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Vidya Balan: I am overwhelmed by the messages I am getting

Last updated on: December 8, 2011 18:13 IST

Vidya Balan: I am overwhelmed by the messages I am getting

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Patcy N in Mumbai

Vidya Balan's performance in The Dirty Picture as southern siren Silk Smitha has been so widely acclaimed that people have started calling her the hero of the film.

At the success party of the film, producer Ekta Kapoor even announced that Vidya should rename herself to Vidya Balan Khan!

Patcy N speaks to Vidya Balan and Ekta Kapoor, on their recent, highly successful venture.

Did you expect that The Dirty Picture would be such a huge hit?

Vidya: I was hoping that people will connect with Silk and love the film, but I don't know what I was expecting. This is definitely beyond anything I could have hoped for. I feel so humbled by all the love, the praise, and appreciation, the success at the box office, it is unbelievable.

You must have got many compliments; which one was the best?

Vidya: I think it is very unfair to mention any one compliment because they have all been so heart warming. I am almost overwhelmed by every message I am getting.

I think the best compliment came from my parents. They were teary-eyed because of the end, but my mom came out and said, 'I actually forgot you are my daughter, I was only seeing Silk'.

My dad said, 'As a parent, I can say there was nothing awkward about watching you like this on the screen. I feel extremely proud because you brought grace and dignity to the character.'

Anything that came after that was like icing on the cake.


Image: Vidya Balan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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'Milan Luthria and Rajat Aroraa are the true heroes of the film'

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There are three heroes in the film (Naseeruddin Shah, Emraan Hashmi, Tusshar Kapoor), but everybody is saying Vidya is the true hero of the film. Who, according to you, is the hero of the film?

Vidya: According to me, (writer) Rajat Aroraa and (director) Milan Luthria are the true heroes of the film. I think filmmaking is a team effort so while I am humbled and accept the compliment graciously, I still think that I can't take it as an individual. I think all of us have put in as much effort.

There are so many dialogues in the film with double meaning; which was the most awkward to say?

Vidya: There is the dialogue about the pichkari (Kya re, tujhe holi khelne ka bahot showk hain, magar suna hain ki tere pichkari mein dum nahin). It wasn't awkward, but I was like, 'Oh my god I am going to say this aloud'.

But it was fun because the moment I mouthed the dialogue, everyone on the sets just started clapping, so I knew this was one of the dialogues that would get claps in the theatre.

People are objecting to The Dirty Picture in Hyderabad and you have been accused of spreading vulgarity. We heard you may be served a notice?

Vidya: Kuch Toh Log Kahenge, Logon Ka Kaam Hai Khena, Chodo Bekaar Ki Baaton Mein, Kahin Beet Na Jaye Raina (sings the song from Amar Prem). I just had to say this.


Image: Vidya Balan


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'The Dirty Picture is a huge landmark for me'

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Ekta just called you Vidya Balan Khan. Which Khan did she mean?

Vidya: You can also say that all the Khans should now add Balan to their names -- that would be better.

This is your fourth successful film; does that make you the next number one actress?

Vidya: I feel very blessed that I have got some good films and directors who brought out the best in me. The credit for that goes to them. Then you are backed by producers like Ekta, who makes sure the world and its father see the film.

I am very happy with the films I have got, especially Dirty Picture, which is a huge landmark for me. Yes, I have got critical and commercial success in the past, too, and this is something else, it is different.

Your films release towards the year-end and take away all the awards. What do you have to say?

Vidya: What do I say? I don't decide the release date of my films, producers do that. If I have any chance of winning the awards it will be thanks to Ekta.


Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture


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Ekta Kapoor: Emraan is my favourite actor

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So, Ekta, will you be signing Vidya for your next film?

Ekta: Yes, why not? But now like any other producer, I will have to stand at her door for my next film because I am sure the line is very long. In the last few days, my mobile is filled with messages for Milan (Luthria), Rajat (Aroraa) and maximum for Vidya. People are messaging me as though I am their associate.

Are you working with Emraan again?

Ekta: Emraan is by far my favourite act#8744 he is a big master. He is very popular outside Mumbai -- he doesn't even know that. I am very happy and honoured to work with him, I had the best team in this film and I have to work with them again and again.

So, what comes next?

Ekta: Television. The next movie will only happen next year.

Will the next film also be woman-oriented?

Ekta: I don't have any gender bias or anything as far as the protagonist goes. My whole idea is if it's a nice narrative story and it has to be told, then it has to be told. So it's not that I will make my next film a women-oriented one, but it will be a strong, smart film again.


Image: Vidya Balan and Ekta Kapoor


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'My father did not find anything awkward in the film'

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Since The Dirty Picture had done so well, do you think more heroine-oriented films should be made?

Vidya: Yes, it's high time. More importantly, what we have realised is that good films work whether they are heroine-oriented or hero-oriented. Heroine-oriented films have tended to always be serious and very heavy and not really entertaining.

But today, especially with Dirty Picture, we have realised that this gap has been bridged, which is why it has done well. A story well told will always be appreciated whether you have a man, woman, a child or anyone else as the protagonist.

Heroes are taking a share in the profits of a film now; will there be a time when heroines can do the same?

Vidya: I would like to say yes.

Ekta: Why not? If heroines are talented, credible, and they can bring the audience into the theatres, they have the rights to the profit

Vidya: Let's just talk about the figures now, Ekta (both laugh).

Vidya, you are glowing, you've had a professionally successful year and you also said that you are in a happy space personally.

I can't really draw a line and say professionally I am happy and personally I am not, or vice versa. I think I am so happy that The Dirty Picture has done so well that I can assure you that the glow is because of that. I feeling really dirty (laughs).

People have started calling you the female Emraan Hashmi of kissing.

Vidya: Not a bad idea (laughs).

If in all aspects of life women want equality, and they are shoulder-to-shoulder with men, then why not in this aspect too?


Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture


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'The Dirty Picture has been a gratifying experience'

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Sonakshi Sinha said we are all actresses and Vidya is the only hero in the industry.

Vidya: I think Sonakshi is being very kind and generous. I got a film where Silk was the hero of the film, so I don't really know if that credit goes to me.

There are lots of heroes in this film besides Naseersaab, Emraan, Tusshar. Ekta Kapoor, to my mind, is the biggest hero. Then there is Milan and Rajat.

I can't take the credit all by myself.

What kind of compliments did you get from the film industry?

Vidya: I have got really encouraging replies from directors, from actors, from the entire fraternity, from the media, and I am feeling very nice.The Dirty Picture has been a gratifying experience.

You have proved in this film that sensuality rules over sexuality.

Vidya: Thank you. I would like to take the entire credit for that, but there was such a thin line between sensuality and sexuality, that Milan Luthria and Bobby Singh, our cameraman, have an equal stake in that. Whatever I did, if they had filmed it in another way, it could have been ashleel (vulgar).

Everyone is coming out of the theatres and saying 'Laga toh tha ki Dirty Picture dirty hogi, par hai nahi'; that's a huge compliment for us.


Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture


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Ekta: Vidya is the most intelligent actress in this industry

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Do you think boys will like boombaat girls now?

Vidya: I think they have always liked such girls. I don't know why women want to undermine themselves, become smaller and smaller and smaller. We should celebrate the way we are.

Ekta, Vidya had said that 'Ekta is still a girl, not a woman yet'. What do you have to say about Vidya from Hum Paanch to today?

Ekta: She is prettier, she is smarter, she is as sweet and nice.

I met her when she was 16 and I told her you are a class apart. After that, whenever I met her, she was studying, whenever I called her, she would say she was doing one more MBA. We need many more intelligent actors like Vidya.

The only thing different is she looks younger and prettier and she is much smarter -- she is probably the most intelligent actress in this industry.

Kareena wants to be much more 'dirty' than you and that's why she is going to do bolder scenes in Heroine?

Vidya: What do I say? I thought no one can get dirtier than this. Anyway, they will make Heroine; they can't make Dirty Picture.

After doing a role like this, there are few things left for you to do. Are you worried about your career, that you won't get exciting films?

Ekta: I want to take this question. As a producer let me tell you that in the last 10 days we have got about four projects happening with very, very, big stars, and every hero is calling us and saying 'can you please talk to Vidya to be part of this film'.

Vidya: I don't think I am worried about that at all. What excites me is the kind of work that I am getting. If those one or two films come my way I am more than happy.


Image: A scene from The Dirty Picture


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Ekta: I don't think I would have made The Dirty Picture with any other actress

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This year you played Sabrina Lal and now Silk, Which character did you enjoy the most?

Vidya: It is a very unfair question, but I think I enjoyed this more because Silk bani he hai mazaa den eke liye, chahane walon ko bhi aur ladnewalon ko bhi. That's the kind of character she was whether fighting or crying, her spirit is so vibrant. That's what attracted me to Silk.

You have change the perception of boldness in Bollywood.

Vidya: I am happy if The Dirty Picture has done that. Change doesn't happen overnight, but I think Dirty Picture has worked as a trigger. Change was on its way and Dirty Picture was the trigger.

Vidya had very positive roles in Paa and Parineeta. What made you select her for The Dirty Picture?

Ekta: I don't think I would have made The Dirty Picture with any other actress because it is a film made by women -- my mother (Shobha Kapoor) and me -- and we did not want boldness to become crassness.

We wanted the outer physicality and the inner innocence. And we needed an actor who goes through the skin and shows the inner turmoil and inner thought processes of a person.

I had to cast Vidya Balan and no one else in this film. If Vidya had said no, the film would not have been made till I found another actor, maybe in another generation, who could bring out the aplomb, the sensuality of the character and not look cheap doing it.


Image: Ekta Kapoor and Vidya Balan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar

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