Joined: 21 June 2005
Vidya was in Karachi Feb 14-17 for the release of the Urdu translation of Mehnaz Rahmatullah's classic book "Mo's Star".
"This was part of the Reaching The Stars campaign. All the proceeds went for children's education. And that's something I really believe in," said Vidya, winner of the Filmfare best debutant award for her sensitive role in "Parineeta".
"The people in Karachi were very warm and welcoming. I read out the book in Urdu. Before leaving for Pakistan, I sat on the script with Gulzar saab's associate Salif Arif for a couple of days. With Urdu one can easily go wrong in the pronunciation. The people and the press in Karachi had blessedly good things to say about me," Vidya told IANS.
"I could only visit Karachi. To go to other parts of Pakistan one needs a separate visa. And seeing the volatile situation it was best to stay restricted in Karachi."
Vidya had gone with just a friend. "But the director of 'Il Postino', Michael Radford, was there in Karachi. The meeting with him was amazing. We came from different places. There was such a give-and-take of ideas."
For the book release Vidya wore a white salwar kameez. "Since the book is about a penguin I wore white cotton."
The book is to be released in India in Hindi later.
Vidya was fascinated by the local cuisine. "Unfortunately I'm a vegetarian. So I had a tough time except on the last day when the writer's brother-in-law fed me an absolutely delightful vegetarian lunch. But there were lovely vegetarian restaurants including one run by the mother of Sonia Jehan (who acted in Akbar Khan's 'Taj Mahal')."
Sonia is the grand daughter of legendary singer Noorjehan and had played Mumtaz in Akbar Khan's film.
Wasn't it an unusual way for a young woman to spend Valentine's Day?
"One doesn't really believe in all this. But if I have to spend my day showering love on those who matter then I'd rather do it with children."
Laughing off the misgiving that she was getting typecast as a serious "classical" actress suited for literary period dramas Vidya says: "So far it's only been 'Parineeta'. Rumours of dada (Pradeep Sarkar) starting another literary classic 'Devi Chaudhurani' were totally unfounded.
"I'm acting in Sudhir Mishra's 'Bahut Nikle Mere Armaan' and Rituparno Ghosh's 'Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam'. I play modern contemporary roles in Nikhil Advani's 'Salaam-E-Ishq' and Raju Hirani's 'Munnabhai 2'."
"Actually I'm quite happy being known as a classical actress. I'd be quite uncomfortable if I was known as a hottie or a pinup girl."
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