Actor Vidya Balan’s debut film, Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta, released on this day 12 years ago. In this time, Vidya has become one of the most versatile actors in Bollywood, with an impressive body of work, The Hindustan Times reports.
Recalling how she started her journey, the 38-year-old says that she couldn’t have asked for a better debut than Parineeta, where she starred alongside actors Saif Ali Khan and Sanjay Dutt. “Pradeep Sarkar showed faith in me when I had no faith in myself, when my faith in myself was shaky. I had gone through a lot of rejection down south and had been labelled jinxed. And then, here was a man who showed faith in me and wanted to make his feature film debut with me.” Parineeta also marked Sarkar’s debut as a director, and won him the Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a Director, a part of the National Film Awards.
Vidya says, “He got Vidhu Vinod Chopra on board as producer. How could this have got any better? To add to that, you had Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan. It was the perfect launchpad. The film changed things for me overnight.” After that, Vidya went from strength to strength, receiving a National Film Award of her own for The Dirty Picture (2011) and fronting the hit thriller Kahaani (2012).Talking about her memories from the film, Vidya says that she remembers everything clearly.
“I remember so much from the shoot of Parineeta. I remember shooting for the song Piyu Bole in Calcutta. I remember going on that little boat on the Hooghly [river], for the same song. I remember meeting and shooting my scenes with Sanjay Dutt and how wonderfully warm and generous he was,” she says. “There was this one time when Sanju had come to Calcutta to shoot. Word spread that Sanjay Dutt was there, and there were loads of people who stood outside to meet him. He came to see me before he left for the airport. A few minutes later, I got out of the van to go to the hotel, and suddenly people started grabbing my hand. They thought if Sanjay Dutt had gone to meet this person, then this person must be important.”
Talking about all that has changed in Bollywood since then, Vidya says acting as a profession is being taken seriously now. “I love the fact that people are approaching acting more as a profession,” she says. “That’s not to take away the madness and creativity from it. I love the fact that acting is seen as a respectable profession now. I don’t mean it in terms of the moral respect quotient; I am talking about just being taken seriously. I think that things have got more organised. People take their work seriously. There’s not much wastage of time. More time means more money. I think a lot of preoperation goes in before [a shoot], which is great.”