Portrayal of women in films still stereotypical: Vidya

Last Updated 22 June 2014, 09:09 IST

National-award winning actress Vidya Balan feels that portrayal of women in films is still stereotypical to a great extent.

With films like 'Parineeta', 'Paa', 'The Dirty Picture', 'Kahaani' and now 'Bobby Jassos' to her credit, Vidya acknowledged efforts are being done by some filmmakers to break the mould.

"I think it (portrayal of actresses) is changing and it will keep changing for a while. Change is never absolute but we have definitely taken a few baby steps towards the change (in portrayal of actresses in films)," Vidya told PTI in an interview.

She said only five per cent portrayals are trying to do something new and break away from the convention.

"I think 95 per cent of the portrayal is still very stereotypical and only five per cent portrayals are attempting something different, more realistic like 'Bobby' (her film 'Bobby Jassos')," the actress said.

Vidya, 36, said that her character in 'Bobby Jasoos' was more realistic and not conventional.

"It is not like that I have to be serious, sharp and stylish for being a detective. I am a real girl and untrained, I am not like Sherlock Holmes and any of his ilk," she added.

"In Bobby's case there is certain simplicity and innocence which I am learning along the way and is very real. So I think the portrayals are getting more interesting because they are getting realistic but they are just five per cent of the kind of films that are getting made," the actress said.

Vidya said she opted for out-of-box films primarily because she got bored doing same stuff again on screen and hence looks for something unusual before giving her nod for a project.

"I am just someone who gets bored easily so I need to do different things. I lose interest beyond a point otherwise. As an actor one gets to live the life of different people on screen... And today I am getting more variety to do it (different roles).

"In the past seven years the variety of roles have started expanding and I am picking up the best of the opportunities that are coming my way. I am enjoying this variety and it keeps me interested," Vidya said.

When asked why other actresses are not attempting out-of-box roles much, Vidya quipped, "May be they don't get bored easily. I just get very fidgety."

Vidya said that her fellow actress Kangna Ranaut was doing something different which is commendable.

"I think Kangana is doing really something different and nice work. Unfortunately, I haven't seen 'Queen' but I heard she is unbelievable.

"I always had liking for Kangana. I remember watching 'Fashion' and I think she was incredible in the film. I think she is extremely bold and brave person and that is why she is like that in her films too. It is interesting to see the kind of work she is doing," Vidya said.

Vidya also said that disparity in remuneration between male and female actors exists and it might take some time to change the things.

"Remuneration has changed but if you compare it with what the men get it is still very different. But I would say let's not compare it because just five per cent of these films are being made. I think we will get our due... We are slowly moving towards that," Vidya said.

The actress feels that female actors need to be paid better in at least typical commercial films as they also contribute to the success of such movies.

"I think in films where the so called typically commercial films women need to get paid better because they also contribute towards the success of the film. But for some reason there I think there is most disparity," she said.

Vidya is quite excited about 'Bobby Jassos' where she plays the role of a detective.
To slip into the character on screen, Vidya watched 'Karamchand' (popular detective series of yesteryears), TV shows, some films, and also read books.

"I called up some detective agencies and asked them how they approach cases before I began shooting. I told them about a fake case and wanted to know what were the questions that they ask... That was the amount of referencing that I did for this film," the actress said.

'Bobby Jasoos' celebrates the aspiration of Bobby, who wants to become the number one detective.

"Detective films are exciting and thrilling but it ('Bobby Jassos') is a humane story of a girl from a small mohala (area) of Hyderabad and her dream is to become a known detective in her mohala. It is a simple aspirational story. It is not that the girl is expecting to become famous and I found this refreshing," Vidya said.

Vidya has donned 12 different looks in the film. The makers spent a lot of time on getting different and unique looks.

"Some of the disguises required me to look closer to Bobby, some were completely different so the male disguises came in. We had looks of peon, astrologer, beggar, maulavi , producer, etc. We put in a lot of effort for the looks but it was very enjoyable. I think it is the biggest high for any actor," she added.

The toughest disguise for Vidya was that of a maulavi and the easiest was of astrologer.

"The maulavi look was not tough per se but I was bit awkward initially because something was applied near my nose to make it look wider. I had to run a lot and take a deep breath. I felt it will go in, then there are eyebrows, a beard and a moustache. I think there were too many things on me. Amongst all of them it wasn't tough but it was challenging. The most fun was of jyotishi (astrologer) who is half bald, with a moustache and has dirty teeth.

"I enjoyed that because I found myself funny.. I kept looking at myself and burst out laughing," she said.

It was relatively easy for Vidya to shoot on the streets with so many disguises as noboby, including her family members and even her husband Siddharth Roy Kapur, failing to recognise her.

Directed by Samar Shaikh and produced by Dia Mirza and Sahil Sangha, the film is slated to release on July 4.

(Published 22 June 2014, 09:09 IST)

Follow us on