Vidya Balan is recognized today as one of the most talented actresses of her generation, who does not hesitate to put herself in danger in the choice of her roles as strong and independent women as in The Dirty Picture.
Born in Kerala, it was during her studies at the University of Mumbai that she began to shoot. After obtaining a degree in sociology, she began her career by shooting video clips, soap operas and commercials before her appearance in feature films. It is difficult to say whether her father's position as vice president of the ETC Channel chain influenced the launch of her career or not. In 1995 she played in the Sitcom Hum Paanch.
The good point is that a majority of the advertisements she shot were made by Pradeep Sarkar who is none other than the director who really put her foot in the stirrup and reveal her to the general public in Parineeta.
Vidya Balan made her debut in the Bengali film Bhalo Theko in 2003, for which she received critical acclaim. The actress wins her first award, the Anandalok Puraskar for the best actress, but it is only two years later that she gains her fame with Parineeta, her first film in Hindi, which earned her the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut and a Filmfare Award for Best Actress.
Vidya plays Lolita, a young woman of idealistic character, but who knows how to make her way to independence in spite of hardships, in love with Shekhar (Saif Ali Khan), the son of an unscrupulous businessman. There are explicit love scenes to crown the whole. It is a hit. The critics acclaim it and the first nominations for the national awards come. She then chains the roles against the current of what one would expect of an actress in Bollywood.
In 2006, she play a radio host who falls in love with Sanjay Dutt, a gangster in Lage Raho Munna Bhai by Rajkumar Hirani, which was her first commercial success. Even in films that have not been hit, she was applauded by critics as for Salaam-e-ishq, in which she was a journalist married with a man not having the same religion as her or Eklavya: The royal guard.
Vidya continues her journey with increasingly advanced roles as single mother in Heyy Babyy, a woman suffering from psychological disorders in Bhool Bhulaiyaa or Halla Bol. The only shadow, let us say, in this demanding filmography is Kismat Connection with Shahid Kapoor. But even for this film, Vidya receives good reviews.
The year 2009 marks a turning point in the career of the actress with the film Paa for which she wins the filmfare for the best actress as well as star screen award in the same category. The film concentrates performances with Vidya in the role of an independent gynecologist, a single mother whose son, interpreted by Amitabh Bachchan, was suffering from progeria or accelerated aging. The boy's father is played by Abhishek Bachchan.
The actress does not deviate from her path and makes sharp choices. In 2010 comes Ishqiya directed by Abhishek Chaubey and produced by Vishal Bhardwaj where she plays a widow of a manipulative gang leader who uses her charms to achieve her ends, where she also met a major success and won the Filmfare Award of Critics' Choice. New awards fall while the sensual and sulphurous image is anchored in the minds.
She follows in 2011 with No One Killed Jessica, that portray her fight against the establishment and corruption to do justice to her sister murdered by a rich heir. Vidya embodied Sabrina Lall, whose sister Jessica Lall was murdered in 1999 because she refused to sell alcohol after shop closure. With the journalist Meera Gaity, who was played by Rani Mukerji, she wants to put the murderer of her sister in prison, which turns out to be very problematic because he is the son of an influential politician. With the support of Sabrina Lall, they were able to realize the project under the UTV Spotboy Banner with the director Raj Kumar Gupta.
Finally, the bomb at the end of 2011, The Dirty Picture, which brings the consecration for her role of the controversial actress Silk Smitha, confined to the roles of fantasies for which she does not hesitate to transform physically. She describes herself in this role as the one that required the most preparation. The daring bet was won and allows the actress to win her first National Award.
It is interesting to note that in 2011, the Indian Film Festival of Australia honored her with a retrospective of her career less than a decade after her debut. In early 2012, she starred in Kahaani, in which she plays a pregnant woman in search of her missing husband. She once again won the Filmfare Award for Best Actress. A Telugu and Tamil version called Anaamika and Nee Enge En Anbe came to the cinema two years later.
As for her private life, the actress is rather discreet but she married in December 2012 with Siddharth Roy Kapur who is none other than the CEO of UTV Motion Pictures.
She made several cameos in 2013, notably in the song celebrating the 100th anniversary of Indian cinema, Apna Bombay Talkies in the credits of the film Bombay Talkies. Vidya was a member of the jury of the 66th Cannes Film Festival that year, chaired by Steven Spielberg.
In 2014, she shows up in Shaadi Ke Side Effects alongside Farhan Akhtar, followed by Bobby Jasoos, a police comedy in which she was an ambitious detective. On March 8, 2014, Vidya presented a special program for Women's Day, No More Kamzor, in which she collected testimonies from women who are fighting against the society.
In the fourth collaboration with Emraan Hashmi, Balan was seen in Mahesh Bhatt's romantic drama film Hamari Adhuri Kahani in 2015 based on the love story of Bhatt's parents. Her next projects included Te3n with Amitabh Bachchan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Begum Jaan and Tumhari Sulu.