Vidya Balan is not frowning and fuming at pregnancy rumours anymore. Instead, she’s only enjoying them with the best of her sarcasm, as she takes a break: “But actresses have a shorter shelf-life anyway (I hate the word shelf-life!), so how can you take a break?”
Every day there’s been a new ­rumour about you — you were pregnant, your marriage was in trouble, you were walking out of films. What happened?
I’ve been having some ­niggling health issues which needed attention. I needed to take time off and just get it sorted, once and for all, because there’s always another film or a film release, and you keep pushing these things. I opted out of Sujoy Ghosh’s film which was a very difficult decision for me, considering we had done Kahaani together. The next thing I know is that they said I was pregnant and I said, ‘Okay, for the tenth time in 10 months, (laughs) this is faster than Gandhari. I don’t know at what rate she produced but I definitely beat her to it and it doesn’t even show!’
That seems out of line.
Yes, out of line because as an actor, I’m used to being judged and being talked about. But my husband is not an actor and I don’t think it’s anyone’s business to be saying things about him. I decided to opt out of a film. Male actors do that. They take breaks with no reason and no one ever asks them. So I think that underlying sexism in that really got me.
Why is it that an actress who gets married can only get pregnant? She can’t even get a cough or a cold and is not entitled to a break for God’s sake! Finally I realised that if Siddharth and I know what we share and our families do, it doesn’t matter. So I calmed down and I started laughing about it all over again.