If there is an actress in the Hindi film industry whose entire filmography can be an inspiration and a case study for success, I believe it has to be Vidya Balan. Right from her debut in Parineeta, the actress has been the face of revolutionary cinema that has changed the way actresses and female-led films are perceived in the industry. Having seen where she came from and where she is today, I can’t help but feel proud of her journey, and films like her latest Jalsa, just show that there is yet a lot that she has to offer.
Currently, Vidya is basking in the glory of Jalsa as the film and her nuanced performance as the flawed yet compassionate mother, has hit a chord with the audience and she is receiving praise from all over. But what makes this success special is that this film marks her third consecutive hit on OTT in 3 years. With Shakuntala Devi in 2020, Sherni in 2021 and this year’s Jalsa, Vidya now has a success to her name in each year of the pandemic.
Whenever she has done something on screen, Vidya has always paved a new way that many others go on to follow. Just like starting with some strong and experimental roles in female-led films like Ishqiya, that she followed with The Dirty Picture, Kahaani, Tumhari Sulu and Mission Mangal, among others. She even bagged a National Award for Best Actress for The Dirty Picture.
When it seemed like the pandemic had put an indefinite halt on the film industry with uncertainty looming over, Vidya was one of the first A-league actors to take a step on the OTT medium with Shakuntala Devi. And just like the big screen, she ruled the web as well. The path she paved was followed by others too, and the OTT soon became a ground for strong, female-driven films.
The following year, she had another glowing addition to her illustrious filmography with Sherni where she played a government forest official. Even with a niche subject like wildlife conservation, the actress brought it to the masses and made people took a note of it. The film emerged a big success as well and Vidya again proved her mettle on screen, showing everyone why she is considered one of the best.
The success story has just continued this year with Jalsa. Bringing to screen the human emotions of dilemma, Vidya portrayed a grey character for the first time on screen symbolising the inner conflict rising above the limits of judgement from the society. The actress aced the flawed characteristics of Maya Menon with conviction, managing to strike a chord with the audience.
Even with years of inspirational and iconic work behind her, it always feels like Vidya is just starting and amongst her upcoming films as well, she has a special film with Pratik Gandhi, Ileana D’Cruz and Sendhil Ramamurthy.
17 years down the line, Vidya still not fails to surprise and impress me with her work. On the contrary, my admiration for her has just grown exponentially and it is still on the rise. Vidya has been and will always be an inspiration to many and I jus feel fortunate to have got to witness her craft and journey unravel in front of my eyes. The name Vidya Balan will always be etched in the Indian cinematic history for sure.