'If an actor gives a flop, then the standing of that person changes within the industry, but the audience always welcomes them with open arms.'
Vidya Balan *really* wants her new film Hamari Adhuri Kahani to do well.
Her last three films may have failed but Vidya Balan feels she is in a space where flops do not affect her career.
The actor is getting ready for her romantic turn in Mohit Suri’s Hamari Adhuri Kahani, which releases on June 12.
Vidya talks to Sonil Dedhia/ Rediff.com about being a greedy actor, her dream coming true, and why she doesn’t like to socialise.
Your last three films haven’t done well. Is there pressure on you to deliver a hit with Hamari Adhuri Kahani?
There is hope that Hamari Adhuri Kahani will do well. I really want it to do well.
I don’t have any pressure because my previous films haven’t done well. In fact, I feel success brings in some amount of pressure.
In my career of nine years, I have understood that you can’t predict the fate of a film. You can only do your best and leave the rest to the audience.
A lot of actors believe that they are as good as their last film.
For established actors, I feel you could be as good as your last film in terms of bargaining price.
Every actor goes through successes and failures. Every film will not do the same kind of business, so I don’t think it affects the credibility of an actor.
Earlier, I used to introspect a lot about what went wrong for a film but now I don’t have any insecurity. I am secure about my relationship with my work.
Also, if an actor gives a flop then the standing of that person changes within the industry, but the audience always welcomes them with open arms.
How much does your standing in the industry matter to you?
It did affect me earlier, but not any more. One successful film and things will change again (smiles).
You are credited with starting a trend for good, women-oriented films.
I feel fantastic about the fact that there are such good roles written for women.
I am a hungry actor. I am really greedy when it comes to good roles.
Whether it was Ishqiya, The Dirty Picture or Kahaani, I have jumped at roles that have excited me. I have always embraced all my characters. These films did really well and opened up a Pandora’s Box.
The interesting thing is that there are all kinds of roles being written for actresses, and a lot of female actors are willing to do such films.
Is there any film or actress that has caught your attention?
I loved the fact that they deal with the topic of sexuality of a young woman with cerebral palsy in Margarita, With A Straw.
Dum Laga Ke Haisha was another fine film where they dealt with the issue of a fat girl in a small town.
I also enjoyed NH10, Piku and Tanu Weds Manu Returns. Last year, I loved Mardaani. These are some good movies with strong woman characters.
It’s an exciting time for heroines and I hope it just gets better from here.
The character you play in Hamari Adhuri Kahani goes through a lot of emotional turmoil. What goes into the preparation of such intense characters?
It has a lot to do with knowing the script and reading what is written about it. You really come to know about the background and set the mood for your character.
Also, I have a habit of sitting with the director before we start shooting. I used to sit a lot with director Mohit (Suri) and we would talk about random stuff.
In our two-hour meetings, we would talk about the film for only 15 minutes. That’s his style of working; he doesn’t like a lot of preparation.
For this film, I had a lot of interaction with Bhattsaab (Mahesh Bhatt) because he has written the script and he had a lot of inputs. He also gifted me a book that he had written called Taste Of Life. He said that if you want to understand unconditional love just read this.
How do you unwind once you finish shooting for the day?
I do only one film at a time because I am really bad at multi-tasking. I can’t look at my cell phone and chat with you.
Once I finish shooting, I completely disconnect and listen to music or read.
We were shooting in Abu Dhabi and there was nothing except for sand dunes so I would watch a lot of mindless television (laughs).
Even when shooting in Cape Town, I did that because it is unsafe to step out at night.
You won’t believe this, but this is probably the first film which hasn’t drained me out.
Mahesh Bhatt recently said that Hamari Adhuri Kahani is the rebirth of Vidya Balan.
Actually, this film has fulfilled half my wish. When I came to this industry, I always wanted to work with Mahesh Bhatt and Gulzar.
Although Bhattsaab gave up directing before I became an actor, he has written the script of Hamari Adhuri Kahani, which means a lot to me. I was in tears when I saw the first trial of the film.
My sister was sitting on one side and Siddharth (husband Siddharth Roy Kapur) was sitting on the other side and they squeezed my hands as they knew how much this film meant to me.
Have you deliberately slowed down on work after marriage?
No, not at all. I have been doing one film a year for more than eight years now.
Sometimes my films release back-to-back and sometimes there is a long gap so people feel that I am away for a long time.
Also, I am not on any social media so people miss my absence all the more. I don’t socialise much and don’t really like to go for movie screenings.
If someone I am fond off calls me, then I go for a movie screening. I am a little badtameez (laughs) because if I don’t feel like going somewhere, I won’t go. Most of the time I don’t lie or make excuses.
There are reports that you are preparing for Suchitra Sen’s biopic.
It’s not true. Yes, the film was offered to me and I would have loved to play Suchitra Sen, but I felt when her granddaughter Raima Sen is there, who looks so much like Suchitraji’s younger version, it didn’t justify me doing it.
The film is in Bengali and the people of Bengal worship Suchitra Sen.