It's actress Vidya Balan, who has acted in popular films like Parineeta and Lage Raho Munna Bhai, celebrates her 33rd birthday. Hailed as the next big thing, among the current lot of Bollywood actresses, she was born in Palakkad, on the border of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, in 1978.
Unlike her other competitors, she banks on her beauty, grace and talent rather than on exposure. Vidya first started out by modeling in the Surf Excel ad in the year 1998. Success of the ad saw her doing a lot of commercials. Her mentor Pradeep Sarkar directed most of them. She did some 25 TV advertisements.
She did three music videos as well, with Pankaj Udhas, Euphoria and Shubha Mudgal, again directed by Pradeep Sarkar. Balan made her film debut in the year 2003 with the Bengali film Bhalo Theko for which she won the 'best actress' Anand Lok Puraskar in Kolkata. She also acted in two television serials including the superhit Hum Panch and Hanste Khelte.
Balan made her Hindi film debut with Pradeep Sarkar's highly acclaimed Parineeta playing the graceful Lolita. It was a big challenge for even a seasoned actor to capture the grace and subtle nuances of the character, Lolita. But she made it look easy, drawing applause from all quarters. She hasn't looked back ever since.
Lage Raho Munna Bhai, with Sanjay Dutt followed. The film became a phenomenal success and even went to the Oscars. Guru was her next release, directed by acclaimed director Mani Ratnam. The film was a great success too. Although she had only a small role, it was appreciated.
Her next two releases, Salaam-e-Ishq and Eklavya failed to do well, but the latter was selected as India's official entries to the Oscars for the 80th Academy Awards.
Among Balan's last few releases, Heyy Babyy and Bhool Bhulaiyaa have fared very well at the box office, but Rajkumar Santoshi directed Halla Bol flopped despite critical acclaim.
Her film with Shahid Kapur Kismat Konnection was also a success, during which it was rumoured that they were dating. Her current release Paa with Bachchans - Amitabh and Abhishek, in which she portrayed Amitabh's mother, has got her rave reviews.
Her forthcoming films are - Vishal Bhardwaj's Ishqiya, in which she is paired with Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Chenab Gandhi.