Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vidya Balan on No One Killed Jessica, Isqiya, Dirty Picture and Paa

Here is an interview of Vidya Balan, where she talks about varous things include her movies  Jessica, Isqiya, Dirty Picture and Paa.  (Source: HTC)

Your last two films, Paa and Ishqiya, were intense and emotional. One would have expected you to take a welcome break with a light entertainer instead of jumping into another exhausting film, No One Killed Jessica.
I don't find it a strain. In fact, I enjoy playing such women of substance. In the past, such roles were an aberration. We didn't see too many woman-centric films like Mother India that showcased her heroic strength.
We still have the formulaic films with the typical hero and heroine but we also have films that are not so much about the man or the woman but about characters. You no longer have to play a Jhansi ki Rani to make yourself heard.
You can be a Krishna (Ishqiya) too who is strong, romantic, vulnerable, sensual, violent when the need arises... And real. She sleeps with a man who is not her husband and is unapologetic about it.
Perhaps that's the reason these roles don't suffocate me. I don't feel the need to break away and breathe.
I'd love to do a comedy some day, but at the same time, I'm quite happy playing a spunky woman who knows and speaks her mind.

Have you met Sabrina Lall?
No, I haven't. The director (Raj Kumar Gupta ) was clear he didn't want me interacting with her till No One Killed Jessica was over.
I'm not denying that our film is based on the Jessica Lall murder case but at the same time, we have fictionalised facts. Cinema as a medium gives us the licence to do that. Our film is not a bio-pic, it's a thriller and offers the director's own take on events that we have been reading about down the years.
Given that your character is inspired by Sabrina, how then did you flesh her out?
The facts are all there for us to read.
There's enough matter on the Internet. And I've followed the case closely since I took on the film.
We've created a character who has grit, guts and will-power. These are the qualities I admired in Sabrina too.
She's been the driving force in the case and it couldn't have been easy for her. But she refused to give up.
She wasn't just fighting for a cause, she was fighting for a sister she had lost.
What was your reaction to Manu Sharma's conviction?
As a citizen, it reaffirmed my faith in the Indian judicial system. We may live in a democracy but the buck eventually stops with us. That's why instead of perennially blaming the system, we need to participate in the process and bring about the change ourselves. This case has taught me that. We have to be the change we want to see in the world.
As Paa ki maa, you have bagged several awards. What made the role memorable?
What I liked about this Vidya is that she is not ashamed to have a child out of wedlock. If she is unsure initially, it's because she has three years of medical college left and doesn't know if she can train to be a doctor and be a mother at the same time till her mother reaches out a helping hand. The other day someone was telling me that the women at his workplace were fantastic at their job but they brought their husband, children and in-laws' problems along with them. And I told him that that it is this emotionality that is our strength, that makes us what we are.
Earlier, you couldn't be an efficient professional and a caring lover at the same time. You couldn't be a businessman and a loving mother simultaneously. You couldn't even be a good lover if you held a job.
I remember Amrita Singh as a tycoon in a film. She was all head and no heart. She was portrayed as an asexual being. Thank God times are changing, our cinema is changing. The success of Paa proved that a woman could be a doctor and at the same time someone with desires and plenty of love for a sick child.
Do you see a connection between the characters you played in Paa, Ishqiya and No One Killed Jessica?
They are all individuals in their own right, who hold the reins of their lives in their own hands. They make their choices and stand by them.
That's the defining streak.
There was a time when you were willing to mould yourself into a commercial heroine. That no longer seems true.
Paa was not your quintessential Hindi film yet it made more money than your run-true-to-formula film.
And it liberated me.
Now I no longer have to adhere to a particular image or do a certain kind of film for commercial success.
Today, with the audience becoming more astute, you can't just insert a song-and-a-dance into the plot because it's the done thing. You have to justify its inclusion.
I've been told that with my last couple of films, I've come into my own. I'm certainly happy with the kind of work I'm getting and doing.
The opportunities presented with are phenomenal and they will only get better.
The effort always is to do some- thing challenging and so, fulfilling.
And you don't need to make any compromises because there's no guarantee that only a certain kind of cinema will succeed at the box office. That realisation has given me the power to do the kind of work I enjoy.
Buzz is that you have signed Sujoy Ghosh's next film in which you are the hero, heroine and everything else wrapped in one?
That's one project under strong consideration. It's an interesting idea, since it's the only character.That takes care of the competition.


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