‘Parineeta’ some two years back catapulted her to fame and comparisons were instantaneously drawn with the likes of Waheeda Rehman and Meena Kumari. After that, there was no looking back for Vidya Balan. Critics and audiences alike were floored by her simplicity and girl next door looks and importantly, oodles of old world charm. Films thereafter like ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’, ‘Eklavya’, ‘Guru’ and ‘Salaam-E- Ishq’ further consolidated her position. Now she has a bevy of interesting films in her kitty. Most interestingly she will be seen in a true blue glam avatar in Sajid Khan’s upcoming ‘Heyy Babyy’.
‘Heyy Babyy’ will be a complete image make over for the beauty. “This film will see a new me. The image that ‘Parineeta’ created was so strong, that in spite of the fact that I have done other films, wherein I didn’t play only very Indian characters, people spoke about ‘Parineeta’. I think there has never been as much of a departure in my image as it has been in ‘Heyy Babyy’. Not because I have worn Western clothes but because I play a well-to-do girl from a business family in Sydney, who shows comfort in these kinds of clothes. I am even wearing my hair differently. I want my character to come through and not Vidya Balan.” Here she doesn’t forget to single out Manish Malhotra, the man behind this cool and contemporary look. “Well, I can’t really thank him enough,” she says.
The role she plays is no less interesting. “I am playing the unwed mother of the baby who is being three timed by these three guys –Fardeen, Akshay and Reitesh and to teach them a lesson she dumps the baby on them. The situation for them gets complicated as the three bachelors are made to look after the baby as well as look for the mother. This was one lovely team with which I had great fun shooting with. The baby too was a real bundle of joy and an absolute delight.”
Not that, she is not kicked up about her upcoming projects. “There is ‘Bhool Bhulaiya’ with Priyadarshan which was another joyride. At the moment I am also working on Aziz Mirza’s film alongside Shahid Kapoor. And Raji ji (Raj Kumar Santoshi)’s ‘Halla Bol’ which I hold close to my heart.”
This Raj Kumar Santoshi film might belong to Ajay Devgan but Vidya is very proud of this unique brush with what she calls ‘serious cinema’. Reveals the actress, “I am playing Ajay Devgan’s wife who is a hero in Bollywood. She is someone who despite being a star’s wife is pretty much the same person as she was before her marriage. It’s a very strong and interesting character which has got a lot of shades and emotions. The title sounds such that many people have come and inquired if this one is a comedy flick. Only once they see the promos, they will get a whiff of what the film is all about.”
Another unique factor, according to Vidya is the fact that, just like any other Santoshi films, ‘Halla Bol’ conveys a strong message. “There are a whole lot of problems in the society. But people instead of rectifying them choose to avoid them and like playing the blame game. While doing the film, I really felt enlightened towards many prospects of life. This film would definitely make its viewers more responsible towards the society as it has done with me.”
So impressed was she by the veteran director’s caliber and work, she didn’t even need prior preparations as such. “You don’t have to really prepare if you are working under Raj ji. The way he narrates a scene, it is enough for one to understand its true emotions. Raj ji has already proved his mettle while I have a long way to go. For me it has only been two years in the industry and getting a chance to work under him so early in my career is a treat for me. He acts as a teacher for every newcomer,” she claims.
And surprisingly Vidya experienced that he was the complete antithesis of his serious image off screen. “He and Ajay are masters at playing pranks. Once he kept on taking re-takes of mine without rolling the camera. He has got a great sense of humour, must say.”
There are also talks about another South Indian beauty, the timeless Sridevi making an appearance in the film. “She is doing a special appearance. But I didn’t have the chance to interact with her as she didn’t have any scene along with me. To have her in the film is nothing short of a big honour,” says the actress.
After her debut in a woman oriented film like ‘Parineeta’, the general feeling was that Vidya is here to fill the void created by Madhuri Dixit’s departure. So what was it that made Vidya play second fiddle yet again after ‘Guru’ and ‘Eklavya’? “Every other film cannot be a ‘Parineeta’. Yes ‘Halla Bol’ belongs to Ajay (Devgan), but at the same time my character is also very strong. It maybe small but Raj ji has the reputation of doing justice to every character. I am hoping that this small role will lead to a much bigger and stronger one. Hopefully, after seeing my performance, Raj ji may make a ‘Lajja’ someday with me,” exclaims Vidya.
And there is much more to look forward to from the lass. “There are talks going on with other producers, though it would be too early for me to say anything about them right away. But hopefully a lot of nice things will come my way in the days to come, ”she informs as she signs off.
-Sneha Hazarika (SAMPURN)