From Dirty Picture to Padma Shri – Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan – The name quite reminds you of the films Kahaani and The Dirty Picture. Yes, this South Indian girl with roots from Palakkad had come a long way in Indian Cinema. Balan, who started off playing roles in telly like Radhika of Hum Paanch, did not find it easy to get to where she stands right now. A spree of hits after a struggle of 15 years has its success story.

Chitramala takes a look at the Vidya Balan uprising – from The Dirty Picture to The Padma Shri – Indeed!!


Parineeta (2005)

Easily that stepping stone into doing meaningful roles in Bollywood – Parineeta saw Vidya portraying a strong female protagonist, going head to head with her co-star Saif Ali Khan. This was the time of baseless skin shows and anorexic size zero figures – Vidya with her full body and complete talent got the attention worldwide as ‘Lalitha’.

What more, the lady walked away with Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut that year, apart from being nominated for Filmfare Best Actress!

Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006)

The film may not have struck the same impulse as the first one, Munnabhai MBBS, but the critics saw through RJ Jhanvi, played by Balan. Vidya starred opposite Sanjay Dutt in an endearing role, getting praises for her performance in the movie. This started the beginning of a new era among the heroines called Vidya Balan. The other leading women have just begun to get cold feet with such competition. If you thought, this was it, then read on.

Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007)

Balan starred as the woman possessed by a spirit of a dancer in this remake of South super hit, Chandramukhi. The role that was originally played by actress Jyothika was a challenging one to be showcased in Hindi. Vidya pulled it off with ease, sending some chill down the spine to many sitting in the theaters. She was nominated once again for Filmfare Best Actress after Parineeta for this movie.

Paa (2009)

A landmark in her own career, Paa got Vidya a whole new reputation as an actress with depth. Playing the role of a mother to a child suffering with a rare condition called progeria required guts, instensity and strong hold – all of which were showered in abundance by Balan. The movie won Vidya Balan her Filmfare Award for Best Actress for the first time, setting a new trend of method acting for the leading ladies.

Ishqiya (2010)

No looking back thereafter. Vidya followed her success meter with another mindblowing performance the very next year. Ishqiya, that released in 2010, saw Vidya playing the role of Krishna, a raw, rustic role with great detail. The role was so magnanimous that, Vidya looked like the only fit in the existing talent to carry off such a protagonist.

Once again, Balan walked away with Filmfare – this time Critics Award for Best Acctress and Nominated Best Actress.

No One Killed Jessica (2011)

Vidya played Sabrina Lal, sister of Jessica Lal who gets shot by a rich brat when she refuses to pour him a drink. The story, inspired from the real life incident in Delhi, saw Vidya play a strong character fighting for the justice in favour of her late sister. Though film did not fare well at the Box Office, Vidya was well remembered for her role.

The Dirty Picture (2011)

Once again, a milestone of sorts! Vidya Balan shed her inhibitions like never before to play the reel character inspired from the real life ex diva of South, Silk Smitha. The way Vidya dazzled in the role just blew the heads off the critics and the audiences alike. There was vulgarity with meaning, and there was a character with goods to back it up. Vidya Balan officially arrived in the top league of Bollywood with The Dirty Picture. The actress walked away with National Film Award for Best Actress and Filmfare Award for Best Actress – all in one go, amazing the Indian movie lovers.

Kahaani (2012)

Perhaps one of the most interesting characters ever played in the history of Indian Cinema, Vidya Balan stood out to be the coveted one to carry off ‘Vidya Venkatesan Bagchi’, who arrives in Kolkata with a mission. The story that surprises the audience till the end saw Vidya playing her role in full throttle. She simple shone like a powerful female protagonist, who was lost in the present Indian Cinema, carrying off the entire movie on her shoulders alone.

The film fetched her Filmfare Award for Best Actress once again, proving that size doesn’t matter when there is talent – heaps of it!!

The versatile actress of Indian Cinema will soon be seen in her next film, Bobby Jasoos, where she plays the role of a beggar out of many! Stay tuned!!

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