Balan a trailblazer for Indian women
Bollywood actress Vidya Balan (right) smiles after receiving an award for the best performance in a leading role from actor Abhishek Bachchan at the 14th annual International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards show in Macau July 6, 2013. (REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)
Vidya Balan has made a career out of shattering stereotypes and the 36-year-old actress has done it once again in embracing the role of female detective Bobby Jasoos. Her performance in the upcoming film is one that seemly drives the final nail in the coffin of the exclusively machismo roles Bollywood has portrayed for decades.
While fictional figures like Stacy Sheridan, Olivia Benson, and Kate Beckett, among others, have been entertainment staples of TV crime dramas in North America, in India their counterparts have traditionally been relegated to role of love interest or sidekick.
As the directorial debut of Samar Shaikh, Bobby Jasoos is a ‘dramedy’ that promises audiences a one-of-a-kind experience thanks to its leading lady.
"I never imagined that someone will make a film about a female detective,” Balan told Press Trust of India, the country’s largest news agency. “It was an exciting idea, and I connected to the story instinctively. It is the least time I have ever taken to say yes to a story."
Since the genre was traditionally dominated by men Balan had no reference point to go on. As such, it was largely up to her to determine how to play the role. However, she was eager to embrace the challenge and credited changing attitudes in Bollywood for the opportunity.
“I feel fortunate to be working in Hindi cinema when such scripts are being written. I once read the line 'be the change you want to be in the world' and I try to live by that. I am always up for challenges."
As the protagonist of Ishqiya, The Dirty Picture and Kahaani, for Balan the script’s the thing.
"I react more to scripts and what directors inspire in me. Once I say yes to a film I jump into it headlong so I need to entrust myself to the director,” she said. “If a director inspires that trust then I am game. Every film is a new experience.”
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