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Vidya Balan: There was a time when I got replaced in dozen South films

Updated on: 22 July,2020 01:06 PM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Vidya Balan, in an exclusive interview with, spoke about her upcoming film Shakuntala Devi, getting into the skin of the character, and the struggles she faced in the initial stage of her career!

Vidya Balan: There was a time when I got replaced in dozen South films

Picture Courtesy: Official Instagram Account/Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan is gearing up for her next film, Shakuntala Devi, a drama that traces the journey of the mathematician who also handled motherhood with equal aplomb at home. In an interview with Anjali Singh of, Balan spoke about the efforts she had to put in to replicate her nuances and how she was hurt with the comments from the people she thought were her friends.

Watch the interview here:

The first question was about her ability to transform into the characters she essays on the screen. What is exactly her trick? Balan talked about her latest character Shakuntala Devi and said, "Shakuntala Devi is so multi-faceted that I had to do a lot of research on her. I saw her videos, read a lot about her, heard tapes of the interviews that Anu Menon, our writer and director, did with her daughter and son-in-law. And that's how I began to get a sense of who this person was."

She added, "Of course, Anu and I also worked on how to do the math shows because Shakuntala Devi did her math shows as if they were magic shows. She had a certain swag and it seemed like 'Wow'! Like children like magic, she made children like maths. So all these things I had to understand and internalize and personalize and interpret. I have also worked on the accent, I have used a little South Indian accent as Shakuntala Devi."

Balan is a strong woman and she now portrays a character that has made us immensely proud. What were her emotions when she was reading this character? She said, "I was amazed and awe-struck and inspired. I feel I'm trying to live my life on my own terms, but even in this day and age, it's not easy. Then to think of a woman, who in her 50s, 60s, and 70s, was living her life exactly the way she wanted to. That's so inspiring."

Talking about the Sarees she has worn in the film and the costume designer Niharika Bhasin Khan, Vidya Balan said, "We have also used some of my own personal sarees in the film, but she also pulled out some sarees from her mother's wardrobe and some of those sarees were gorgeous. So I told Niharika to just give them to me. We did so many costume trials just to make the look right."

Balan has been acting for the last 15 years and has proven herself to be a star and a bonafide performer. When asked about the challenges and struggles she faced during her initial days that shook her up, she said, "Ups and downs are part of life, they don't happen only when you're struggling for your first break, even after becoming an actor, I've been through very deep lows. Siddharth, I just talk to him about whatever I'm going through."

She added, "Sometimes you don't even need anyone to tell you something, you just want to share what you're going through. So I think, various, various ups and downs. Maybe before I got Parineeta, there was a period of about three years when I got replaced in a dozen South films and nothing I did seemed to be working. I thought maybe my dream of becoming an actor will remain an unrealised one. So that was probably a really low 'low'. The lowest 'low'!

At work places, there can be moments of discouragement from people, did the actor go through that? She said, "Not anymore but I remember in my early days, I would get hurt by comments from people who I thought were my friends. You know sometimes they'll say things to put you down and I never understood that. Then I realised they weren't my friends, they were people I was working with. That realisation comes from experience and maturity. I've enjoyed working with a lot of those people but they are not friends."

Also Read: Vidya Balan: Shakuntala Devi Got Me Interested In Vedic Maths

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