Vidya P. Balan was born on the 1st of January, 1978. She comes from a Tamilian Iyer Brahmin family. Her father is P. R. Balan who is the Vice President of ETC Channel and mother is Saraswathy Balan who is a homemaker. She was born in Ottapalam in the Palakkad district of Kerala. She has one sibling, an elder sister, Priya.
Vidya with her Parents
Vidya with her sister Priya
Though Vidya is a Tamilian, she is multilingual and is comfortable speaking in Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, English, Marathi and Bengali as well. Her schooling was from the St. Anthony Girls’ High School in Chembur, Mumbai. She did her graduation from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai in Sociology. It was while she was pursuing her past graduation degree in Sociology from Mumbai University, that she got her first break.
She began with two television shows that included her stint as the geeky Radhika Mathur in the popular sitcom Hum Paanch and Ashok Pandit’s Hanste Khelte. She went on to act in three music videos for Euphoria, Shubha Mudgal and Pankaj Udhas and made people sit up and notice her even in those short videos. She also did many commercials during this time including the memorable Surf Excel one.
In Hum Paanch
Vidya got offers in some regional films of the South which for some reason or other did not make it to the big screen.Her film debut was in the hit Bengali Film Bhalo Theko in 2003.
In Bhalo Theko
It was only in her first Hindi film Parineeta which was released in 2005, that the country woke up to the acting powerhouse that was Vidya Balan. The movie was an adaptation of of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s book of the same name. Her role as Lalita got her the Filmfare Best Debut Award.
She continued to act in hit films including in one of the Lage Raho Munnabhai series, Heyy Babyy and Bhool Bhulaiyaa. Some of her movies faced failure too at the box office.
In Bhool Bhulaiyaa
Her real winning streak started in 2009 when she acted in some movies that received not only critical acclaim; it received the stamp of approval from the public too. These movies included Paa in 2009. Vidya took up the challenge of playing an unwed mother to no less than Amitabh Bachchan. Her quiet dignity and steely determination along with her vulnerable love for her son was eloquently played by Vidya.
Her outing as a bold rustic woman in the 2010 film Ishqiya received wide appreciation. Her risqué role was played out so well that she made her character as a scheming woman, absolutely believable.
Her subtle playing of Jessica’s sister, Sabrina in the 2011 film, No One Killed Jessica was a lesson in how to be deglamorised and yet capture the audience’s attention. She held her own against another powerful actress, Rani Mukherjee in the movie and stood tall.
In No One Killed Jessica
The Dirty Picture released in 2011 showed everyone that an actress can carry a film on her slender shoulders. People who expected salacious details were blown away by Vidya’s no-holds-barred depiction of the sultry real life actress Silk Smita. She put on weight and heaved her bosom suggestively just to get her nuances right. She made it acceptable for women to celebrate their voluptuousness. She has received numerous best actress awards for this movie.
In The Dirty Picture
Kahaani is a movie wherein Vidya proved conclusively that you don’t need the crutch of false glamour to sell a movie to the public. The script of the movie and her take as Vidya Bagchi, the main protagonist of the story has drawn widespread acclaim and made the movie a big hit.
Vidya received the National Best Actress Award for the film The Dirty Picture in 2012 from Vice President Hamid Ansari.
With the National Award
Vidya Balan has come a long way from her fashion disaster days. Her attempts to dress up as a regular mainstream actress was widely criticized for her disastrous fashion choices; it seemed she could do nothing right and she was even at the receiving end of jokes against her at an awards ceremony. All this ended when the famous designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee took her in hand and dressed her in clothes that showcased her and gave her an individual identity distinct from all the other regular heroines.
In Heyy Babyy
These days Vidya Balan is on top of the world; her fans love her, her movies are turning hits and she is married to UTV honcho Siddharth Roy Kapur.
Vidya and Siddharth Roy Kapur