'Hum Paanch' (1995): Vidya Balan made her foray in acting with the hit and iconic Television show Hum Paanch where she played the role of an awkward, yet brainy girl Radhika.
'Parineeta' (2005): The film marked her Bollywood debut, which earned her a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut as well as her first Best Actress nomination at the same ceremony.
'Lage Raho Munna Bhai' (2006): Balan received her first commercial success with Rajkumar Hirani's film in which she co-starred opposite Sanjay Dutt and Arshad Warsi.
'Guru' (2007): The Mani Ratnam film was Balan's first release in 2007, in which she played a woman suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. The film performed well at the box office and her role was appreciated.
'Bhool Bhulaiyaa' (2007): Her portrayal of Avani, a woman suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, earned her a second Filmfare nomination.
'Paa' (2009): She appeared as a single mother of a child suffering from progeria in R. Balki's Paa, her performance in which ultimately won her a Best Actress award at Filmfare.
'Ishqiya' (2010): Balan's role was that of Krishna Verma, a 30-year old widowed village woman. Her character was described as a femme fatale, and her performance was applauded by critics. She won a Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress and received a second consecutive Star Screen Award, among others.
'No One Killed Jessica' (2011): Balan played the first real-life character of her career, that of Sabrina Lal in this semi-biographical film based on the Jessica Lal murder case alongside Rani Mukerji. The film was received well and her performance won her accolades.
'The Dirty Picture' (2011): Balan essayed the role of tragic sex symbol Silk Smitha in this biopic based on her life. Upon release, the film received both critical and commercial success, with the actress receiving maximum accolades for her performance and being called "the hero of the film".
'Kahaani' (2012): Vidya Balan portrays the role of Vidya Bagchi, a pregnant woman who is in search of her missing husband in Kolkata. The film was noted for its deft portrayal of the city, while Vidya won widespread acclaim for her unconventional approach to portraying a strong female character. Vidya not only won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her role in the film, but also earned herself the tag of a 'female hero'.
'Bobby Jasoos' (2014): Vidya played the role of a Hyderabadi woman, Bilkis Ahmed a.k.a Bobby, who aspires to be a detective. She sported 12 elaborate disguises in the film and trained with a language coach to adopt the Hyderabadi accent. She was critically acclaimed for her competence while essaying the ambitious detective - a role that many touted as outwardly simple but complex in character.
'Kahaani 2' (2016): In this film, Vidya Balan plays the central character of a woman, who can either be Vidya Sinha as she claims to be, or Durga Rani Singh, whose identity she's perhaps concealing. The actress shines in 'Kahaani 2', a thriller set in a sleepy town called Chandannagar, off Kolkata -- effectively capturing the Bong milieu; art-directed, and shot like a slightly dystopian dream.
'Begum Jaan' (2017): Vidya Balan starred in this pre-Independence movie 'Begum Jaan', where she played the role of a brothel's madam, yet again a powerful and pathbreaking performance.
'Tumhari Sulu' (2017): In Tumhari Sulu, Vidya Balan is seen as an ambitious housewife who becomes a radio jockey for a late-night relationship advice show. The film received rave reviews and appreciation from critics and audience alike. The film did well at box office, Vidya bagged Best Actress at the Filmfare Awards.
From her humble beginning in 'Hum Paanch' to becoming a National Award-winning actress, Vidya Balan's journey has been a stellar one. On her birthday, here's a look at her memorable performances on screen
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