“Ab toh aap hamare bahut kareeb aa gaye” said Vidya Balan. And what are you guys thinking that can turn out to be huh? Let’s play. Two things – Either she is talking to the IIFA Awards trophy or it’s me. You decide. Vidya Balan is on cloud nine. She is always smiling. God Bless her! But today, she is happy for more reasons than just one. Vidya recalls her happiness, “IIFA has been very special to me because my first film premiered at IIFA Amsterdam. My life changed overnight. By the time the film was over, my life had changed. Parineeta will always be special and close to my heart. Then I got my best debut nomination at IIFA Dubai the next year for the same film.”
Talk about her ongoing and flowing nominations for Paa, Balan gets excited. Vidya is the film’s heart, and its revelation. She confers on her role a dignity that miraculously stops the movie collapsing into mere camp along with the living legend Amitabh Bachchan and beautifully supported by Abhishek Bachchan. She quotes, “To get nominated at the IIFA for Paa is like I’ve gotten the world. I think it’s very exciting and gratifying. I like to believe that I am matured in my performances. I am a happy thirty right now (laughs). I’ve played a good variety of roles so far and have tried to do the kind of work and choose the kind of work which has excited me, challenged me and fulfilled me as an actor.”
So many questions, so little time. As an actor, Balan constantly surprises with the tiniest gestures (a purse of the lips, a flicker of the eyelids, a glance at her loins). She can be matronly and kittenish, severe and tender within the same scene. She often plays peculiarly Indian women – subdued, judgmental, puritanical, straitlaced, and disapproving – and then with one of these tiny gestures she tells us that underneath it all there’s something voracious and volcanic and ripe to explode. Paa has done just that. She comments on her unexpected overseas feedback, “Paa has made me more ingrained in the West and that’s what I’d like to believe. The overseas audiences have loved Paa. The film was a perfect marriage of a certain sensibility and infidelity and yet it was interesting plus entertaining. The audiences thought that it was a perfect coming-of-age film. Paa made the overseas realise the kind of different and thoughtful work happening in India.”
Here’s wishing Vidya Balan the very best of luck, films and awards this year and the many more to come.