Meet the new Aamir Khan!


By Hindustan Times

Mumbai, March 13 -- Vidya Balan's Kahaani (2012) got off to a slow start (R88 lakh on Friday). But business escalated over Saturday and Sunday, and it ended the weekend with R13.83 crore net. Sunil Punjabi, CEO, Cinemax theatres, points out that had the film not released during the board exams, numbers would have been better.

"She's delivered backto-back hits, with No One Killed Jessica (2011), The Dirty Picture (2011) and now Kahaani and is breaking her own records. Today, when it's Vidya on screen, the audience expects a quality film and performance," he says.

The film's director Sujoy Ghosh recalls how many people advised him not to make the film. "I'm grateful to them for trying to dissuade me because it only made me more determined. I wouldn't recommend such obduracy, but it's worked in the case of Kahaani, even if it didn't with Aladdin (2007)," he smiles, giving credit to the 'practical' Miss Balan for believing in his film.

Except for a brief period in her career, when she was trying to fit into the commercial Hindi film heroine mould with films like Heyy Baby (2007) and Kismet Konnection (2008), Vidya's always been ready for a gamble, be it a Parineeta (2005), Guru (2007), Paa (2009), Ishqiya or her last three films. And now it's paid off.

"Kahaani is here to stay," says trade analyst Taran Adarsh, putting it in the same league as previous small-budget superhits like Raaz (2002) and Bheja Fry (2007), and attributing its success to Sujoy's direction and the 'Vidya' factor. "She's the new Khan," he adds.

Given her variety of roles, performances and box-office success, says trade analyst Amod Mehra, Vidya can be called a female Aamir Khan. "I told her that two years ago and that's been proven true," he says. Delhi distributor Sanjay Ghai of Mukta Arts endorses the view: "There can be no male replacement for Aamir, but there was space for a female Aamir that Vidya's filled. She broke the new year jinx with No One Killed Jessica and The Dirty Picture helped us end 2011 on a high note. Now with Kahaani, she's flagged off an unexpected festival in lacklusture March. One more hit, and no heroine will be able to touch her.