BEHIND THE SILVER SCREEN
what Silk is’
Vidya Balan tells
Patcy N what
to take up
The Dirty Picture
When Vidya Balan burst onto the silver screen with Parineeta in 2005, many had her pegged as a demure actress. But in a film industry that is notorious for typecasting its actors, she shattered the mould.
Along with the usual Bollywood heroine in full-blown
commercial films (Heyy Babyy), she played the mother of a
teenager (Paa) and even a sly temptress (Ishqiya). She has
done it again with The Dirty Picture, which releases on
December 2 (the birth anniversary of Silk Smitha — the
actress who ‘inspired’ the film).
Balan speaks to India Abroad about the risk of taking up
such a role, the madness that makes her love inhabiting
other people’s lives, her co-stars and, of course, marriage.
Is the film based on Silk Smitha’s life?
My character is inspired by Silk Smitha, not based on her
life. Everybody thinks this film is based on Silk Smitha’s life,
but it is not. This is a story of a dancing star. In the 1990s
dancing stars were very popular, every film had at least one
dancing star. Silk was one of the most popular. She was at
the top in her times, so it was easy to get inspired by her. She
was a South Indian dancing girl, who was nationally
famous, so we have named the character Silk too. There
were many after her like Polyester Padmini, Disco Shanti,
Nylex Nalini, Rayon Revathi, but no one knows them.
Everyone knew Silk. She was the first of her kind.
The character in the film is fearless. She has no restraint,
(she is) carefree, and (a) colorful girl. Some may feel she is
shameless, but I don’t think she is. I think she is a girl who
wants to enjoy life at every opportunity. She does not have
double standards. Whatever she feels she says it, whatever
she wants to do she does it, whether others like it or not. She
has realized that till the time she is not happy she can’t make
anyone happy. She is child-like. She does not think before
saying anything, that fearlessness is what Silk is.