Vidya Balan talks about 'Kahaani 2', body issues and more in candid chat
As Vidya Balan returns with 'Kahaani 2', she talks to us about recurring body issues and why the industry finally seems to be changing
It's been a hectic day for actress Vidya Balan, who is in the midst of promotions for 'Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh'. She goes from one made-up TV set to another, fielding questions from over-enthusiastic TV hosts, who refer to her as the actress who says it like it is, is a role model for Indian women, and who has made it on her own terms. Balan is gregarious and confident in the face of these statements, smiling, giggling and being sexy as only she can be, and looks as if she really enjoys the promotional blitzkrieg.
As we sit in her hotel room for a chat just before she heads off for another event, she still seems keen and excited to talk about 'Kahaani 2', directed by Sujoy Ghosh, who also directed Balan in the predecessor 'Kahaani'. The trailer is a suspenseful one, with Vidya’s character trying to save her daughter who vanishes, but when she gets involved in a car accident, it’s revealed that there is a sinister story behind it all, and she is not who she seems to be.
“Before the trailer came out, people thought it was a sequel. But it has nothing to do with the previous story. This one is about a woman from Kalimpong, who is cut off from the world, and because of certain situations, has to come back,” she tells us. “What’s compelling about this movie is the story, and it’s the way it’s been told, which you have to watch it for. Sujoy told me to forget about the first Kahaani, and I thought that was a very self-assured thing to say, because even four years later, people talk about Kahaani and how it shocked them. But, when people saw this trailer, they forgot about it, and are now responding to this story.”
As in 'Kahaani' and the now cult 'Dirty Picture', here too Balan’s is the central character. Her upcoming projects, 'Begum Jaan' (where she plays the madam of a brothel during Partition) and 'Aami' (a biopic on the legendary poet), see her doing what few actresses do — carry the movie through. “I am lucky that way. If they are coming, of course, I will do them. But I did 'Teen' too, where I was part of a larger star cast, so I have no qualms doing that.” She agrees that the film industry seems to be changing. “The lines between indie and commercial are blurring, right? And there are so many more movies around and directors who want to do something different. Even the ‘actress’ is changing. Look at Alia Bhatt. She is glamorous and gorgeous, but relatable, too. She can do Kapoor and Sons, and Udta Punjab. She proves the industry is changing.”
As we watched her today, tackle questions like a veteran, and taking compliments like one who is used to it, she strikes us as being at peace with herself. She also constantly mentions husband Siddharth Roy Kapoor, and you know things are hunky-dory on the home front. But Balan, in her candid way, is quick to remind us that change is constant. “I was actually at a point three years ago where I was finally feeling happy with myself, my body. And then I started gaining weight, and would wake up feeling unhealthy. I had been put on medication for a disease I didn’t even have and that took its toll. And, suddenly, all my body issues came back, and my movies weren’t doing well,” she says, and then adds, “but then I realised the Universe was saying ‘you thought this was it’. And, all I needed to do was change my attitude. The situation is still the way it was, but I am just looking at it differently now, and being positive.”
As we field fans, all scrambling for a selfie with her, and get into her car, she talks about her favourite habit — watching Netflix. “Siddharth and I are on the last two episodes of The Affair, and then I plan to start watching Marcella and The Crown. It’s a good life.”
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