Enjoy our fascinating new series where film folk reveal what their movies taught them...
When you plot Vidya Balan's career graph, you realise the talented actress has not had it easy. In fact, it's almost as if she has been playing a particularly challenging game of Snakes and Ladders.
She started her career 22 years ago, with a television serial called Hum Paanch, that has recall value even today.
It's been 12 years since she mesmerised audiences with her first Hindi film, Parineeta.
She won the National Award in 2012 for her performance as Silk, an actress who revels in her sexuality and later shatters, unable to cope with her career's downward spiral.
Vidya gained weight for that role and slipped into the skimpiest clothes with ease.
However, her sartorial choices in real life have always been subject to both intense scrutiny and censure.
It was something Vidya -- who was honoured with a Padma Shri in 2014 -- has learnt to live with, and ignore, as she steps from one challenging role to another.
All of them may not be big successes as The Dirty Picture or Kahani or Ishqya, but they have not stopped Vidya from looking forward to her next movie.
2017 has seen her as Begum Jaan and will soon see her as RJ Sulu in Tumhari Sulu.
The doe-eyed actress shares the lessons she has learnt as an actress with Rediff.com's Savera R Someshwar.
What have my movies taught me?
Many, many things.
I've learnt to say No.
Initially, when I was offered a film and, if I had to say no, I would get really nervous.
It may be the greatest script but, for some reason, it doesn't resonate with me or it doesn't challenge or inspire or excite me enough to want to do it.
I would worry that they would be offended if I didn't accept their movie.
But then, slowly, you realise everyone has the right to say no.
I respect the fact that you've come to me with this. You also have to respect the fact that I have the right to say no.
The most precious thing I have learnt is to be myself at any cost, always.
I don't need to be anyone else and I don't need to be like anyone else.
I have learnt is that it's never the end of the road.
I have also learnt that there is no one route to success. You make your own path.
I now measure success by whether I have given it my all.
Box office success is very important to me, but in the event that a film does not do well, the fact that I have given it my best helps me sail through.
And I've learnt to love myself more.
WATCH Vidya Balan speak about the lessons her career has taught her:
Video: Afsar Dayatar/Rediff.com
EARLIER IN THE SERIES: