Actress Vidya Balan wants bigger openings for her films than the film industry’s male superstars. She adds that these are interesting times for actresses in Bollywood, for the way they are being presented on screen.
“I want bigger openings than them (the male superstars),” she laughed, and added: “I am greedy. I think it’s very interesting time in Hindi cinema. I really look forward to this decade. As a female actor at the age of 41, I am amazed with the variety of roles and the kinds of films I am being offered.”
Vidya has essayed several feted performances in films such as “The Dirty Picture”, “Kahaani”, “Tumhari Sulu”, “Parineeta” and “Lage Raho Munna Bhai” and “Paa”. She was last seen in the multistarrer “Mission Mangal“, which collected close to Rs 300 crore at the box-office. Her next release, a biopic of mathematics wizard Shakuntala Devi has already garnered ample buzz. It is often said Vidya is the only actress in Bollywood who guarantee a big opening at the box-office, like the Khans or Akshay Kumar.
Speaking at IIT Bombay’s Tech Fest 2020, Vidya pointed out the last decade has been one of significant change for actresses in Bollywood. “Over the past 10 years, the scope has increased and expanded. It’s a very exciting and exhilarating time. I can’t talk about my next film because it hasn’t been announced yet, and the film I am doing next does not belong to a genre that has been seen in Hindi cinema before. I am talking about a film after the biopic of Shakuntala Devi. It’s a genre one couldn’t have imagined and, for me as a female actor, it is interesting because I am the centre of everything in it. So, the game is changing bigtime.”
Asked which actresses she has looked up to in Hindi cinema, Vidya replied: “I always looked up to Shabana Azmi. She was one of the actresses with the voice. She was not scared to express her opinions and the kind of roles she picked for herself. She has a strong influence on me. In another way, Sridevi — because she was probably one the biggest commercial successes as a female actor. People say she used to command the same price as her male counterparts and people went to watch films because of her. She did a variety of roles and I loved her as an actor. Sridevi is a completely different person from Shabana Azmi. She was so quiet and withdrawn, yet she had commanding screen presence. She quietly did what she had to so. I think these are the women from the film industry I really admire.”
Vidya Balan’s next film “Shakuntala Devi” is directed and written by Anu Menon. The film is scheduled to be theatrically released on May 8.