Though there are innumerable stars in the Bollywood industry who are remembered for their work and looks, the actress Vidya Balan is one of the reigning queens of Bollywood who despite facing several hardships during the initial days of her career, emerged as a star.
She is one of the most versatile actresses of Bollywood who is not only known for her acting but for her bold decisions as well.
The actress has experimented with every kind of role and is said to have defied social norms by accepting her body type and performing great in the industry.
The actress has always managed to amaze the audience whether it is in terms of performing distinct roles or slamming the narrow-mindedness by getting comfortable in her skin!!
So, today we have gathered her filmography which will certainly prove why she is known as the reigning queen and the versatile actress of Bollywood:
Vidya Balan was born on 1 January 1979 in Bombay (present-day Mumbai), to parents of Tamilian descent. Her father, P. R. Balan, is the executive vice-president of Digicable and her mother, Saraswathy Balan, is a homemaker.
Vidya grew up in the suburban neighborhood of Chembur, Mumbai and attended St. Anthony Girls’ High School. From a young age, she aspired to a career in film and was inspired by the work of actors Shabana Azmi and Madhuri Dixit.
At the age of 16, she starred in the first season of Ekta Kapoor’s sitcom Hum Paanch as Radhika, a bespectacled teenager.
She tried working in Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam movies, but she was either replaced or dropped from the movies.
Vidya appeared in approximately 60 television commercials and music videos for Euphoria and Shubha Mudgal; a majority of these were directed by Pradeep Sarkar.
In 2003, Vidya was signed on by Goutam Halder for his independent Bengali drama Bhalo Theko: her first film release. Her portrayal of Anandi, a young woman reminiscing about her past, won her an Anandalok Puraskar for Best Actress.
She entered Bollywood with Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta in 2005 and gave an excellent performance. She played the role of an idealist Lalita who was a Bengali character. Her performance in the film was praised by critics and got her the Filmfare Award for Best Debut.
Following this, she appeared opposite Sanjay Dutt in Rajkumar Hirani’s comedy film Lage Raho Munna Bhai. She portrayed the role of Jhanvi, a radio jockey and the love interest of the protagonist Munna Bhai.
To prepare for her role, she met with a couple of radio jockeys and watched them at work. Her performance was critically well-received, and the film emerged as a major financial success!!
Then the actress went on to perform an array of different roles in films like Guru, Salaam-e-Ishq, Eklavya and Heyy Babyy.
The final film of 2007 was Priyadarshan’s Bhool Bhulaiyaa, a remake of the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu (1993). Vidya featured as Avani Chaturvedi, a woman suffering from a dissociative identity disorder.
With her excellent dance and performance in the movie, she grew as an actress in the industry and the film became a commercial success!!
Then in 2008, Vidya played a supporting role alongside Ajay Devgn in the film Halla Bol. Following this, she co-starred with Shahid Kapoor in Aziz Mirza’s romantic comedy Kismat Konnection.
Both the films performed poorly at the box office and she was criticized for her dressing and her body type.
In 2009 Vidya played the role of an unwed gynecologist struggling with her 12-year-old son’s progeria syndrome, in the R. Balki-directed dramedy Paa.
A critical and commercial success, the film has been described as a major turning point in her career.
Her portrayal garnered her several awards, including a Filmfare Award for Best Actress and a Screen Award for Best Actress.
Vidya followed the success of Paa with the Vishal Bhardwaj-produced Ishqiya (2010), a black comedy film. Vidya’s role was that of the sexually manipulative Krishna Verma.
She described her character as “an epitome of grey” and a departure from the conventional portrayal of women in cinema.
She appeared in Ekta Kapoor’s production The Dirty Picture, a biopic based on the life and death of the controversial Indian actress Silk Smitha. This was the boldest character in the history of Indian cinema.
The actress embraced her body and gave a befitting reply to those who always criticized her body type and her style. She was totally comfortable in her skin. And she raised the mercury levels by baring it all for her role. But at the same time, she was graceful and beautiful.
Vidya reached the peak of her success with her spectacular performance in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani. She totally looked convincing as the pregnant woman, struggling to find her husband in a new city.
Following her brilliant act in Kahaani, the actress was flooded with offers and she was seen in different kinds of roles in films like Ghanchakkar, Shaadi Ke Side Effects.
She then starred in the comedy-drama Bobby Jasoos, in which she played the eponymous role of a Hyderabadi woman aspiring to be a detective. Vidya was drawn to the idea of playing a detective and identified with the character’s struggle to prove herself.
In fact, she looked totally unrecognizable in many frames and people even gave her a penny or two, mistaking her for a real beggar!!
In 2015, Vidya re-teamed with Hashmi in the Mohit Suri-directed romantic drama Hamari Adhuri Kahani and also worked as a cop in the thriller movie Te3n!
She then portrayed the actress Geeta Bali in multiple songs for Ekk Albela, a Marathi language biopic of Bhagwan Dada.
Apart from this, she also played the role of inspiring an ordinary homemaker who balances her family life with her work as a scientist in Mission Mangal.