramp too.
Ritu wanted me to walk for her, I did. I’ve done it for Sabya (Sabyasachi Mukherjee) and Anu-Sandeep before.
It was no big deal. Yes, I was a little lost in between. But now I’ve decided I’ll do what I want.. and I’ll wear what I’m comfortable in.
The rumors about Shahid Kapoor and you have died down.. he’s reported to have moved on to Priyanka Chopra.
(With a relieved laugh) Thank God!
Didn’t the incessant talks create awkwardness between both of you? Do you still meet.. talk?
Shahid and I would meet during Kismet Connection.. to discuss the film. Now we’re both busy with other films. But there’s no awkwardness.
I don’t get awkward about these things anymore. I’ve been linked with almost every co-star I’ve worked with. But eventually, even the media gets tired and gives up trying to find me a match.
What about your parents? Don’t they want you to settle down?
Even I want to settle down. I’m a die hard romantic. I believe in marriage.. in happily-ever-after endings.
And I believe that someone somewhere is waiting for me. Some day he’ll appear and we’ll be together, as it’s meant to be. But I can’t tell you when.
What were you doing on Valentine’s Day?
A friend was getting engaged. I was at the engagement. Some day I’m going to sing Mitwa kahe dhadkan hai tujhse kya. Till then, kabhi alvida na kehna.
E-mail author: firstname.lastname@example.org