Vidya Balan is India’s undisputed national treasure and one of the few versatile actors the country will ever see. She is an institution in herself who had the courage to be bold in the conventional Bollywood way yet stayed true to her unconventional self. From her stint in Hum Paanch to winning the coveted Padam Shri Award and being a judge for the Cannes Film Festival, Vidya has come a long way with few bumps.
Vidya was born to P. R. and Sarawathy Balan on 1st January 1979 in Mumbai. Her father is the Vice-President of ETC Channel. Vidya speaks both Malayalam and Tamil. She grew up in Chembur, Mumbai where she attended St. Anthony Girls’ High School. Shabana Azmi and Madhuri Dixit inspired her to become an actress. She has a master’s degree in Sociology from Mumbai University.
Vidya started dating Siddarth Roy Kapur, CEO of UTV Motion Pictures. She announced the same in an interview, putting an end to all the rumors about her relationship and affairs. The couple got married in Bandra, in a private ceremony, on December 14, 2012.
She made her acting debut while in school with Ekta Kapoor’s Hum Paanch where she played the role of Radhika, one of the five sisters. For the sake of the education, she had to take a break from acting till she didn’t complete her education.
She resumed her career in the South where she faced a lot of struggle and humiliation. For her debut movie she was cast opposite south’s superstar Mohanlal for the Malayalam movie Chakram, along with that she signed 12 more movies. It’s been a record for no movie to get postponed which had Mohanlal, so the directors blamed her for it by labeling her unlucky. This led to one failure after another in South Industry. She only acted in the contract films.
Nevertheless, her core was too strong to get affected. Work didn’t stop coming, she appeared in 60 television commercials and starred in 2 music videos for Euphoria and Shubha Mudgal.
She met with success as an actress with a Bengali Film Bhalo Theko in 2003 which earned her an Anandalok Purashkar for Best Actress. Since then there has been no turning back for her. In 2005 she made her Bollywood debut with Parineeta opposite Saif Ali Khan in the role of Lalita, directed by Pradeep Sarkar after 6 months of auditioning. It was all worth it because she won a Filmfare for debut actress and a nomination for best actress. She was well received by the critics. Variety magazine’s Derek Elley stated, “An acting revelation is Tamil newcomer [Vidya] Balan, who’s devoted but dignified Lalita is the picture’s heart and soul.”
In the following year, she starred in a comedy, Lage Raho Munna Bhai opposite Sanjay Dutt. Again she was praised by the critics for her role as RJ Jhanvi and the movie was a commercial success.
The road was not too smooth for Vidya. She was heavily criticized for her fashion and weight in the movies Hey Baby and Kismat Connection which was also bombed at the box office. Vir Sanghavi said, “she tried to pretend to be what she is not” in reference to those movies.
After that, she acted in a host of movies like Eklavya, Salaam-e-Ishq, Guru and Halla Bol and soon captured the audiences with her acting prowess. But her milestone movies are Ishqia, Bhool Bhulaiya, Paa, No One Killed Jessica and her most famous and equally controversial Dirty Picture. These movies proved her versatility as an actress and she only grew stronger. Dirty Picture will be remembered for ages, she took the role of the adult film star Silk Smitha for which she gained 12 kgs and was appreciated for it. The movie starred other powerhouse actors Emraan Hashmi and Naseeruddin Shah for which she earned the National Movie Award. It was released in 2012, that very year she starred in Kahani, where she played the role of a pregnant lady searching for her husband and won a Filmfare for best actress.
Since then she expanded her versatility by starring in Shaadi Ke Side Effects with Farhan Akhtar, Bobby Jasoos, Khaani 2, Hamari Adhuri Khahaani and Begum Jaan.
In 2013 she was invited as one of the Jury members for the 40th Cannes Film Festival with the likes of Nicole Kidman, Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee and Christoph Waltz as the celebration of 100 years of cinema. Currently, she is working on Tumhari Sulu which set to release in December this year.
Vidya Balan turned plus size into the new zero and did not let anyone dictate her body and made her talent speak for.