Winning seems to have become a habit for Vidya Balan, who has been making a clean sweep at the awards since the past few years. Having broken the conventional heroine mould time and again with her films—- Paa, Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica, The Dirty Picture, Kahaani — Vidya, however, insists that there’s no conscious effort or plan to set trends or break away from stereotypes. “I am a greedy actor and when anything exciting comes my way, I grab it. I try to be as true to the character on camera as I can and live someone else’s life. I just stop being Vidya Balan on screen,” says the star. Awards and films apart, the newly-wed actress reveals that personally too she is in a phase of “complete bliss” post her marriage to production honcho Siddharth Roy Kapur. Here, in one of her first-ever post-marriage interviews with DNA, Vidya talks about her successful run at the box-office and being a married actress. Excerpts...
What are shaadi ke side-effects?
Well, I’m still figuring that out. It’s a very exciting time for me and I’m completely enjoying being a newly-wed! I am setting up the house, figuring out a rhythm and hoping to get better in the kitchen too... finding out aatte daal ka bhaav literally (laughs). But it’s pure bliss.
How are you balancing your roles as a homemaker and an actress?
Like I always have. I’ve always been a home-bird, so the only difference is that earlier I would go home to my parents, now I go home to a husband.
Any rules when it comes to choosing films now?
Well, I don’t think I can ever set rules for myself professionally. The only rule I follow is to be true on camera. It was like that before I was married, and it doesn’t change after marriage either. Married or not, the criteria of choosing a film remains the same.
Having set a higher benchmark with every performance, is there a pressure to surpass it each time you do a new film?
No, there’s never been any pressure or rather I’ve never felt any. Neither to outdo myself nor to compete with anyone else. There was a phase when I did feel the pressure and did try to be Vidya Balan on screen, but it didn’t work, because as an actor I am here to be someone else, be another character, not Vidya. As for competition at the box-office, I’ve always maintained that I don’t understand numbers. I am an actor, not an accountant.
But choosing a film that would take you a step further each time must not be easy...
No it isn’t. That’s why I don’t think about it. All I think about is what is possible from my end and that’s giving my 100 per cent. That’s what I do, no matter which role I play. I feel I’ve been fortunate that I got to play these roles, work with some amazing filmmakers, and project their vision convincingly.
With the kind of commercial viability and artistic credibility you and your films have garnered, you seem to have completely changed the way roles are now written for actresses...
Well, thank you, but it would be unfair to take the credit for that. I think these roles are just a reflection of our times. Today women are coming into their own and there are people who are thinking of bringing that to cinema. Kahaani was an emotionally intelligent film in itself. So, like I said, I just feel lucky to be offered such roles.
But they were not without risks.
I agree that some like The Dirty Picture was something that even I considered a risk so I took a really long time to say a yes to it. But once I did, I just went in with full conviction and zero inhibitions. And that’s also how I approach all my roles. It’s not about choosing films that are women-centric, but about doing justice to whatever you decide to be on camera, whether it’s a single mother in Paa or a sexy seductress in The Dirty Picture... I guess that’s what works.
You have two releases this year...
Yes, first there’s Ghanchakkar and then there’s Shaadi Ke Side Effects that I start in March. In Ghanchakkar I play an over-the-top Punjabi hatti katti wife. I had been looking forward to doing a full-on comic role, which I got in this one.
Talks of your weight are finally a thing of the past...
I don’t know, because frankly I couldn’t care less. I just let my character and role decide my weight for me. So if I need to lose or pile on weight, I’ll go by what my film demands.