Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan | Actress | Celebrity

Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan, image credit:

Born - January 1, 1979 in Bombay, Maharashtra, India

Birth Name - Vidya P. Balan

Height - 5' 3" (1.6 m)


Vidya Balan is an Indian actress. She has established a career in Hindi films and is the recipient of several awards, including a National Film Award, six Filmfare Awards, and six Screen Awards. She was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2014. Vidya is known for portraying strong protagonists and has been acknowledged in the media for pioneering a change in the concept of a Hindi film heroine.


Vidya Balan was born on 1 January 1979 in Mumbai, to parents of Tamilian descent. Her father, P. R. Balan, is the executive vice-president of Digicable and her mother, Saraswathy Balan, is a homemaker. According to Vidya, they speak a mix of Malayalam and Tamil at home. Her elder sister, Priya Balan, works in advertising. The actress Priyamani is her second cousin.


Vidya grew up in the suburban neighbourhood of Chembur, Mumbai and attended St. Anthony Girls' High School. At the age of 16, she starred in the first season of Ekta Kapoor's sitcom "Hum Paanch" as Radhika, a bespectacled teenager. Following the success of the show, Vidya refused director Anurag Basu's offer to star in a television soap opera, as she wanted to concentrate on a film career. Her parents were supportive of the decision but encouraged her to complete her education first. She attended St. Xavier's College to pursue a bachelor's degree in sociology and later earned a master's degree from the University of Mumbai.


While pursuing her master's degree, Vidya was cast as the female lead in the Malayalam film "Chakram", opposite Mohanlal and was subsequently signed on for 12 other Malayalam language films. However, due to production difficulties, "Chakram" was shelved. The postponement of a film starring Mohanlal was an unheard of occurrence in Malayalam cinema and producers blamed Vidya for bringing "bad luck" to the project; labelled her as a "jinx"; and replaced her in the films that she had been contracted for. She shifted focus to Tamil cinema. In 2001, she was cast as the female lead in N. Linguswamy's "Run" (2002). However, after completing the first shooting schedule, she was unceremoniously dropped and replaced by Meera Jasmine. She was signed up under false pretences for a sex comedy, a genre she was uncomfortable with, and decided to leave the project. Thereafter, she signed on for a third Tamil film, "Manasellam" (2003), but was replaced by Trisha as the director was dissatisfied with her work. "Kalari Vikraman", another Malayalam film that she completed work for in 2003, failed to get a theatrical release. After failing to start a film career, Vidya appeared in approximately 60 television commercials and in music videos for Euphoria and Shubha Mudgal; a majority of these were directed by Pradeep Sarkar.


In 2003, Vidya was signed on by Goutam Halder for his independent Bengali drama "Bhalo Theko": her first film release. Her portrayal of Anandi, a young woman reminiscing about her past, won her an Anandalok Purashkar for Best Actress. Vidya made her Hindi film debut in 2005 with Pradeep Sarkar's musical drama "Parineeta". Before being cast, she had to undergo extensive auditions for six months. The film, an adaptation of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel of the same name, narrated the love story of an idealist Lalita (Vidya) and a musician Shekhar (Saif Ali Khan), the son of a capitalist businessman. Her performance in the film was praised by critics. "Parineeta" fetched her a Best Female Debut award and a nomination for Best Actress at the annual Filmfare Awards ceremony. The following year, Vidya appeared opposite Sanjay Dutt in Rajkumar Hirani's comedy film "Lage Raho Munna Bhai".


In 2007 Vidya featured in a supporting role in Mani Ratnam's semi-biographical drama Guru as a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis. The film, which starred Mithun ChakrabortyAbhishek BachchanAishwarya Rai Bachchan, and R. Madhavan in leading roles, performed well at the box office. Her next release was Nikhil Advani's "Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Love", a romantic comedy featuring an ensemble cast, in which she was paired opposite John Abraham.


Vidya then took a supporting role in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's drama "Eklavya: The Royal Guard", alongside Amitabh BachchanBoman IraniSharmila TagoreSaif Ali Khan, and Sanjay Dutt. The film, which failed commercially, met with positive critical reviews and was selected as India's official entry to the Oscars for the 80th Academy Awards. She was later cast as Isha Sahni, a single mother, in Sajid Khan's "Heyy Babyy", alongside co-stars Akshay KumarRitesh Deshmukh, and Fardeen Khan. Vidya's fifth and final film of 2007 was Priyadarshan's "Bhool Bhulaiyaa", a remake of the Malayalam film "Manichitrathazhu" (1993).


In 2008's "Halla Bol", Vidya played a supporting role alongside Ajay Devgn and Pankaj Kapur. The story was based on the life of activist Safdar Hashmi, who was killed by political rivals while performing in a street play (Halla Bol) in 1989. The film was a critical failure. Later that year, she co-starred with Shahid Kapoor in Aziz Mirza's romantic comedy "Kismat Konnection".


In 2009, Vidya played the role of an unwed gynaecologist struggling with her 12-year-old son's progeria syndrome, in the R. Balki-directed dramedy "Paa". Amitabh Bachchan played the role of Vidya's son and Abhishek Bachchan played the title character. A critical and commercial success, the film has been described as a major turning point in her career.


Vidya followed the success of "Paa" with the Vishal Bhardwaj-produced "Ishqiya" (2010), a black comedy directed by debutant Abhishek Chaubey; co-starring Naseeruddin ShahArshad Warsi, and Salman Shahid. Her work in the film earned Vidya a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress, a second consecutive Best Actress award at Screen and a nomination for Best Actress at Filmfare.


Raj Kumar Gupta's semi-biographical thriller "No One Killed Jessica" with Rani Mukerji was Vidya's first release of 2011. The film, based on the Jessica Lal murder case, saw her portray the real-life character of Sabrina Lal, Jessica's reticent sister. That same year, Vidya featured in a guest appearance in Santosh Sivan's Malayalam language fantasy film "Urumi".


Vidya's next appearance was in Ekta Kapoor's production "The Dirty Picture", a biopic based on the life and death of the controversial Indian actress Silk Smitha. The film opened to major critical acclaim, and Vidya received unanimous praise for her portrayal which several reviewers regarded as her best performance to date. Vidya won a second Filmfare Award, a third consecutive Screen Award, and a National Film Award for Best Actress.


For her next feature film, Vidya starred as Vidya Bagchi, a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband in Sujoy Ghosh's "Kahaani" (2012). The thriller, set in the city of Kolkata during the Durga Puja festivities, met with wide critical acclaim.


Vidya starred opposite Emraan Hashmi as a boisterous Punjabi woman in "Ghanchakkar", a comic-thriller from director Raj Kumar Gupta. Critics were unenthusiastic about the film and it earned little at the box office. Vidya then provided the voice of Draupadi for "Mahabharat", a 3D animation film based on the Indian epic of the same name.


The romantic comedy "Shaadi Ke Side Effects" was Vidya's first film release of 2014. Directed by Saket Chaudhary and co-starring Farhan Akhtar, the film tells the story of a married couple who face a series of comic events after the birth of their first child. Also that year, Vidya featured as the host of "No More Kamzor", a television special on women empowerment. She then starred in the comedy-drama "Bobby Jasoos", which saw her play the eponymous role of a Hyderabadi woman aspiring to be a detective. However, both "Shaadi Ke Side Effects" and "Bobby Jasoos" failed to find a wide audience.


In 2015, Vidya reteamed with Hashmi in the Mohit Suri-directed romantic drama "Hamari Adhuri Kahani". Penned by Mahesh Bhatt, the film tells the story of Vasudha, a single mother trapped in an abusive marriage, who has an extra-marital affair. Vidya next took on the part of a police officer in "Te3n" (2016), a thriller inspired by the 2013 South Korean film "Montage", co-starring Amitabh Bachchan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. She then portrayed the actress Geeta Bali in multiple songs for "Ekk Albela", a Marathi language biopic of the actor-director Bhagwan Dada. Vidya's final release of the year was Sujoy Ghosh's "Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh", a sequel of the movie "Kahaani", although it narrated a different story.


Srijit Mukherji's period drama "Begum Jaan" (2017) saw Vidya play the role of the titular procurer. A Hindi language remake of the Bengali film "Rajkahini" (2015), "Begum Jaan" tells the story of how the lives of prostitutes living in brothel are affected by the partition of India in 1947. Later in 2017, Vidya played Sulu, a spirited housewife who moonlights as a relationship advice talk show host, in the comedy-drama "Tumhari Sulu".


As of January 2018, Vidya has committed to produce and star in a biopic of Indira Gandhi, based on Sagarika Ghose's biography "Indira – India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister".


Vidya is trained in carnatic music and briefly studied the dance forms of Bharatnatyam and Kathak. During an interview in May 2012, Vidya announced that she was dating Siddharth Roy Kapur, the CEO of UTV Motion Pictures. On 14 December 2012, the couple were married in a private ceremony in Bandra, Mumbai.


Besides acting in film, Vidya promotes humanitarian causes and supports charitable institutions. In March 2011, she endorsed World Wildlife Fund's Earth Hour campaign in India. She campaigned for the cause of nutrition in India for Child In Need Institute (CINI), a non-profit organisation based in Kolkata. In September 2012, Vidya visited a village in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, where she participated in a campaign to promote children's education and the empowerment of women. For her attempts to empower women, Vidya was awarded The Prabha Khaitan Puraskar 2012 by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce; she was the youngest recipient of the award. In August 2013, she served as the grand marshal of the India Day parade held in New York City. In September that year, she launched a technology-based learning platform for underprivileged children in the Thanapur village of Uttar Pradesh. On the occasion of International Women's Day in 2015, Vidya wrote an opinion column in Hindustan Times on the issues faced by women in India. In August 2017, Vidya was made a member of the Indian Central Board of Film Certification, to certify films for theatrical exhibition.


Among Vidya's film awards are a National Film Award for Best Actress for "The Dirty Picture" (2011); and six Filmfare Awards: Best Female Debut for "Parineeta" (2005); Best Actress for "Paa" (2009), "The Dirty Picture" (2011), "Kahaani" (2012), and "Tumhari Sulu" (2017); and Critics Award for Best Actress for "Ishqiya" (2010).


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