In conversation with: Vidya Balan

In conversation with: Vidya Balan

“Shakuntala Devi is the most complicated character I’ve ever played.”

ARTICLE BY : Vikas Rattu


Vidya Balan has never quite played by the rules. From her first film Parineeta (2005) to now, she has gone onto breaking many glass ceilings that paved her way to becoming the bona fide superstar we all know today. In an exclusive interview with Khush, Padma Shri and National Film Award-winning actor, Vidya Balan, talks about her recent film, Shakuntala Devi, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. She reveals how she prepared herself to play the real-life genius on screen, her views on women-centric films, and, why you shouldn’t take success too seriously.

Tell us about your experience in playing the mathematical genius, Shakuntala Devi, on screen?
I think she's the most complicated, the most complex character I've ever played. She was an incredible woman who was unafraid to be complex, unafraid to be intelligent and unafraid to be successful. To translate this kind of personality on screen was a challenge and I loved it.

How did you prep for the role?
See, the preparation required to play a real-life character is a lot more intense than a fictional one. Right from the body language to everything about the person has to be right. In Shakuntala Devi’s case, I had to capture her exuberance, flamboyance and the ease in which she sees math. Reading about her and watching her videos helped me a lot. I also trained for the accent to ensure I can bring her personality to life on screen.
As a woman, are there any similarities between you and Shakuntala Devi?
Like Shakuntala Devi, I try to live my life on my own terms. Her outlook on life, being unapologetic about her choices, and living life to the fullest is all too relatable. At the same time, I am very much inspired by her. If in the 1950s to 70s she could live her life the way she did, we have no reason not to be fighting for our rights, today. I think most women will be able to relate to her to a great extent and, most importantly, will get inspired by her.

You are widely credited for bringing women-centric roles to the forefront with films like The Dirty Picture, Ishqiya and Kahaani. Looking back, how do you measure this change?
I feel very, very grateful for being credited as the face of this change but I think we were ready for this change. We were ready for women stories to be told on screen and make them as mainstream as a male-lead film.

How do you deal with success and failure?
I am someone who never took success or failure very seriously. For me, it’s more about being happy in the roles I choose rather than dwell on strategy and numbers. Of course, you feel disappointed by failure – that’s normal. But to survive, you need to shrug off the failure, and move forward. Stay positive and understand that failure and success is part of life.
Your advice to aspiring actors?
Keep faith and don’t lose hope. I lost 13 films before making my debut with Parineeta and as difficult things may seem at the time, you just have to stay positive and keep going.

Shakuntala Devi – Human Computer currently streamimg on Amazon Prime Video



Tags : Bollywood  Interview  Vidya Balan  Shakuntala Devi 
  Previous Article
Next Article   

Get Our FREE Newsletter