Vidya Balan at IFFI 2023: My size has never mattered to me in front of the camera
Actor Vidya Balan, during a masterclass at the 54th IFFI spoke about the constant chatter about her weight and how she embraced her body.
Be it her characters she portrayed in films, or the body issues she struggled with and turned it into her strength, actor Vidya Balan has broken the glass ceiling in more ways than one. And she continues to do so. While there was a time when her physical appearance made more noise than her work, the actor ensures that it remains a chapter in her life that she looks back at and talks about only to inspire several other woman who are constantly targeted for their weight and outer appearance.
In conversation with actor-politician Vani Tripathi Tikoo during a masterclass on Women and Glass Ceiling at the 54th IFFI in Goa, Vidya said, “I had realised I was only sending hate towards my body. I was constantly saying it, ‘You are not what I want you to be’. And therefore, I was constantly falling sick. I started working with a healer 12 years ago and I realised that you are abusing the very thing that’s keeping you alive.”
The 44-year-old further added that the moment she started being “thankful” to her “body and breath” for keeping her alive, she started believing in it. “It has been a gamechanger since then, because today, however I wake up in the morning, I feel good about myself, and on days I don’t, I then tell myself, ‘It’s okay, tomorrow will be a new day. Let me live with what I am feeling today’. Sometimes, your body also expresses your emotions whether you feel tired, angry, jealous, grateful, hurt, tearful or whatever, but that doesn’t make you smaller. I had started to feel small in my bigness, and that’s ridiculous. It was almost like I was cowering.”
The one thing that the actor stresses she would always be grateful to God for is that, “My size has never mattered to me when I face the camera. I love the camera so much I trust it so much that I believe that it will always love me back.”
Giving a piece of advice to all those who get bogged down by how they are judged by the society, Vidya stresses, “Forget about how they are judged, how do they judge themselves is important. When you look into the mirror, how you feel. And if you don’t feel good, it’s okay. We are humans and we have good and bad days, but fake it till you make it. Tell yourself that I love and accept myself, a little more everyday, and it really works. We women have allowed our bodies to form such a large part of our identities.”
Stating that if anything to do with our body can bring honour and shame to a family, Vidya believes it can definitely destroy our confidence when someone comments about it. She elaborated, “If you have put on weight, you feel like you are undesirable, unworthy. If you shed, you suddenly feel like maybe you deserve a little more in life. It is ridiculous because your body is what’s keeping you alive and it must be honoured at all costs. I also learnt this very important lesson a few years ago because I have had my struggles, which you have all known and it’s out there for everyone who have seen me through the years.”