Birthday Special: Tumhari Vidya Balan@39
Bollywood actress Vidya Balan is arguably one of the best actresses in Bollywood. The actress, who is a favourite with the critics, has however had a bumpy Bollywood journey with hits like Parineeta, The Dirty Picture and Kahaani and damp squibs like Bobby Jasoos and Ghanchakkar to her credit. As she turns a year older, we take a pictorial look at her Bollywood journey so far.
- Vidya was born in Palakkad, Kerala, where her father was Vice President of ETC Channel, but grew up in Mumbai. She went to St Anthony’s School and then studied Anthropology at St Xavier’s College. She had enrolled for an MA at the University of Mumbai; however, she aspired to make way to the silver screen.
- Vidya’s career stalled almost as soon as it started. Her debut film was the Malayalam language Chakram, opposite no less an actor than Mohanlal, but ended up being shelved. She was next signed for Tamil film Runbut replaced by Meera Jasmine. She was also dropped from Manasellamfor ‘non-performance’ and was replaced by Trisha Krishnan.
- In 1998, Vidya abandoned her faltering movie career for television, making a series of ad films mostly directed by Pradeep Sarkar. She also appeared in music videos for bands like Euphoriaand singers Shubha Mudgal and Pankaj Udhas.
- Vidya’s luck turned when she replaced Amita Nangia as Radhika Mathur, the awkward, geeky sister on season one of popular TV serial Hum Paanch.
- The Bengali film Bhalo Thekoheralded her arrival on the big screen in 2003. Her performance won her the Anandalok Puraskar Best Actress award in Kolkata.
- There was no looking back for Vidya after her Bollywood debut opposite Saif Ali Khan in Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta. Her glowing performance as the dignified and wronged Lalita who had to struggle with economic and social divisions in her love affair with her neighbour, Shekhar, was the first of a series of powerhouse performances.
- A Filmfare Best Female Debut Award was on the way and the nomination for the Filmfare Best Actress Award was just the cherry on the top.
- After the success of Vidya’s first two films, the same producer who had dropped her from Manasellam, was keen to sign her opposite Kamal Haasan for Dasavathaaram, but she rejected the offer and Asin Thottumkal was signed instead.
- In 2006, Vidya starred with Sanjay Dutt in Lage Raho Munna Bhai, which was a critical and commercial success.
- Mani Ratnam’s critically acclaimed Guruwas Vidya’s first release in 2007, in which she played a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis. A soul-stirring lip-lock in the pouring rain with co-star Madhavan got much of the attention.
- Her next release the same year were, Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Loveand Eklavya: The Royal Guard. Both films failed miserably at the box office but Eklavya was selected as India’s official entry to the Oscars for the 80th Academy Awards. Her last two releases of the year, Heyy Babyy and Bhool Bhulaiya were box office hits.
- Vidya’s moment of glory came with 2009’s Paa. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s performance as the child suffering from progeria was matched by Vidya’s, who played his mother.
- She became a critics’ darling as the femme fatale, Krishna, in Ishqiya. Steamy scenes with co-star Arshad Warsi helped change her wholesome on-screen image to one slightly more risque.
- In 2011, Vidya and Rani Mukerji, arguably Bollywood’s most talented actresses, appeared together in No One Killed Jessica. Based on the Jessica Lal murder case, Vidya played Jessica’s sister Sabrina.
- Vidya Balan’s biggest moment came in 2011. She changed the face of Bollywood with her bold performance in Milan Luthria’s The Dirty Picture. The role won Vidya the National Award, among a slew of the honours. She was spoken off as ‘the fourth Khan’ but said in an interview: “Well, the Khans can now add Balan at the end of their names, instead of me adding Khan to my name.”
- Vidya followed up The Dirty Picturewith another triumph in Kahaani in which she played a pregnant woman searching for her missing husband in the bylanes of Kolkata. The actress won her the Filmfare Award for Best Actress that year.
- In 2013, Vidya featured in the comedy film Ghanchakkaropposite Emraan Hashmi. She played the role of a Punjabi housewife in the film. The movie could not match up to the success of her last two films and turned out to be a box office dud.
- In 2014, Vidya delivered back-to-black flops – Shaadi Ke Side Effectsopposite Farhan Akhtar, Bobby Jasoos with Ali Fazal and Ghanchakkar with Emraan Hashmi.
- Her only 2015 film Hamari Adhuri Kahani, opposite Emraan Hashmi, was another box office dud. The film was directed by Mohit Suri and also featured actor Rajkummar Rao.
- In 2016, Vidya made a special appearance in Ribhu Dasgupta’s Te3nand then she featured in the sequel of her 2012 hit Kahaani. The film was directed by Sujoy Ghosh and was titled Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh. but it wasn’t as big a success as its predecessor.
- 2017 was a mixed year for Vidya Balan. Her first release Begum Jaanfailed to create a box office stir but her slice-of-life drama film Tumahari Sulu was accepted with open arms by movie-goers.
- On December 14, 2012, Vidya married UTV head Siddharth Roy Kapur in a traditional and very private ceremony in Mumbai. The couple, among Bollywood’s most low-key, announced their engagement in May but kept wedding plans very quiet.
- In 2013, Vidya had the rare honour of being one of the jury members of Cannes Film Festival.
We wish the actress a very happy birthday and a great year ahead.