Balan is back with a bang after almost a year. She was last seen in Bobby Jasoos. Her film Hamari Adhuri Kahani is loosely based on the love story of Mahesh Bhatt’s parents Nanabhai Bhatt, Shirin Mohammad Ali and his stepmother. She shares her experience working on the serious issue of abusive relationship and traditional mindset about marriage. She tells Sangeeta Yadav that it was an amazing experience working with director Mohit Suri and co-stars Emraan Hashmi and Rajkumar Rao
- What was the biggest challenge for you in Hamari Adhuri Kahani?
The character of Vasudha is very difficult to play convincingly on the big screen. She is an educated and independent woman who works as a florist in a hotel and is a single mother. Yet she is very traditional in her thinking. She has been brought up to believe that marriage is the final destination for a woman. There is no escaping from whatsoever comes in the way of marriage. Even though she has not experienced love in her marriage, she never questions it and silently bears an abusive relationship and domestic violence. That, for me was a challenge.
- What were your initial thoughts about your role?
When I asked Bhatt sahab about the real reason why he had selected a serious subject, he told me ‘You will be surprised to know that this is every second Indian woman’s story.’ Being a woman, somewhere, I feel that most of us have been taught the traditional concept of marriage. I don’t think we have completely accepted that marriage is between two people and it’s not just about a man’s rights over the woman.
- Do you know of anyone who has gone through an abusive relationship?
Yes. One of my friends walked out of her six-year marriage and what she revealed to me was shocking. She is not just financially independent but also a very smart and beautiful lady who has got a mind of her own. She was being physically and mentally abused everyday. I asked her what took her so long to get out of her marriage. She said she had no idea that her marriage would not work out. She was the living example to what Bhatt sahab told me that abusive relationship is not limited to uneducated class of people. Well-read people from economically sound backgrounds too have these problems.
- Was there a learning experience that you would like to share?
The subject in itself was a big revelation for me which is why I had to do this film. I could submit to the film because of that. The other learning experience was Mohit Suri’s special ability to humanise and personalise the situation. It was effortless despite the fact that it is a serious subject and has a lot of intensity. I felt like Mohit can handle an actor’s traits very well. It was easy for us to be in that moment without feeling exhausted and drained out.
- How was the experience working with Rajkumar Rao?
It was fabulous working with him. I did like him as an actor in his movies Kai Po Che, Shahid and Love Sex Aur Dhokha. When I got to know that I would be acting opposite him in Hamari Adhuri Kahani, it was a dream come true. He has got great energy. He is the kind of actor who has a lot of intensity which he had to sustain in the movie even between takes. He would retain that mood all day and that I found extremely interesting. He is a very committed actor.
- This is the third time that you are working with Emraan…
It’s nice that we got to work together on the three completely differently films and roles. We both have grown together as actors. We bring out the best in each other which is why everyone talks about our chemistry on the big screen. We share a lot of similarities in terms of our approach to work. Even during this film, in between takes we would be gossiping and keeping the mood alive so that we could maintain and conserve our energy for the required intensity. Having said that, we are not great friends out of our schedules as we don’t really keep in touch. But everytime we meet and work together, the comfort zone grows.
- Do you think this role will get you another award?
I don’t think of awards when I sign a movie. I have been fortunate to have received many but it has never been the goal in my profession. I’m just here to do good movies.
(The article got published in the Pioneer Newspaper – http://www.dailypioneer.com/sunday-edition/sunday-pioneer/backpack/talktime–vidya-balan.html)