Vidya Balan



Vidya Balan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vidya Balan (pronounced [ʋɪd̪jaː baːlən]; born 1 January 1978)[1] is an Indian film actress, who appears in HindiBengali and Malayalam language films. At age sixteen, Balan landed her first acting role in the sitcom Hum Paanch (1995). After making several unsuccessful attempts to start a career in film, she acted in television commercials and music videos. In 2003, she made her feature film debut with the independent Bengali drama Bhalo Theko.
In 2005, Balan garnered praise for her first Hindi film, Parineeta, and followed it with a leading role in the blockbuster Lage Raho Munna Bhai(2006). Her subsequent portrayal of glamorous characters in the filmsHeyy Babyy (2007) and Kismat Konnection (2008) met with negative comments from film critics. 2009, however, marked the beginning of the most successful period in Balan's career as she portrayed five consecutive roles to wide critical acclaim in Paa (2009), Ishqiya (2010),No One Killed Jessica (2011), The Dirty Picture (2011), and Kahaani(2012). These roles have fetched her the tag of a "female hero" and established her as a leading contemporary actress of Hindi cinema.[2][3][4]
Balan has received one National Film Award, four Filmfare Awards and four Screen Awards. She is a social activist and supports the cause of women empowerment. She initially drew criticism for her weight and dressing sense, but was later credited in the media for retaining her individuality and breaking stereotypes of a Hindi film heroine. She is in a relationship with Siddharth Roy Kapur and lives in Khar, Mumbai with her parents.



[edit]Early life and background

Vidya Balan was born on 1 January 1978 in Ottapalam, a town in the Palakkad District of Kerala, to P. R. Balan, currently the Vice President of ETC India, and Saraswathy Balan, a homemaker.[5][6] According to Balan, they speak "a mix ofTamil and Malayalam" at home; she is also well versed in Hindi, Marathi, English and Bengali.[7] Her elder sister, Priya Balan, and brother-in-law work in the field of advertising.[5]
Balan grew up in the suburban neighbourhood of Chembur, Mumbai and was schooled at St. Anthony Girls' High School.[8][9] Balan aspired to make a career in film from a young age and considers Shabana Azmi and Madhuri Dixit as her early inspirations.[10][11] At the age of sixteen, Balan auditioned for and starred briefly in Ekta Kapoor's sitcom Hum Paanch, as Radhika, a bespectacled teenager.[12] Following the success of the show, Balan refused Anurag Basu's offer to star as the lead of a television soap opera, as she wanted to concentrate on making a film career.[13] Her parents were supportive of her decision to become an actress, but encouraged her to complete her education first.[10] She thus attended St. Xavier's College to pursue a bachelor's degree in sociology; an experience which she describes as "truly memorable".[14] She later pursued a master's degree in sociology from the University of Mumbai.[15]


[edit]Struggle and debut (2000–03)

While pursuing her master's degree, Balan auditioned for and won the lead role in the Malayalam film Chakram, oppositeMohanlal, and was subsequently signed on for twelve other Malayalam language films. However, due to production difficulties, Chakram was shelved.[16] Film producers blamed her for bringing "bad luck" to the project; labelled her as a "jinx" and replaced her in all the films that she had been contracted for.[10] She then shifted focus to Tamil cinema. In 2001, she was cast as the female lead in N. Linguswamy's Run (2002). However, after shooting for the first schedule, she was dropped and replaced by Meera Jasmine.[17] She was signed up under false pretences for a sex comedy, a genre she was then uncomfortable with, and thus decided to leave the project.[10] Thereafter, she signed on for a third Tamil film, Manasellam (2003), but was replaced by Trisha Krishnan as the director was dissatisfied with her work.[18]
After failing to start a film career, Balan appeared in approximately sixty television commercials and in music videos forEuphoria and Shubha Mudgal; a majority of these were directed by Pradeep Sarkar.[13][19] In 2003, she was signed on for her first starring role in Goutam Halder's independent Bengali drama Bhalo Theko.[20] Her portrayal of Anandi, a young woman reminiscing about her past, won her an Anandalok Purashkar for Best Actress.[21]

[edit]Breakthrough (2005–08)

In 2005, Balan made her Hindi film debut with Pradeep Sarkar's musical drama Parineeta. Before being cast for the film, Balan had to undergo extensive auditions for a period of 6 months.[16] The film, an adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel of the same name, narrated the love story of an idealist Lalita (Balan) and an egoist Shekhar (Saif Ali Khan), the son of a capitalist businessman.[22] Her performance in the film was praised by critics;[23] Derek Elley fromVariety wrote, " An acting revelation is Tamil newcomer Balan, whose devoted but dignified Lalita is the picture's heart and soul."[24] Parineeta fetched her a Best Debut (Female) award and a nomination for Best Actress at the annualFilmfare Awards ceremony.[25]
The following year, Balan appeared opposite Sanjay Dutt in Rajkumar Hirani's comedy film Lage Raho Munna Bhai. She portrayed the role of Jhanvi, a radio-jockey and the love interest of the protagonist Munna Bhai. To prepare for her role, she met with a couple of radio jockeys and watched them at work.[26] Her performance was critically well received,[27] and the film emerged as a blockbuster with gross earnings of INR118.57 crore (US$22.41 million).[28]
In 2007, Balan featured in a supporting role in Mani Ratnam's semi-biographic drama Guru as a woman suffering frommultiple sclerosis. The film, which starred Mithun ChakrabortyAbhishek BachchanAishwarya Rai Bachchan, and R. Madhavan in leading roles, performed well at the box office.[29] However, film critics Khalid Mohamed and Raja Sennoted that her "talent was wasted" in a "minuscule role".[30][31] Her next release was Nikhil Advani's multi-starrer romanceSalaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Love, opposite John Abraham. The film, which narrated six individual love stories, saw Balan play the role of a television reporter, Tehzeeb Hussain, suffering from a memory loss condition. The film, which was a critical and commercial failure,[29] generated positive reviews for Balan. Sukanya Verma of wrote, "Vidya's transformation from a self-assured working woman to a helpless, vulnerable person is superb."[32]
Balan then took a supporting role in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's suspense thriller Eklavya: The Royal Guard, alongsideAmitabh BachchanBoman IraniSharmila Tagore, Saif Ali Khan, and Sanjay Dutt. The film, which flopped commercially, met with positive critical reviews and was selected as India's official entry to the Oscars for the 80th Academy Awards.[33]She was later cast as Isha Sahni, a single mother, in Sajid Khan's Heyy Babyy. Co-starring Akshay KumarRitesh Deshmukh, and Fardeen Khan, the comedy film was a box-office success,[29] but garnered negative reviews from critics, as did Balan's performance. CNN-IBN's Rajeev Masand mentioned her as the "sore thumb" of the film, and members of the media criticised her wardrobe and make-up.[34][35]
Balan's final film in 2007 was Priyadarshan's psychological thriller Bhool Bhulaiyaa, a remake of the Malayalam filmManichitrathazhu (1993). Balan featured as Avani Chaturvedi (a character played by Shobana in the Malayalam original), a woman suffering from dissociative identity disorder.[36] Co-starring Shiney Ahuja, Akshay Kumar, and Ameesha Patel,Bhool Bhulaiyaa was a commercial success with a worldwide revenue of over INR83 crore (US$15.69 million).[29]Reviewers, while being generally negative of the film, were appreciative of Balan's performance. Writing for Hindustan Times, Khalid Mohamed described her as "bankably likeable" and Bollywood Hungama's Taran Adarsh labelled her as "splendid".[37][38] Balan subsequently earned a second Filmfare nomination in the Best Actress category.[25]
In 2008's social film Halla Bol, Balan played a supporting role alongside Ajay Devgn and Pankaj Kapur. The film was based on the life of activist Safdar Hashmi, who was killed by political rivals while performing on a street play (by the name of Halla Bol) in 1989.[39] The film was a critical failure.[40] Later that year, she co-starred with Shahid Kapoor in Aziz Mirza's romantic comedy Kismat Konnection. A commercial failure,[41] the film and her performance generated a negative response; critic Sonia Chopra commented, "[Balan] is made to look downright drab. The haircut is unflattering, the make-up too plain, the clothes usually in off-white or brown. Plus the character is repetitive and reminds us of the one she played in Lage Raho Munnabhai."[42]

[edit]Success and critical acclaim (2009 onwards)

In 2009, Balan played the role of Vidya, an unwed gynaecologist struggling with her 12-year-old son's progeria syndrome, in the R. Balki-directed dramedy Paa. Amitabh Bachchan played the role of Balan's son and Abhishek Bachchan played the titular character. Well received by critics, the film has been described as a major turning point in her career.[43]Sukanya Verma compared her acting style to that of Dimple Kapadia and noted, "Balan is poignant yet restrained and projects an impressive figure of grace and integrity";[44] Nikhat Kazmi from The Times of India further argued that Balan was successful in lending a "rare dignity to the image of the Bollywood mom."[45] Her portrayal ultimately fetched her a Filmfare Award for Best Actress and a Screen Award for Best Actress, among other wins.[25]
Balan followed the success of Paa with Vishal Bhardwaj's Ishqiya, a black comedy directed by debutante Abhishek Chaubey; co-starring Naseeruddin ShahArshad Warsi, and Salman Shahid. Balan's role was that of Krishna Verma, a sexually manipulative woman. Balan described her character as "an epitome of grey" and a departure from the conventional portrayal of women in cinema.[46] In preparation for her part, she undertook professional training to speak in the local Uttar Pradesh-dialect.[47] The feature as well as her performance received critical acclaim; Anupama Chopra ofNDTV stated, "Balan’s smoldering looks scorch the screen even as her eyes hint at tragedy. She proves that she is miles ahead of the cookie cutter Barbie dolls that clutter Bollywood and that sensuality has very little to do with showing skin."[48]Her work in the film earned Balan a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and a second consecutive Best Actress award at Screen.[49]
Balan with co-stars Tusshar Kapoor (left) and Emraan Hashmi at the audio release ofThe Dirty Picture. Her performance in the film met with unanimous acclaim and among other wins, fetched her a National Award and a Filmfare Award for Best Actress
Balan's first release of 2011 was Raj Kumar Gupta's semi-biographic thrillerNo One Killed Jessica, alongside Rani Mukerji. The film, based on theJessica Lal murder case saw Balan portray the real-life character of Sabrina Lal, Jessica's reticent sister. While preparing for her role, Balan did not meet Lal on the insistence of Gupta as "the Sabrina [...] today is different from the Sabrina a decade ago, [when] the story begins".[50] No One Killed Jessicamet with contrasting reviews from critics, but Balan's performance was particularly praised. The Hindu remarked on Balan's ability to be "in sublime control over her emotions"[51] and added that "her hesitant body language, her faith, her helplessness, her rage, her sorrow and her gratitude all come across beautifully".[52] The film had net earnings of INR49 crore (US$9.26 million) and was noted for being a commercial success despite the absence of a male lead.[53] Balan earned another Filmfare nomination in the Best Actress category for the film.[54] In March 2011, a retrospective of Balan's films was held in Australia, as part of the film festivalBollywood & Beyond.[55]
Balan's next appearance was in Ekta Kapoor's The Dirty Picture, a biopic based on the life and death of the controversial Indian actress Silk Smitha.[56] Balan was cast as Silk, who was—in Balan's words—"known for her brazenness and in-your-face sexuality."[57] She described the role as the "boldest" she had ever played, one that "required a lot of mental preparation," and to look the part, she gained 12 kilograms (26 lb).[58] The film opened to major critical acclaim,[59] and Balan received unanimous praise for her portrayal which several reviewers regarded as her best performance to date. Khalid Mohamed observed, "She’s extraordinary: gutsy, consistently in character and unafraid of exposing her darker side. Here’s the kind of complex performance which you haven’t evidenced in years and years."[60] Her director Milan Luthria described her as the contemporary claimant of the "sex-symbol" title, and compared her "voluptuousness" to the likes of yesteryear actresses Sridevi and Vyjayanthimala.[61] The film was eventually declared a blockbuster,[62][63]earning INR117 crore (US$22.11 million) worldwide.[64] Balan won a second Filmfare Award, a third consecutive Screen Award, and a National Film Award for Best Actress.[65][49]
For her next feature film, Balan starred as Vidya Bagchi, a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband in Sujoy Ghosh's Kahaani. The thriller, set in the city of Kolkata during the Durga Puja festivities met with wide critical acclaim. To lend authenticity to her part, Balan met several pregnant women and learnt about their lifestyle.[66] She generated public and media attention by wearing a fake baby bump during the film's promotional activities.[67][68] Balan received further appreciation for her performance in Kahaani. Subhash K. Jha praised Balan's portrayal of "grace under pressure" as "measured and skilfull"; Pratim D. Gupta of The Telegraph added that she "gets into the physicality of a pregnant woman with unfailing mastery".[69][70] Kahaani emerged as a major commercial success both at the domestic and international box office, with revenues of over INR104 crore (US$19.66 million).[71]
As of August 2012, Balan has been signed on for Raj Kumar Gupta's black comedy Ghanchakkar, alongside Emraan Hashmi,[72] and Saket Chaudhary's romance Shaadi Ke Side Effects, opposite Farhan Akhtar.[73]

[edit]Personal life

Balan lives with her parents in Khar, a suburban neighbourhood in Mumbai.[74] She is trained in carnatic music and has briefly studied the dance forms of Bharatnatyam and Kathak.[75] Regarding her religious affiliations, Balan said, "I am a person with a lot of faith and I have conversations [with God] all the time but I am not so religious in the conventional, organised sense".[10] She practices vegetarianism and was listed as "India's hottest vegetarian" in a poll conducted byPETA in 2011.[76] Her weight fluctuations over the years have been the subject of substantial media coverage in India.[77][78][79]
The mass media has often speculated about a romantic relationship between Balan and her co-actors, but she has strongly denied these reports.[80][81] In 2009, Balan was involved in a controversy when she mentioned a previous relationship in which "caustic remarks" were made at her due to her weight. She said, "If someone who matters to you takes you down, it can break you. That someone whose approval mattered to me started to constantly find faults with me. At that point of time, it was important to walk away from that relationship."[82] Though she refused to name the person,tabloid reports suggested that she was referring to Shahid Kapoor (her co-star in Kismat Konnection).[83] Kapoor, however, denied the allegations.[84] During an interview in May 2012, Balan announced that she was dating Siddharth Roy Kapur, the CEO of UTV Motion Pictures.[85]
Besides acting in film, Balan is a social activist. In March 2011, Balan endorsed World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hourcampaign in India.[86] She campaigned for the cause of nutrition in India for CINI (Child in Need Institute), a non-profit organisation based in Kolkata.[87] In September 2012, Balan visited a village in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, where she participated in a campaign to promote the cause of women empowerment and children's education.[88] For her contribution in the field of women empowerment, Balan was awarded with The Prabha Khaitan Puraskar 2012 by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce, and emerged as the youngest recipient of the award.[89][90] Balan has also been appointed by the Government of India as their brand ambassador in the drive to improve the country's sanitary condition.[91]

[edit]Media image and artistry

Balan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, 2012
Following the success of Parineeta and Lage Raho Munnabhai, Balan's film roles were subject to wide critical analysis.[92] Vir Sanghvi noted that the films Heyy Babyyand Kismet Konnection were "strange films [...] in which she tried to pretend to be what she is not — a Bollywood bimbette."[10] Balan described that particular phase in her career as a "struggle to be someone else".[93] Due to the criticism that her film choices evoked, Balan decided to choose roles that she "believed in" rather than choose by convention.[94] Members of the media have subsequently labelled her as "bold" and "daring" in her choices.[95][96]
Her starring roles in Heyy Babyy and Kismet Konnection also led to considerable attention in the media for her "questionable wardrobe". Several publications listed her as the "worst dressed actress" and her costume designers attributed her failure to carry off western clothes due to her weight and body structure.[97][98][99] She was later praised in the media for wearing saris at public events; designer Niharika Khan explained, "Vidya's beauty lies in her curves. She's comfortable in her voluptuousness, and therefore in a sari."[100] Balan has since been identified to defy "an anglicised idea of sexuality" and embody the idea of "raw Indian sexuality".[94]
After portraying headstrong, independent women in PaaIshqiyaNo One Killed JessicaThe Dirty Picture and Kahaani, Balan was credited in the media for breaking stereotypes of a Hindi film heroine.[101] The major commercial success of the latter two also contributed to her being labelled as a "female hero".[102][103] Film critic Mayank Shekhar predicted, "Just a few smart male actors can completely change the face of a commercial, star-driven film industry. Looking at [...] Vidya Balan [...] it appears, that change could well originate from the leading lady instead."[104] India Today featured her in their listing of the "25 Power Women" and noted that "she has toppled all dominating hero, reducing him to a supporting role in a male dominated film industry".[105]
Balan occupied the top slot in's annual listing of "Bollywood's Best Actress" for two consecutive years (2010–11).[106][95] She also featured in the list for the years 2005, 2006 and 2009.[107][108][109] In 2010, she featured inFilmfare's listing of the "Women we love".[110] In 2012, the magazine Verve listed her as a one of India's "Young Power Women" and wrote, "In a reel world peopled by size zero-toned bodies and pretty-as-a-picture heroines, Balan comes across as completely real and natural – a woman who has followed her own instincts and dared to live her destiny by being her own person and not morphing herself to fit into any conventional slot."[111]



2003Bhalo ThekoAnandiBengali film
2005ParineetaLalitaFilmfare Award for Best Female Debut
Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2006Lage Raho Munna BhaiJhanvi
2007GuruMeenu Saxena
2007Salaam-E-IshqTehzeeb Raina
2007Eklavya: The Royal GuardRajeshwari
2007Heyy BabyyIsha
2007Bhool BhulaiyaaAvani / ManjulikaNominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2007Om Shanti OmHerselfSpecial appearance in song "Deewangi Deewangi"
2008Halla BolSneha
2008Kismat KonnectionPriya
2009PaaVidyaFilmfare Award for Best Actress
2010IshqiyaKrishna VermaFilmfare Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2011No One Killed JessicaSabrina LalNominated—Filmfare Award for Best Actress
Malayalam film
Guest appearance
2011Thank YouKishan's wifeCameo appearance
2011Dum Maaro DumMrs. KamathCameo appearance
2011The Dirty PictureSilk Smitha / ReshmaNational Film Award for Best Actress
Filmfare Award for Best Actress
2012KahaaniVidya Bagchi
2012Ferrari Ki SawaariSpecial appearance in song "Mala Jau De"
2013Shaadi Ke Side EffectsTrishaPre-production


1995Hum PaanchRadhikaZee TV

[edit]See also


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  2. ^ Kapoor, Reena (4 June 2012). "Vidya snubs the 'heroes'" . Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  3. ^ Iyer, Meena (5 January 2012). "`What's left for Vidya Balan to do in 2012'" . The Times of India. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  4. ^ Bhattacharya, Roshmila (12 April 2012). "Vidya Balan rules BO with biggest grossing woman-centric films" . Hindustan Times. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  5. a b "There's something about Vidya" . Hindustan Times  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). 25 November 2006. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  6. ^ Bansal, Robin (22 September 2012). "Over the years: Vidya Balan from geek to haute!" . Hindustan Times. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  7. ^ Siddiqui, Rana (16 February 2007). "`It's a dream come true'" The Hindu. Retrieved 9 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Celeb diary: Vidya Balan" Mid Day. 4 February 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
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  10. a b c d e f Sanghvi, Vir (17 December 2011). "Why Vidya Balan rules" . Hindustan Times. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  11. ^ "Madhuri is my inspiration in life: Vidya Balan" . IBNLive. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  12. ^ Ganguly, Pritwish (22 October 2010). "I said no to Ekta: Vidya Balan" . The Times of India. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  13. a b Bamzai, Kaveree (4 February 2010). "Return of the native" . India Today. Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  14. ^ "Sociology was my major: Vidya" . The Times of India. 9 January 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  15. ^ "Vidya Balan, the bindas college gal" . 29 August 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
  16. a b Kulkarni, Ronjita. "How it began for Vidya?" . Retrieved 23 October 2007.
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