Failure graced her steps earlier? but the valiant Vidya Balan didn’t buckle under the label of being a “jinxed actress,” with many of her South productions coming unstuck. Rather, she bided her time with music videos and ad films? till ‘Parineeta’ came along. Today, she’s beaming with those countless laurels crowding her way for ‘Paa’. And with ‘Ishqiya’, she’s sure to shock the socks off audiences?.
She’s been the giggly, goody two shoes sort on celluloid. A charmingly simple child woman (‘Parineeta’), glam gal (‘Heyy Babyy’), high on Gandhigiri (‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’) and tall on empathy (‘Paa’), Vidya Balan has traversed her cinematic route with finesse, confirming her credentials as a performer of merit. But goodness gracious? good just got supremely boring. And Vidya turned vile with a vengeance!
Case in point: ‘Ishqiya’, which spotlights Balan in a stunningly different avatar? mouthing expletives, gulping booze, seducing two unsuspecting males and giving devious a new meaning.
The actress, who desires to choose roles that are deliberately diverse from one another, declares candidly, “I am almost schizophrenic.” Excerpts from a free wheeling chat with the vivacious actress?.
How would you describe Krishna Varma of Ishqiya? You’ve got this interesting dialogue in the film which goes,’ Ishq mein sab bewaja hota hain?.
Ishq mein sab bewaja hota hai!…haan hota hai! (laughs). In love you do things for no rhyme or reason. You just do it for the sake of love. That’s what ‘Ishqiya’ is all about. It’s about how three people who find love and how love takes them on separate paths. And yet, the path of love is just one. It’s the entire trip of love that ‘Ishqiya’ is all about. Krishna, my character in the film is an extremely passionate woman. She loves as passionately as she hates when she is conned. Krishna does not take things lying down. She is very aggressive with a certain sexual aggression in her. She is unapologetic about sexuality and uses it to her advantage. I think Krishna is truly today’s progressive woman who has the reins of her life in her own hands. She is in complete control and that’s what I liked about the character. And through the film you are only trying to figure out what she is thinking, what she’s doing and you don’t understand her like any other woman.
You have worked with Arshad Warsi earlier in Lage RahoMunnbhai, while you’re working for the first time with Naseeruddin Shah in this film. How would you describe the experience?
I may have worked with Arshad Warsi before, but we’ve not really shared screen space in ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’. He is, by far, one of our most versatile actors and is fairly under utilised. I hope people see him in a new light after ‘Ishqiya’ and put him to far better use as an actor. And about Naseersaab, what can I say that has not been said before? He is an institution. It was a pleasure to be working with him. What I really admire about Naseerbhai is that here there is a certain pressure to tow the line, to be a certain way. And although he’s been here in Hindi films for about 25 to 30 years, or more, he is who he is and nothing ever changes that! Surely, he is this acclaimed actor but he does not behave in a manner that you would expect him to. In our industry, they are constantly trying to make you fit into a certain mould and he has resisted that. I think that’s what I most admire about him.
What’s your take on director Abhishek Chaubey who debuts with Ishqiya?
He’s extremely intelligent, well read and focused, and so he knows how to put that knowledge to use. He knows what his story is and how he wants to tell it. Though he was open to suggestions, he was extremely clear on what he wanted. So that helps and it’s admirable, especially when it is a first time director. Also, Abhishek Chaubey is a great people’s person and 50 per cent of a director’s job is to reap people’s management. He’s such a simple and unassuming person on the sets that everyone did not mind going that extra mile or working for a few hours more without a break, because they all loved him so much. Of course, he’s very talented and I’m sure that he will go a long way. My wishes for him, though, are that he always remains the fine person that he is. I think that it will take him even further.
The phrase ‘Chuttiyam Sulphate’ has managed to create a rage. What was your reaction and did you ever expect that it would catch the fancy of people?
Honestly, I thought it was damn cool! (laughs). I know that the phrase is often used in the North. Krishna is basically a rough and aggressive woman who would use that kind of language. So it was not really a surprise for me that she spoke like that. As Vidya, I was a little uncomfortable initially, but as Krishna it came very naturally. And I knew that people would catch on to it in no time. Trust me, after watching the promos everyone seems to think that it is really the ‘catch phrase of the decade’.
You have always managed to essay different kind of roles?.right from Lolita of Parineeta to the recent Vidya Kumari of Paa and now Krishna Varma of Ishqiya and yet managed to get critical acclaim. Is it a deliberate attempt to try and get into different roles, which are non glamourous, yet are performance ?oriented? What kind of challenges do you face while essaying such diverse characters?
I am really fortunate that I started my career with a film like ‘Parineeta’ and a character like Lolita that was so well textured and layered. It was an incredible role for a first film and that kind of set a precedent. My directors and the industry have shown great faith in me and I feel extremely grateful for the kind of work that I’ve got. There is a deliberate attempt to try and do something new every time because I have not set any limits for myself as an actor. I am almost schizophrenic. I want to be inhabiting different worlds, being different people at different points in time. So the more diverse it gets, the better it is for me. But I must add that Krishna is most different from any character that I have done so far. And I’m extremely thrilled to have got a chance to play her.