‘Don’t need a breakthrough’
Actor Vidya Balan says she chooses characters for the irresistible power they exude
Actor Vidya Balan (above) has never followed any set norms; she has broken stereotypes with her pathbreaking characters. Her choice of films appears to be driven by a subconscious need to do something different and achieve a breakthrough. But Vidya thinks otherwise. “I don’t need a breakthrough. I don’t choose characters, they choose me,” she says (laughs). “I do roles that empower me and that I find irresistible for the power they exude,” she adds. Vidya’s talent and her power as a woman was given free rein by the script in her films such as The Dirty Picture (2011) or Kahaani (2012). Strongly feeling that women today need to be more vocal about what they feel, Vidya says that she tries to build that connect through her roles.
“As women, we feel the need to compensate somewhere. We feel a bit awkward about being powerful. We feel we have to tone it down. That makes me angry. We’re told, ‘Don’t raise your voice, girls don’t do that.’ That anger was pent up in me, which I hadn’t expressed as I was suppressed. So I needed a role where I could give expression to my anger,” she says of her latest film, Begum Jaan.
This character, says Vidya, is something of what she’d like to be in real life. “She stands on her own feet, doesn’t depend on anyone. She can put up a fight alone,” says Vidya, who is proud to be part of this new phase of Indian cinema. Is Begum Jaan addition to that stream of films? “I don’t want to make any tall statements about my role but personally speaking, it’s one-of-a-kind films. That character has got attitude like what I’ve not seen before, on screen or off it, in any woman. Playing it has helped me come to terms with my own power as a woman [and as a person],” she says.