Vidya Balan is coming back on the big screen in a bigger and bolder avatar in ‘Begum Jaan’. Having done movies like The Dirty Picture and Kahaani before, she has successfully managed to establish brand ‘Vidya Balan’ at the box office. In an interview conducted recently, Vidya opened-up about her views on the much-debated issue on ‘freedom’ and ‘empowerment’. Read on!
On marriage, movies and more
In an interview with Firstpost, Vidya talked about fighting the stereotype of married actresses not getting many roles in the movies. Ask her if she went through it, Vidya says, “People keep asking, now that you are married, will you do another Dirty Picture?” And I keep saying, “Now that I’ve done The Dirty Picture maybe there’s no need for that, but if someone writes something as compelling or interesting, I’m most open to it.” I’m an actor. I’m not Vidya the person who is in the film.
“I empower myself first”
Be it her role as Silk Smitha or a spy in Kahaani, Vidya Balan is a stern believer in doing things, she likes and feels empowered in. She says, “There’s only one person whose empowerment as a woman I’m concerned with and that is me, therefore I make the choices I make. My choices are an extension of my beliefs. I’m here to tell stories, but I end up picking stories which empower me. It’s not shying away from feminism, or shying away from doing the kind of films I do. All I’m saying is that change has to happen at a very personal level.”
Constantly questioned about kids
Vidya is tired of this constant question! Supporting her claims, Vidya said, “Male actors never get asked, “When are you impregnating your wife?” Why the hell are you asking me, “When are you going to get pregnant? When are you going to expand your family?” How is it your concern? Am I asking for your salary slip? It’s as personal. Am I asking when you’re consummating with your partner? It’s actually akin to asking me that. And it used to anger me. Now I’m amused. I’ve started saying, “Agli baar jab hum saath honge toh aapko zaroor bataayenge (Next time we are together, I will definitely tell you).” Because, what are you expecting me to say? “
Balancing career and marriage
Vidya is absolutely baffled by the ‘identity loss’ she felt in Bollywood after she tied the knot. She was no longer Vidya Balan but Mrs. Sidharth Roy Kapur. She quips, “After marriage... I had begun to question how things very subtly but surely change. For instance, how it becomes a Mrs Siddharth Roy Kapur as against a Vidya Balan and Siddharth Roy Kapur. These are subtle changes... What happens is, people are slowly goading you to lose your identity. We’re all finally products of our conditioning.
Not afraid of the married actress tag
Vidya further added,” Someone who knows me as well or who’s worked with me even before having worked with Siddharth, is inviting me through Siddharth now. I couldn’t get my head around such things. And I’d tell myself, “Am I being any less a woman or any less a partner if I’m not accepting of this?”... All around us, women are asserting themselves more and more. We are nurturers and givers, all that is fine, but we don’t want to give up our identities.
Not one to shy away from the ‘women-centric’ card
Vidya is brutal when she says she takes advantage of the stereotypes. She feels its her duty as a celebrity to pass along a message for equality when she can. So, she voluntarily picks up women centric films. Vidya says, “More people are seeing our films as films, not just woman-centric films. Of course it irritates me when people say, “Acchha, for a woman-centric film it’s done good business.” But those are the industry types who want to tabulate and see trends, analyse and paralyse and all that, but the general public is changing. I don’t think it’s about women-centric films having a limited scope of success. Some films work greatly, some don’t, that’s what it is. And I’m part of stories that I feel compelled to tell.
Vision for the future
One thing she would like to see more of in the future would be more women writers in Bollywood. She adds her view saying, “We need more women writers for a balance of perspective. No one wants to do away with hero-centric films, but I hope there is a day when we don’t need the term “women-centric”. That will happen when there are an equal number of films made with men and women taking centrestage. Similarly, it will just be a healthier balance, one, from a larger perspective of equal opportunities for women writers. And do it on the basis of merit.”
The poster of Vidya’s much awaited film Begum Jaan was unveiled on the occasion of Women’s Day. All we want to say is Vidya Balan looks absolutely fierce and bold as a brothel owner divided between Partition. This is surely going to be an exciting watch!