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Vidya Balan is the new Aamir Khan

Vidya Balan’s Kahaani (2012) got off to a slow start. But business escalated over Saturday and Sunday, and it ended the weekend with Rs 13.83 crore net. With two woman-centric back-to-back hits, the actor is the new crowd-puller even with intense, off-beat films.

bollywood Updated: Mar 13, 2012 18:16 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Roshmila Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times

Vidya Balan’s Kahaani (2012) got off to a slow start (Rs 88 lakh on Friday). But business escalated over Saturday and Sunday, and it ended the weekend with Rs 13.83 crore net.

Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax theatres, points out that had the film not released during the board exams, numbers would have been better.

"She’s delivered back-to-back hits, with No One Killed Jessica (2011), The Dirty Picture (2011) and now Kahaani and is breaking her own records. Today, when it’s Vidya on screen, the audience expects a quality film and performance," he says.

The film’s director Sujoy Ghosh recalls how many people advised him not to make the film. "I’m grateful to them for trying to dissuade me because it only made me more determined. I wouldn’t recommend such obduracy, but it’s worked in the case of Kahaani, even if it didn’t with Aladdin (2007)," he smiles, giving credit to the ‘practical’ Miss Balan for believing in his film.

Except for a brief period in her career, when she was trying to fit into the commercial Hindi film heroine mould with films like Heyy Baby (2007) and Kismet Konnection (2008), Vidya’s always been ready for a gamble, be it a Parineeta (2005), Guru (2007), Paa (2009), Ishqiya or her last three films. And now it’s paid off.

"Kahaani is here to stay," says trade analyst Taran Adarsh, putting it in the same league as previous small-budget superhits like Raaz (2002) and Bheja Fry (2007), and attributing its success to Sujoy’s direction and the ‘Vidya’ factor. "She’s the new Khan," he adds.

Given her variety of roles, performances and box-office success, says trade analyst Amod Mehra, Vidya can be called a female Aamir Khan. "I told her that two years ago and that’s been proven true," he says.

Delhi distributor Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Arts endorses the view: "There can be no male replacement for Aamir, but there was space for a female Aamir that Vidya’s filled. She broke the new year jinx with No One Killed Jessica and The Dirty Picture helped us end 2011 on a high note. Now with Kahaani, she’s flagged off an unexpected festival in lacklusture March. One more hit, and no heroine will be able to touch her.

The rivals?

Kareena Kapoor

* Debuted in Refugee, rave reviews, no commercial gains

* Continued with off-track films like Asoka (2001), Chameli (2004), Yuva (2004), Dev (2004), Omkara (2006) and Qurbaan (2009), didn’t always translate into collections.

* Current avatar - ‘Desi’ Bond girl

Priyanka Chopra

* True Bollywood heroine in first film, Andaaz (2003)

* Ventured out of mainstream with Fashion (2008), Kaminey (2009), 7 Khoon Maaf (2011), won awards, but few rewards

* Current avatar – Bolly heroine in Teri Meri Kahaani, experimental in Barfee

Katrina Kaif

* Debut Boom (2003) doomed, went off-track in Sarkar (2005).

* Changed tracks successfully with New York (2009), Rajneeti (2010) and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011).

* Current avatar — glam in Yash Chopra’s next, offbeat in Ek Tha Tiger..

Where’s Kangana?

* Hit debut Gangster (2006), miss Woh Lamhe (2006)

* Success with Life In A… Metro (2007), Tanu Weds Manu (2010), Once Upon A Time In Mumbai (2010)

* Current avatar - Daredevil chic in Tezz, Krissh 3. Switches tracks for Shootout At Wadala

First Published: Mar 13, 2012 10:28 IST