It is always a delight to watch this unstoppable, ever smiling, beautiful actor onscreen; Vidya Balan is back with Tumhari Sulu where she plays a suburban Mumbai Housewife whose life changes when she lands herself in a job as a Radio Jockey for a night show. The flawless actor spoke to Indus Age where she shared her views on women-centric films, her strategy while selecting a film, her message for her Australian fans and much more. Excerpts:
By Nidhi Kumari
How would you describe your odyssey in the Indian film industry so far?
It’s been an exciting journey so far. I couldn’t have asked for more.
The career path of a female actress in a film industry is short lived. But you’ve challenged that. What’s your response?
Honestly, people used to believe the career of a woman is very short but I’m glad that it’s changing and I am a part of that change. What’s changing around is not films and female actors but ‘women’ who are not putting a stop to their lives; professional life, even if they’re moving forward personally. That’s a huge shift. Because films and female actors are part of that larger society you see that change. In a way women are portrayed on screen and the fact that female actors’ career are not coming to an end.
Who could’ve thought at 38 (I am 38) I would be heading a film. This was unimaginable a few years ago for a female actor to be headlining a film where she’s not playing a mother or a supporting role. That’s a welcome change.
Your selection of films are completely different from what the trend or norm is. What all aspects you look at while selecting a film?
I am a reticent who needs constant stimulation when it comes to selecting films. It has to excite me and only when I feel, ‘Oh! My God’ I want to know this person, then I know that I want to play that character. I want to tell that story and also want to watch it as an audience.
It’s very instinctive when you’re reading a script or listening to the narration. There are times when you end up doing it even when instinctive answer is no. But there are other things into consideration that this would be the right film for you and all sorts of things.
I have been so many different characters over time.. . I am constantly looking for new things to do.
The Indian cinema industry is witnessing women centric roles that are doing extremely well. And you have been one of the flag bearers of women- centric films..and now your upcoming film Tumhari Sulu is also surrounded around a woman’s life..What’s your take on that?
Nothing really. I am the centre of my universe and I am a woman. I do films where I am at the centre of the film and I enjoy that.
What persuaded you to do ‘Tumhari Sulu’?
It was the script, the way it was narrated. Since past 3 years I have been doing more serious kind of roles. Personally I smile a lot and I laugh very easily. And when Tumhari Sulu came to me I felt this character is so close to my heart, someone who’s got the best in life, someone who is ready to go. That she’s a homemaker, never done a job as an Radio Jockey but is ready to try it out. She’s unstoppable. So, we share the enthusiasm and I identify with her easily.
How was it working with Manav Kaul?
Fantastic. The wall broke out very easily with Manav as he’s the most giving actors. It was sheer joy from the word go. There was great trust between us especially when we were recreating a real life.
Any special memory from the shoot of Tumhari Sulu you would like to share.
I remember pretty much the entire shoot. Director Suresh Triveni, would appreciate little things everyday on the shoot. I remember every week one person was celebrated . We had one focus puller every week.
A lot of times the shot goes off very well and at one time you lost focus but not with this film.
We all did a little walk of fame, we held hands above our heads and we made a little walk and he walked through that walk. So Suresh would celebrate people. That is the incentive for people to perform very well. He would thank people very easily.
Having established yourself as a versatile and veteran actress, what advice would you like to give to the young and new entrants in the film industry?
There’s no one way to succeed so carve your own path. Follow your instincts.
In any film that you’ve acted, your natural and strong performance on camera create a space where a female protagonist becomes as important as the male protagonist, and this has been a case with every film of yours. Your views on that.
I never thought of it in terms of man or woman. Like I said am at the centre of my universe. I look for ways where I am at the centre. I do that with passionate commitment. I am a very hungry actor. I want to do more so it all adds up and it led me here. There’s no fixed strategy.
Message for fans in Australia:
Loads of love and I hope you enjoy Tumhari Sulu. I come to Melbourne every year. I couldn’t come this year but will be back next year. Do watch Tuhmari Sulu, you are going to enjoy. Love and compliments for New Year…
Seasoned with music, humour and quirk, Tumhari Sulu witnesses the everyday grit of a housewife, a marriage put to test and a world that struggles to see the beauty of a so-called ‘simple, ordinary life’. The film is releasing on 17 November, 2017.
Interview Courtesy: Mind Blowing Films and Grandshowbiz entertainment