Vidya Balan – Destiny’s Chosen One
Her name resonates with talent and success today. She is easily one of the best actors in B- Town. But her cinematic journey is a tale of grit, conviction and determination. Rejected by a Tamil producer, she got her first break in a Malayalam movie with Mohanlal as the lead. But that got shelved and she had to wait for a few years to get her first Surf Excel commercial. Talent, like sunlight, shines through and she was most sought after in the ad world with several commercials directed by Pradeep Sarkar. After appearing in 90 such ad films, she appeared in music videos and a couple of television serials. She acted in her first Bengali film opposite Joy Sen Gupta. The film went on to become a superhit. A little later, Vidhu Vinod Chopra spotted her at a pop concert and offered her the lead role in Parineeta. She had to go through 17 make up shoots and 40 screen tests before she was finalised for the role. With the movie’s success, Vidya Balan made a resounding statement that she was a powerhouse performer. Rest, as they say, is history. Acing every role she accepts whether it was in the cinematic portrayal of Silk Smita or of a Hyderabadi detective, Vidya Balan breathes and lives in the characters she essays. On the wish list of every actor and film maker, her career was devoid of any scandals that go with the territory.
Born in Palghat and raised in Mumbai, Vidya Balan was a rather overweight, tomboyish girl when she was in her school. As is the tradition in most Tamil Iyer families, her sister Priya and she were enrolled for classical dance classes but Vidya opted out as she wasn’t an early riser. An ardent fan of Shahrukh Khan, she set her mind on shedding extra kilos when she decided she wanted to enter the world of glamour. A sociology postgraduate, Vidya also studied and performed in Prithvi Theatre’s workshops.
Life had come a full circle when years later the same Tamil producer who had rejected her initially, offered her the lead in Dashavatharam and this time, it was her turn to reject his offer. The role was played by Asin later. She happens to be a devotee of Bhagwan Sri Saibaba and visits the temple religiously every Thursday. A multi linguist, she is proficient in Tamil, Malayalam, English, Hindi, Bengali and Urdu. She is happily married to Siddharth Roy Kapur, film producer, head honcho of UTV and Disney India.
The causes closest to her heart are education for young Indians and children born with HIV. She is associated with AIDS research, Hale House and Harvards AIDS institute.