They criticised her clothes.
They mocked her weight.
They called her names.
In a film industry where women are constantly judged or second guessed, Vidya Balan refused to give a damn. Having a career on her own terms has richly paid off for the actress.
In over one-and-a-half decade, Balan continues to do the films she wants in the manner she chooses without proving a point to anyone.
Sukanya Verma lists 10 knockout performances from this star.
After a spate of performances tailor-made for attention, Vidya Balan proves she's just as effective when restrained. It's a nuanced part where a newly appointed forest officer confronts everyday patriarchy on a professional and personal front. And the actress doesn't miss a single beat.
Juggling between her historic assignment as ISRO project director and a household bustling with kids and unproductive husband, Vidya is a picture of ingenuity and efficiency without ever compromising on her ethics or enthusiasm.
The sheer strength of her character lingers on in Mission Mangal's otherwise self-congratulatory focus.
A chirpy housewife realises her potential as a sultry voiced radio jockey causing problems at home. It's the kind of role that would acquire a typically melodramatic persona in most hands.
Vidya is simply dazzling as the clumsy, cute dreamer following her heart over her head.
Vidya is key to Kahaani's success. Her heavily pregnant character's ability to course us through an intrigue filled search for her missing husband until the big climax reveal highlights her rich dramatic prowess and precise instincts as an actor par excellence.
Sensitive, spunky, saucy, Vidya is all rolled in one as the femme fatale capable of deadly secrets and deadlier seduction against Ishqiya's western-set-in-desi-heartland goals.
The Dirty Picture
Vidya's incredible physical transformation and sassy abandon while fulfilling her 'entertainment, entertainment, entertainment' ideals is designed to grab eyeballs.
As the bawdy starlet, inspired by Southern Siren Silk Smitha's turbulent life story, the actress completely disappears into the part.
Vidya's appetite for kitsch and mischief as the garish fashionista and Emraan Hashmi's loud significant other allows her to show off her madcap side to the brim.
Whatever one may feel about Priyadarshan's remake of Malayalam hit Manichitrathazhu, Vidya does leave quite an impression as a young woman possessed by her own fanciful imagination manifesting in the terrifying Manjulika.
Amitabh Bachchan's elaborate makeup and peculiarity as a rapidly ageing schoolboy doesn't distract us from Vidya's guts and grace as his rock solid single mom in Paa.
There's something classic about Vidya. Her first Hindi film, an adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel acknowledges it and her luminous screen presence as she confidently holds her own as its titular character.