Mumbai: If there was one film that changed Vidya Balan’s outlook towards life, it was The Dirty Picture. And now, as Vidya comes up with Tumhari Sulu next, she reflects on how far she has come. She says, “I have changed a little since I did The Dirty Picture. I was not in favour of doing the suicide scene at the end of the film. I actually had an argument with Milan Luthria (the director) about whether the character should commit suicide at all. He was able to convince me, so I went ahead with it. I think that she could have emerged stronger. So now, I have come to terms with dealing with darkness. I understand that we represent stuff that happens in society so we have to portray it ably on the screen, even it’s darker aspects,” states Vidya, who still admits to having an aversion to horror and gore of any kind, though she was able to explore darker characters for films like Ghanchakkar.
The issue of women’s exploitation is a burning topic world over, especially when connected to the film industry. Ask Vidya her opinion on the matter and she says, “Personally, I never had to face anything of this sort of exploitation. I was probably lucky because of my middle-class upbringing. If I ever thought that something was fishy, I immediately left. As for the movie industry, I know that there’s a tag that it’s a big bad world but really, no one forces anyone to compromise. If both parties agree, then it’s a whole other ball game.”
However, Vidya also believes that it is time for women to stand up for themselves. “It is high time that we girls speak up and say, ‘It’s not okay.’ For instance, if a woman has nice legs, it does not follow that a man will pass a comment about it. And if such a comment is passed, then the woman should stand up and say that they’re not okay with it. I know that women often stay silent about harassment because they think it’s safer, but they need to take a stand. Hollywood actresses coming out and speaking about their harassment is a really positive and powerful step towards that aim,” she states.