Vidya Balan

  • Actor, Voice

Jan 01, 1978  in Palakkad, Kerala, India

Also Known as: Vidhi, Vidya P. Balan

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Vidya Balan is an Indian film actress who has empowered cinema by breaking the barrier of picturesque heroines and carving a niche of her own. The actor, who believes in letting her work do all the talking, has been part of several hit movies like Parineeta (2005), Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006), Guru (2007), the critically acclaimed Paa (2009), The Dirty Picture (2011), and Kahaani (2012). The actress started acting at a very young age; she made her foray into acting with the popular TV show Hum Paanch. Be it her role in the TV series or in her Bollywood debut movie Parineeta, Vidya has never shied away from bringing life and energy into her characters. She was conferred with the coveted Padma Shri Award by the Government of India in 2014.

Early Life
Born on January 1st, 1978 to P. R. Balan, chief mentor at MFA Consulting Private Limited, and Saraswathy Balan, a homemaker, in Palakkad district of Kerala. She grew up with her elder sister Priya Balan, who works in the field of advertising. Vidya completed her studies from St. Anthony Girls` High School in Chembur, Mumbai. In her schooling days, she landed a role in Hum Paanch, a sitcom produced by Ekta Kapoor, for the role of Radhika. She completed her further studies by attaining a bachelors degree in sociology from St. Xavier`s College, Mumbai.

Personal Life
In her early years of acting, she was rumored to be in a relationship with her Kismat Konnection co-star Shahid Kapoor. On December 14th, 2012, she tied the knot with Siddharth Roy Kapur, brother of actor Aditya Roy Kapur and the CEO of UTV Motion Pictures.

Movie Career
Vidya aspired to be an actor from a very early age and she was inspired by the work of actresses like Shabana Azmi and Madhuri Dixit. Vidya wanted to make a career in Bollywood and after struggling in the Malayalam and Tamil film industry, she debuted as an actor in an independent Bengali film Bhalo Theko in 2003. The film, based on Leena Gangopadhaya`s novel Janmdin, was directed by Goutam Halder. Vidya played the character of Anandi, for which she won the Anandalok Best Actress Award.

Her Hindi film debut was with Pradeep Sarkar`s Parineeta co-starring Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, and Raima Sen. The film released in 2005 and, for her stellar performance in the movie as an idealist Lolita, Vidya won her maiden Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut and the Guild Award for Best Female Debut.

In 2006, Vidya shared the screen with Sanjay Dutt in Rajkumar Hirani`s comedy film Lage Raho Munna Bhai. The film, as well as her performance as Janhavi, a radio jockey, was well-received by the critics. To prepare for her role in the movie, Vidya Balan used to visit various radio stations and observe how the RJs work. Upon its release, the film emerged as one of the highest-grossing films of the year, collecting a total of INR 119 crore at the box office and emerged as a blockbuster hit.

The following year, Vidya was seen in Mani Ratnam`s Guru in a supporting role, portraying the role of a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis. The film, starring Mithun Chakraborty, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, and R. Madhavan, worked well at the box-office and was a critical hit. In the same year, she starred in Vidhu Vinod Chopra`s Eklavya: The Royal Guard, and Sajid Khan`s Heyy Babyy. Her last film for the year 2007 was Priyadarshan`s Bhool Bhulaiyaa, co-starring Akshay Kumar. The comedy-horror, which is remake of the 1993 Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu, established Vidya as an outstanding actress. Playing the character of Avani Chaturvedi, a woman suffering from dissociative identity disorder, Vidya won a nomination at the Filmfare Awards for the Best Actress.

In 2009, Vidya starred in R. Balki`s critically acclaimed Paa, alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, where she played the role of an unwed gynecologist who takes care of her 12-year-old son Auro, suffering from progeria syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. The film was a turning point in Balan`s career, it earned her a lot of accolades and Balan won her first Filmfare Award for Best Actress.

Vidya, following the success of Paa, won many awards for her role in the Vishal Bhardwaj produced Ishqiya. With co-stars Naseeruddin Shah, Arshad Warsi, and Salman Shahid, Vidya received critical acclaim for her portrayal of the female protagonist and bagged the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actress. Her charisma as an actor in her own skin didn`t fail to mesmerize the audience when she played Sabrina Lal in the biographical thriller No One Killed Jessica in 2011. The film opened to positive reviews and was a hit at the box-office. Vidya, who played Jessica Lal`s sister, was praised for her simple yet beautiful performance by the critics.

Her next release was Milan Luthria`s The Dirty Picture, a biopic where she played the role of the south Indian actress, Silk Smitha. The film grossed a total of 114 crore INR and was declared a blockbuster hit. Vidya received the National Film Award for Best Actress for her splendid performance in the film. She also won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress, IIFA Award for Best Actress, and Screen Award for Best Actress.

Success continued to favour the actress as she aced the role of Vidya Bagchi in Sujoy Ghosh`s Kahaani, which released in 2012. The film was a run away hit, grossing 104 crore INR at the box-office. The film, as well as Vidya`s performance, was much appreciated by the critics and audiences alike. Her stellar performance in the movie won her the Filmfare Award, IIFA Award, and Screen Award for Best Actress.

In the subsequent years, Vidya appeared in Ghanchakkar (2013) opposite Emraa Hashmi and Shaadi Ke Side Effects (2014) with Farhan Akhtar. Both the films were average hits at the box-office. Her next movie Bobby Jasoos (2014), where Vidya played the role of an aspiring detective, garnered good reviews for her performance, but the movie was a flop at the box-office.

In 2016, Vidya was seen in the mystery thriller Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh, which, unlike its predecessor, opened to mixed reviews. However, the actress earned yet another Filmfare Award nomination for her work in the movie. In the following year, she portrayed the titular roles in the period drama Begum Jaan (2017) and the comedy-drama Tumhari Sulu (2017). The former opened to mixed reviews and turned out to be an average grosser at the box office, while Tumhari Sulu went on to be a critical and commercial success. Vidya also won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress for her performance as the lively homemaker-turned-rj.

In 2019, the actress debuted in Telugu cinema with the biographical drama NTR: Kathanayakudu, which chronicled the life and times of yesteryear Tollywood actor and politician N.T. Rama Rao. Besides this, she is also set to appear in the Bollywood space film Mission Mangal (2019) alongside Akshay Kumar. Her other releases include Shakuntala Devi (2020).