Vidya Balan: Never got the chance to take London tube earlier

Updated: Nov 06, 2019, 08:44 IST | Mohar Basu | Mumbai

Stranded due to climate change protest in London, Vidya on how she took public transport to Palace of Westminster

Vidya Balan
Vidya Balan

Over the past month, London witnessed several protests and subsequent arrests as the demonstrations to highlight climate change grew wider and louder across the British capital. In a strange turn of events, Vidya Balan — who was stationed in London throughout October for the shoot of Shakuntala Devi — found her plans threatened due to the protests. Turns out, the actor was invited by the Honorary Baroness Sandip Verma to speak about the changing representation of women in Indian cinema, at the Palace of Westminster in the third week of October.

An eyewitness informs, "The roads leading to the Palace of Westminster were barricaded as part of the protest. While she did not want to turn down the invite, Vidya also wanted to show her solidarity with those protesting. So, she took the London tube to the Houses of Parliament instead."

VidyaVidya Balan at the station, in the tube, and at the venue

Balan, who firmly believes that the climate crisis needs urgent addressal, recounts the episode. "I had heard so much about the London tube, but never had the opportunity to take it. It was crowded but I enjoyed the ride. These are the small joys that I miss. I haven’t taken a train in India for so long," she smiles.

The actor adds that the visit was gratifying as they spoke about how Hindi cinema heroines have come a long way from the arm candy roles. "This is the best time in terms of how women are shown on screen. They are depicted as sheroes. They are no longer seen in relation to the roles they play in men’s lives. There were varied opinions shared and it was enriching to discuss multiple points of view."

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  • 1/16

    Born on January 1, 1979, Vidya Balan is known to be one of the finest actresses in Bollywood. When size zero became a buzzword for B-Town, Vidya Balan broke the stereotype around a conventional Bollywood heroine's look by proudly flaunting her curvaceous figure in Milan Luthria's directorial film The Dirty Picture.

    In picture: Vidya Balan shared this picture from a photoshoot and wrote, "Mirror mirror on the wall, Durga, Kali or them all??!! [sic]"

  • 2/16

    Vidya Balan made her acting debut with the popular sitcom Hum Paanch in 1995. She starred in a lot of commercials and music videos before getting a feature film break with Bengali film Bhalo Theko in 2003. Later she made her Bollywood debut with Parineeta opposite Saif Ali Khan and later starred in the sequel to Sanjay Dutt's hit Munna Bhai MBBS, Lage Raho Munna Bhai in 2006. Vidya Balan has won a National award in 2013 and a Padma Shri for her contribution in acting in 2014.

    In picture: Vidya Balan with Rekha at Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. She captioned the picture, "With the ever so gorgeous Rekha ji at Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations last evening. [sic]"

  • 3/16

    In 2007 Vidya Balan featured in a supporting role in Mani Ratnam's semi-biographical drama Guru as a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis. The film starred Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in lead roles.

    In picture: Vidya Balan with Sanjay Dutt and wife Maanayata, Jacqueline Fernandez at a Diwali party. She captioned this picture, "Met my forever favourite co-actor, Sanjay Dutt tonight and ... Happy Diwali to you all!! [sic]"

  • 4/16

    Vidya has established herself as a leading actress of Hindi cinema, as she went on to portray five consecutive roles to wide critical acclaim in the 2009 drama Paa, the 2010 black comedy Ishqiya, the 2011 semi-biographical thriller No One Killed Jessica, the 2011 biopic The Dirty Picture, and the 2012 thriller Kahaani.

    In picture: Vidya Balan poses with Neha Dhupia, she captioned this photo, "The best reunion ever! Had a blast chatting with @nehadhupia on #NoFilterNeha about any n everything. [sic]"

  • 5/16

    Vidya Balan has also served as Jury Member at Cannes in 2013. Acclaimed filmmaker Steven Spielberg was the head of the jury for the main competition at the 66th Cannes Film Festival.

    In picture: Vidya Balan with Steven Spielberg, she posted this on her Instagram account and wrote, "A big Thank You to whoever posted this picture of me with Steven Spielberg from # Cannes2013..I havent seen this one before" [sic]

  • 6/16

    Vidya Balan is happily married to producer Siddharth Roy Kapur. The duo got married on 12 December 2012 in a hush-hush wedding. Vidya and Siddharth tied the knot after a two-year courtship.

    In picture: Vidya Balan with husband Siddharth Roy Kapur. She shared this photo on her wedding anniversary this year (2018).

  • 7/16

    Vidya Balan in an old mid-day interview talking about her marriage to Siddharth Roy Kapur said they are not the "stereotypical husband and wife" the world expects them to be, and this often leads to rumours about their marriage hitting a rough patch. "Maybe, we don't take enough selfies to share on Twitter, or hold hands all the time," she says with a twinge of sarcasm. "People question why we don't go to events together, or why we went for separate events on the same day. They find it odd; I find their reaction amusing. If I don't know the people he works with, how does it make sense to attend his parties? He follows the same funda."

    In picture: Vidya Balan with her family at her Mehendi function, "It feels like mehendi ceremony on this day 5 years ago..... [sic]"

  • 8/16

    Vidya Balan labelled incessant prying into her personal space "blasphemous" and "ridiculous". Talking about it she said in an interview, "I don't think it's anyone's business except mine and my husband's (producer Siddharth Roy Kapur). It was a serious invasion on our privacy, but our country is such. Neighbours and relatives [constantly] ask us (unnecessary questions). The day I got married, one of my uncles told me at the wedding venue, 'Next time I see you [her and Siddharth], I should be looking at three people, not two'. This was even before our wedding pictures could be clicked. I politely laughed because we hadn't even decided on our honeymoon destination then."

    In picture: Vidya Balan with her Tumhari Sulu team at an awards gala.

  • 9/16

    Vidya Balan is extremely close to her family and is rarely seen at Bollywood parties. Vidya talking about her birthday said, "My birthday has always been very simple. It has always been a family affair. When I was single, I used to wake up my parents at 12 am and ask them to wish me. All my birthdays have been with them. Now that I am married, I celebrate it with Siddharth (Roy Kapur) and meet my parents over lunch."

    In picture: Vidya Balan shared yet another photo from her Mehendi ceremony and wrote, "A moment captured exactly this time 4 years mehendi ceremony...a celebration of womanhood with the best ever sister, Priya... my soul sister, the sister of my heart [sic]"

  • 10/16

    Vidya Balan was one of those rare actresses who spoke up against the wage disparity in Bollywood. Vidya said in an earlier interview that she will strive to end the male-female disparity in Bollywood, especially as far as money is concerned. "We were always part of a male-dominated society. But now with films and TV, there seems to be a prominent shift now and perhaps it is going to be a female-dominated society."

    In picture: Vidya Balan with mother Saraswathy Balan. She captioned the image, "With my Amma at the World Malayalee Council awards in Mumbai... # MoiAmma#MuahAmma. [sic]"

  • 11/16

    In addition to acting in films, Vidya Balan promotes humanitarian causes and supports the empowerment of women. Talking about it in an interview said, "I think we have a long way to go before every woman in the country feels empowered. But I do think that with each passing day, some woman is discovering her own power... so, women empowerment is not just a national issue. First, it's a personal issue, then a regional issue, then a national issue and then a universal one. But, more importantly, I think it has to start being a personal issue as we have to each discover our own power."

    In picture: Vidya Balan shared a photo of her family with Rekha and wrote, "Happy Happy Birthday to the 'one & only’...eternal beauty [sic]"

  • 12/16

    Vidya Balan has often been commented on for her wardrobe choices and weight, but the actress is unperturbed by it. Talking about it in an interview she said, "I was actually at a point 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, 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."

    In picture: Vidya Balan dressed as a clown. She shared this photo and wrote, "Guess Who?#SundayShenanigans [sic]"

  • 13/16

    Vidya Balan has boldly spoken about sexual harassment and casting couch in Bollywood. Balan believes sexual harassment is not just limited to the entertainment industry. "Women never had the courage to talk about sexual harassment as invariably the finger would be pointed back at them. This is why, I think whether sexual harassment or rape, women have always found it difficult to talk about it," she said in an interview.

    In picture: Vidya Balan shared a selfie with her Kahaani director Sujoy Ghosh and wrote, "Aaschi Sujoy da..Dhonnobaad for 'another mother of a story' [sic]"

  • 14/16

    Vidya further said she has always walked away from people she felt uncomfortable with as acting was not something that she relied upon for her bread and butter. "Walking away was my defence mechanism. I could walk away because I had a home to go back to. I had family, I had food on my plate and I had nothing to worry about. A lot of people have circumstances that are different."

    In picture: Vidya Balan with her nephew and niece, she shares a lot of pictures of the two. Here's one she posted over a "Blissful weekend."

  • 15/16

    On the work front, Vidya will be next seen Shakuntala Devi. She essays the title role of the late mathematics genius Shakuntala Devi in the film. The film, which also stars Sanya Malhotra as Vidya Balan's on-screen daughter, will hit theatres in summer 2020.

    In picture Vidya Balan with the later actress Sridevi when she came in to wish Tumhari Sulu team for the film release. Vidya posted the picture on Instagram and wrote, "Thank you so much @SrideviBKapoor ,hamari Ms.Hawa Hawai for coming all the way to wish our team #TumhariSulu...Was overjoyed and truly humbled!! [sic]"

  • 16/16

    We wish the versatile actress a happy birthday and a blissful year ahead. Keep going girl!

    In picture: Vidya Balan dressed as none other there musical great Kishore Kumar, she captioned the image as, "Ek chuturnaar trying to hit the right notes! #KishoreKumarKamaal #TransformationTuesdays [sic]"

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