All the girls are gossiping about her. All the women want to be like her. And all men want a piece of her. Welcome the Obsession the Year: Vidya Balan. At the moment, she’s like a meat ready to be snatched by anybody. But for the moment, it’s a fight between the mean men, Arshad Warsi and Naseeruddin Shah, as to who will take the first bite. So let’s call her ‘A beauty with a bite’. Next in line are the directors and the producers. She’s got the whole nation after her. Thanks to her successful spree with Paa and her current most talked about boldness in her upcoming release, Ishqiya, Vidya is feeling those January highs already. Me too! After sending Balan a text which read: “Let me enjoy my hot jalebi‘s and think about the even hotter Vidya”. And then I question myself: “Am I a ch****m sulphate? UK’s Harrow Observer columnist and Bollywood Hungama‘s London correspondent Devansh Patel falls in love with Vidya Balan….and the Ishqiya follows….
All the girls are gossiping about you. All the women want to be like you, and all men want a piece of you. Shall we call you the ‘Obsession the Year’?
(Laughs out loud) Kya baat hai! That’s very flattering. Thank you so much. I don’t know how to react to that but it does pay off to be a bad girl sometimes.
I can’t recall any one instance of my days when I used to flirt. Probably, there are too many I feel
And it pays off to be a good mother as well (in context to Paa)…
Yes, that’s true. And they are two completely different individuals. Personalities so diverse that you’ll be shocked.
Can you recall your flirty days?
Oh yes! I think flirting is a very healthy way to any relationship. I can’t recall any one instance of my days when I used to flirt. Probably, there are too many I feel (laughs).
Vishal Bhardwaj or Vidhu Vinod Chopra, both eat, drink and breathe cinema
That’s a nice getaway. Now you do this sudden disappearing act and then do two films a year and everyone goes ga-ga about you.
Firstly, we should talk every day I feel (laughs). The way you’re asking me questions, it boosts my ego levels. No, it’s not deliberate from my side to be doing less films. I choose work and do it if it excites me, which is why people think I do this disappearing act. I get mentally switched off from everything else once I’m doing a film. Maybe I’m just too bad at multi-tasking and that’s why I become too inaccessible sometimes (laughs).
But I feel you’re a director’s actor. What do you feel?
You may be right. I think I’m fortunate to work with people who are as passionate about their films as much as I’m passionate about acting. Maybe, much more. If you’re talking about Vishal Bhardwaj or Vidhu Vinod Chopra, both eat, drink and breathe cinema. I’m not saying this as a quote but everything else for them is incidental. That is the beauty of it. And thus a good film is made by them every time they are behind the camera. So yes, you are a directors actor when you work with them lot.
Have people suddenly woken up to this kind of a genre after Kaminey?
This is my take and I take responsibility, that Vishal Bhardwaj has made everything Indian very, very cool and up-class. Speaking in Hindi was considered pretty un-cool once upon a time. What Vishal has done is that he has kept his films rooted but yet they still are very classic and appeal to today’s mass. It’s not about the reality what he’s showing you but you identify with it. You understand. Vishal has made everything Indian very accessible. Indian cinema isn’t just about metro and catering the NRI’s. It’s gone beyond that. You see so many college guys and girls saying that Vishal Bhardwaj is the coolest thing in India.
You’re right. The day won’t be far when you’ll see boys applying kaajal and standing outside their college campus.
(Laughs) Yes, for all you know. The definition of ‘cool’ is changing. I’m sorry I’m going into this in detail. At one point we used to watch cinema because of its fantasy element. They transported you to a different world. Then it became too real and you didn’t want to go and watch a film like that. But there are some who could bridge both these elements beautifully – Rajkumar Hirani, Vishal Bhardwaj and Vidhu Vinod Chopra does that. There are words that are being used in the promos of Ishqiya which were beeped but people forget that that’s how the small town people speak.
So you show the real thing but still make it sound unreal
Not really. The context is different because it’s set in a small town and you feel that you can’t identify with what these people are going through but when it comes to emotions, may you be in any part of the world, it’ll connect with you. We are no longer in denial.
Now do not deny this question…but if you were to choose between Arshad and Naseer saab?
(Laughs) Oh my God! You’re going to put me in trouble.
OK, Lets make it simple for you. You like older men or younger men?
Naseer saab is way older. He is very cool and I don’t dare say anything about him. And Arshad is a dear friend (laughs). So how do you expect me to answer this one?
Well, there’s me. How about that?
(Laughs out loud) Absolutely. Your Facebook profile would make more sense now (My FB profile read – When I fell in love with Vidya Balan)
Your sarees are too mesmerising and you carry it off so beautifully, in the film, on the red carpet or at home. So has Vidya Balan re-defined the word ‘beautiful?
This is getting too flattering (laughs). Thank you so much. I don’t really know how to comment on this one. I’m overwhelmed on your comment.
You have been written off many times Vidya. But then how seriously do you take the media who again sings your praises?
To each their own. I think compliments are always welcome. Because some media might have written me off is the reason that I’m out here today. If people didn’t like me, I wouldn’t be getting work. It’s all about faith and each one has their own opinion. I am not affected by anything what the media or people say about me. I focus more on the positives, really.
Because some media might have written me off is the reason that I’m out here today
Naseer saab is like wine. He gets better with age. Is that right?
Yes. When you work with an actor like Naseer saab, you end up doing so much better. Acting is about reacting. If you have an actor like that in front of you, it just brings out the best in you.
And what about Arshad?
He is a good friend. We were giggling about something I remember. We had to do a lot of intense scenes together, excluding all the passionate ones, that sometimes we start cracking up because we know each other so well. Intensity can get funny. Arshad is one of the most under-utilised actors of our industry. He is so effortlessly supreme that even he doesn’t know what he carries with him. He is underestimating himself I feel. I’m hoping he’s going to get his due very soon.
Arshad is so effortlessly supreme that even he doesn’t know what he carries with him
How do you define your own originality?
I’m not trying to be different. I make use of the best opportunities I get. Some may work and some may not. But I’m extremely passionate about my profession and I truly live in it.
Have you exhausted all your talent in Ishqiya?
No. Not at all. I think there will be new limits every time. I’m enjoying my work so much that I’m giving it more and more and more and yet at some level, it’s not a strain anymore. My understanding of characters is getting easier I feel through every film. After all, I’m growing myself and improving myself.
What kind of a man would you prefer?
Someone who is very self assured.
What if someone made a pass on you?
If someone would have flirted with me, it would’ve been fine. I mean, I would not prefer men making a pass at me. There has to be some talking and knowing each other.
Ishq is something that makes everything seem worthwhile and thoda kaccha hai jee.