Till a few years ago Bollywood had an amazing theory; let the hero act and the heroine have a pleasant presence which will be soothing for the eye. The film industry simply refused to move away from the abstract concept of ‘bad girl’ and ‘good girl’. The dichotomy was meaningless, but it continued till Vidya Balan. The world of Bollywood can be divided into two different time zones; pre-Vidya and post-Vidya. Of course, post-Vidya Bollywood has been more interesting. All her films may not have entered the 100-crore club, but have definitely challenged the stereotypes and made headlines for the right reasons.
To portray the role of a pregnant woman as a secret agent totally went against the Bollywood theory that a woman as a Bollywood lead cannot create a successful movie. The news of her fake pregnancy shocked the Indian subcontinent; using a prosthetic belly to unmask a dangerous terrorist, dodging an assassin and then weaving a net of suspense for the audience, everything was executed flawlessly by Vidya. And the powerhouse actress completely nailed the role.
Size does matter, but not size zero and Vidya aptly demonstrated it in ‘The Dirty Picture’. The movie was a slap on the face of all the body shamers who perceived how ‘heroines’ are supposed to look. Depicting the role of the sexy siren Silk Smitha was no mean task; there was too much controversy and no image-conscious heroine would have dared to trod on the path which Vidya took.
If there was one character which could balance her feisty image it would be Sabrina Lall from ‘No One Killed Jessica’. Probably, it was a deliberate attempt on the part of the director to give the role of the dauntless journalist to Rani Mukherjee. Sabrina’s fight was more understated, her pain and troubles were quite low-key and personal until Meera [Rani Mukherjee] comes to the picture. Vidya as Sabrina portrays the inner battle of Sabrina effortlessly.
Often with a series of strong and bold characters in her kitty, Vidya’s first venture in Bollywood goes unnoticed. Lolita in Parineeta is a simple girl whose aim is to keep her family happy. But society is harsh, so are circumstances. And with her best friend deserting her, Lolita has no other option but to stand on her feet. Neither she crumbles, nor she succumbs to her ill-fate; but chooses a practical solution for her financial problems without compromising on love and dignity.
A middle-aged Sulochona has always believed in a happy home; however her interests and hobbies are quite diverse and has never been endorsed by her family especially her twin banker sisters. Tumhari Sulu, is an absolute laughathon, but in no way mindless. The fine streak of the comedian in Vidya has never been explored before; it allows her to be funny, and gives us food for thought. We may laugh at Sulu, but can never forget that she is a woman of flesh and blood with real emotions.