She was and has been the quintessential young woman next door whom an intelligent man would love to take to his mother. Playing a quintessential ‘bhartiya naari’, whether belonging to the classical mould (Parineeta, Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Eklavya – The Royal Guard) or the modern times (Paa, Lage Raho Munnabhai, Salaam E Ishq) with a brain of her own, Vidya Balan boasts of consistency as her hallmark.
In fact a closer study of her filmography pretty much confirms that after Katrina Kaif, she easily has the best success rate amongst leading ladies today with at least one hit a year ever since her debut effort Parineeta (2005). No wonder, when Vidya moves from her ‘maa’ performance in Paa to a ‘woman with desires of her own’ (in her own words) in Ishqiya, she makes viewers look forward to what’s new that she has to offer in the New Year. More so because in the film she makes men as diverse as Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi dance to her tune.
“This is the best time to be working in movies”, declares Vidya who now has two back to back successes in her kitty with Ishqiya following Paa, “Earlier when any filmmaker even thought of making a non-formulaic film, it used to be slotted as an art film there and then. Soon after it would be considered as economical unviable and unfortunately there wasn’t much progress that any of such brilliant ideas made. I guess there was an attempt in the late 70s and the early 80s but then ever since NFDC has stopped making films, all doors seemed to be shut. However, in the current decade we are back to making different kind of films. Yes, it’s a slow but a steady journey for sure. At least now with movies like Ishqiya, we have started pushing the envelope a little more.”
At the beginning of 2009, it was Anurag Kashyap directed Dev D that followed a non-conformist approach towards cinema. Circa 2010 and the year has begun well with Ishqiya. It appears like finally there is some trend in the making here with mainstream actors not feeling shy about lending their support to films that break commercial mould. After Abhay Deol, it is nice to see Vidya Balan too joining the fray.
“I think what is actually happening is that even audiences want to see different things today. This is why when a few experiments worked earlier, people just lapped it up. Movies like Bheja Fry pretty much paved the way for quality films in controlled budget to start making an appearance because once these films worked, more and more people from the industry were further encouraged to present different ideas. It was obvious that even unconventional and non-formulaic films can work if packed, marketed, promoted and presented well. Slowly there are steps being taken due to which audiences too are accepting varied subjects with open arms. Thankfully, there are better budgets being offered as well in spite of increase in experimental cinema”, Vidya goes on to share her ‘gyaan’ on the advent of new age cinema.
She can’t be blamed though if she is sounding all excited about the advent of a different kind of cinema. After all, she is one of the rare female actors who has agreed to play the role of a mother in two films (Paa, Heyy Babyy), someone who has psychological disorder (Bhool Bhulaiyaa), a woman suffering from an ailment (Guru, Salaam E Ishq) and now a widow who doesn’t mind getting into an intense romance with love (Naseeruddin Shah) and lust (Arshad Warsi) as the driving force. With the ‘Jessica Lal’ based film already in her kitty and things looking promising with Gulzar’s next seemingly quite close, Vidya sure is getting all her calculations right.