Vidya Balan says 'it felt like bullying' when she was singled out for her Heyy Babyy costumes during awards night | Bollywood - Hindustan Times

Vidya Balan says 'it felt like bullying' when she was singled out for her Heyy Babyy costumes during awards night

Apr 25, 2024 08:32 AM IST

Vidya Balan said that while she's survived the film industry despite nepotism, she did realise early on in her career why certain people are protected.

Vidya Balan may be a tour-de-force now, but she's faced her share of struggles in the Hindi film industry. These include the evil that's plagued Bollywood for years – nepotism. On the podcast Unfiltered with Samdish, Vidya revealed that she was a target of nepotism, most notably when she got the Na-Real award at Filmfare Awards 2008 for her costumes in Sajid Khan's 2007 buddy comedy Heyy Babyy. (Also Read – Do Aur Do Pyaar: How Vidya Balan, Pratik Gandhi's film normalises infidelity, without glorifying it)

Shah Rukh Khan presented the Na-Real award to Vidya Balan for Heyy Babyy in 2008
Shah Rukh Khan presented the Na-Real award to Vidya Balan for Heyy Babyy in 2008

What Vidya said

“When they told me they're going to give me the Na-Real award, I said, ‘Why me? My clothes are not just my choice, right?’ At that time, I was too new to have an opinion on anything. So they said, ‘No, we’re just doing this fun segment so we're going to give you this award.' So I said, ‘Fine, but I’m going to share it with the costume designer and the director, and they said, ‘No, you mustn’t do that.' And that, I think, is not nice,” said Vidya.

Vidya said she was ready to be a sport until she realised when she reached the venue that another actor who was being given the Na-Real award backed out. So Vidya realised she was the only one being targeted through the segment. She went on to name her director and costume designer when presented the award, which caused ripples later. She faced backlash from their friends and supporters within the film industry.

She recalls it her as her first major tryst with nepotism. “At that night, I was shattered. I was shattered because I was very alone. I realised that yes, it does make a difference when you don't come from a film family. Because no one outside you is looking out for you. It felt like bullying to me. It was, it undoubtedly was. Just because I don't come with a certain shield, you can't… I thought it was a joke so it was okay. But when I realised I was the only one being made fun of, it wasn't funny anymore,” Vidya said.

What were the Na-Real awards?

At Filmfare Awards 2008, co-hosts Shah Rukh Khan and Saif Ali Khan presented the Na-Real awards, Bollywood's counterpart of the Razzies. They went and presented the award (in the shape of a coconut) to Vidya, seated in the audience. Even though she hesitated initially, they insisted her to be a sport. During her acceptance speech, Vidya said, “I was asked to trust Sajid (Khan) and Manish (Malhotra).” Shah Rukh and Saif then joked that since it was Sajid, her costumes made sense.

Vidya didn't only give it back to her Heyy Babyy director Sajid Khan and costume designer Manish Malhotra, but also to Shah Rukh and Saif, when they asked Vidya how they're looking. She replied famously, “When I got here and saw you, I said, ‘Wow, I didn’t realise Yash Raj has such cool waiters.'” Filmfare Awards were held at the Yash Raj Studio in Mumbai that year.

Vidya, last seen in Do Aur Do Pyaar, will now reprise her iconic role of Manjulika in Bhool Bhulaiyaa 3.

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