How Vidya Balan broke stereotypes without ever intending to

When choosing characters, actor just happens to pick the roles of women with a purpose

Entertainment Desk June 12, 2021

Vidya Balan has time and again challenged Bollywood stereotypes with her roles, living out her characters with one power-packed performance after another. But the star insists it was not something that she did consciously, reported Siasat Daily.

Ever since she made her Bollywood debut with 2005’s Parineeta, Balan has wowed audiences with her work in films such as Bhool Bhulaiyaa, No One Killed Jessica, The Dirty Picture, Paa, Kahaani, Ishqiya, Mission Mangal, Tumhari Sulu and Shakuntala Devi. She will be seen in Amit Masurkar’s Sherni next, which casts her as a forest officer.

“I did not set out to break stereotypes but I think through my experiences in life, especially as an actor, I have realised I am not going to let anything come in the way of me being an actor,” said Balan, who has been feted with a National Award and a Padma Shri.

The 42-year-old added, “If you tell me I am too short to be an actor or too fat to be an actor or I am too bold to be an actor, I am too brazen or too intelligent or whatever, I am just saying random things, I cannot change who I am but I can still find my way.”

She went on, “My passion for what I do has seen me through because I really can’t change anything about myself. So, I did not set out to break stereotypes. I just said if it doesn’t work, too bad! It has to work because I am going to make it work. It has to work because I want to be an actor.”

Balan, who at the age of 16, starred in the sitcom Hum Paanch as the bespectacled Radhika in, did not challenge the stereotype with a conscious mind. Currently, she awaits the release of Sherni, where she plays an upright forest officer battling social barriers set by the patriarchal society and lackadaisical attitudes within her department.

“Each of us is a Sherni but it feels wonderful to be called one!” she smiled, adding, “They are all women who derive their identities from the work they do. They are very passionate about the work they do because I feel I am that woman too. So, therefore, I steer towards these characters.”

The superstar likes women with purposes and therefore, tend to play them. “The more I look around me, more and more of us are finding that purpose, are living out our dreams. I think it is also a reflection of what’s happening in the world around us because cinema is a reflection of reality,” she concluded.

Sherni is scheduled for a digital release on June 18 on Amazon Prime Video.

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