By Swati R. Chaudhary, Indo-Asian News Service
Mumbai, Sep 23 (IANS) From a sari clad woman in her debut vehicle "Parineeta" to a hip radio jockey in "Lage Raho Munna Bhai", it has been quite a transition for Vidya Balan.
Vidya gives credit to her costume designer Sheena Parekh for her glamorous look in "Lage Raho Munna Bhai", reports Bollywood Trade.
"I want to be able to portray different images. I want to be versatile and don't want to restrict myself to any particular genre.
"Sheena asserted that I could look perfect in western clothes too. Personally, I am more comfortable in this look and I am very much like this in real life too."
She bowled over her fans with her stunning performance as RJ Jhanvi in "Lage Raho.."
However, she says, she never expected "Parineeta", which was directed by her mentor Pradeep Sarkar, to receive such an overwhelming response.
"I'm glad I got an opportunity to be a part of such a great film, that too at the very onset of my career. I hadn't expected 'Parineeta' to be such a huge hit. I gave it my best shot and I'm grateful to god that it happened to me. (Laughs) And now to top it all, I have 'Lage Raho...'."
Vidya and Sarkar go back a long way.
"I've done around 90 ads out of which I did four to five with him. I've also done three music videos with him (Euphoria, Shubha Mudgal and Pankaj Udhas). He is truly my mentor and I really look up to him. He had faith in me and that reinforced my faith."
She describes Vidhu Vinod Chopra as her extended family.
"I respect him and we share this warmth and affection. I know if I ever need him, he'll always be there."
When asked about her co-stars Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan, she said: "I'm fortunate I started off with great actors like Sanjay and Saif. They are lovely human beings too. Saif prepares for his role and probably Sanjay doesn't but both of them are very focused and extremely natural. Sanjay is versatile and effortless I feel. I've learnt a great deal from both of them."
She talks more enthusiastically about Abhishek Bachchan with whom she is working in Mani Ratnam's "Guru".
"It was a lovely experience. Abhishek is a live wire and I had a blast shooting with him. We were laughing and pulling pranks on each other."
Talking about Aishwarya, she said: "Aishwarya is by far the most dignified woman I've ever met in my life. She is humble to the core. I play a small but an important role in the film."
Right now Vidya is working in Nikhil Advani's "Salaam-e-Ishq".
"It is not yet complete and will release in January. It is the story of six couples from different walks of life. Nikhil and his group are a bunch of young, energetic people. I had great fun shooting with them. I am paired opposite John Abraham. We were constantly laughing and teasing people. He is a great co-star. I guess this probably incited the vile rumours."
So do they affect you?
"Not at all! There's no truth in it. John and I just laughed about it. People who matter to me know the truth so I really don't care. The day I'm seeing someone, I'll happily announce it to the world."
Apart from "Salaam-e-Ishq", Vidya is working in "Eklavya", "Hey Baby" and "Chandramukhi".
"'Eklavya' is Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. I'm playing the female lead in the film. I'm paired opposite Saif Ali Khan. It'll release some time in January.
"We haven't started shooting for 'Hey Baby' so it's too premature to talk about it right now. It also stars Akshay Kumar, Riteish Deshmukh and Fardeen Khan.
"As for 'Chandramukhi', I'm playing a normal girl and I have a classical number in the film."
So far Vidya has played a sweet and loving girl but has no apprehension about accepting negative roles.
"If I'm convinced I'll certainly do it. Moreover, I have not set any limitations or parameters. So, it's not about positive or negative, I just want to play good characters onscreen.
"I am here to do good work. My agenda is to enjoy my work and go home feeling satisfied with my day's work. Every role that I do should be someone else's dream role."