Portrayal of women in films still stereotypical: Vidya Balan

National-award winning actress Vidya Balan feels that portrayal of women in films is still stereotypical to a great extent.

Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan

With films like 'Parineeta', 'Paa', 'The Dirty Picture', 'Kahaani' and now 'Bobby Jassos' to her credit, Vidya acknowledged efforts are being done by some filmmakers to break the mould.

"I think it (portrayal of actresses) is changing and it will keep changing for a while. Change is never absolute but we have definitely taken a few baby steps towards the change (in portrayal of actresses in films)," Vidya told PTI in an interview.

She said only five per cent portrayals are trying to do something new and break away from the convention. "I think 95 per cent of the portrayal is still very stereotypical and only five per cent portrayals are attempting something different, more realistic like 'Bobby' (her film 'Bobby Jassos')," the actress said. Vidya, 36, said that her character in 'Bobby Jasoos' was more realistic and not conventional.

"It is not like that I have to be serious, sharp and stylish for being a detective. I am a real girl and untrained, I am not like Sherlock Holmes and any of his ilk," she added. "In Bobby's case there is certain simplicity and innocence which I am learning along the way and is very real.

So I think the portrayals are getting more interesting because they are getting realistic but they are just five per cent of the kind of films that are getting made," the actress said. Vidya said she opted for out-of-box films primarily because she got bored doing same stuff again on screen and hence looks for something unusual before giving her nod for a project

"I called up some detective agencies and asked them how they approach cases before I began shooting. I told them about a fake case and wanted to know what were the questions that they ask... That was the amount of referencing that I did for this film," the actress said.

'Bobby Jasoos' celebrates the aspiration of Bobby, who wants to become the number one detective. "Detective films are exciting and thrilling but it ('Bobby Jassos') is a humane story of a girl from a small mohala (area) of Hyderabad and her dream is to become a known detective in her mohala. It is a simple aspirational story. It is not that the girl is expecting to become famous and I found this refreshing," Vidya said.

Vidya has donned 12 different looks in the film. The makers spent a lot of time on getting different and unique looks. "Some of the disguises required me to look closer to Bobby, some were completely different so the male disguises came in. We had looks of peon, astrologer, beggar, maulavi , producer, etc. We put in a lot of effort for the looks but it was very enjoyable.

I think it is the biggest high for any actor," she added. The toughest disguise for Vidya was that of a maulavi and the easiest was of astrologer. "The maulavi look was not tough per se but I was bit awkward initially because something was applied near my nose to make it look wider. I had to run a lot and take a deep breath. I felt it will go in, then there are eyebrows, a beard and a moustache. I think there were too many things on me. Amongst all of them it wasn't tough but it was challenging.

The most fun was of jyotishi (astrologer) who is half bald, with a moustache and has dirty teeth. "I enjoyed that because I found myself funny.. I kept looking at myself and burst out laughing," she said.

It was relatively easy for Vidya to shoot on the streets with so many disguises as noboby, including her family members and even her husband Siddharth Roy Kapur, failing to recognise her. Directed by Samar Shaikh and produced by Dia Mirza and Sahil Sangha, the film is slated to release on July 4.

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