Vidya Balan is a legit superstar and one of the most consistently brilliant actors in Bollywood today, but over the years, she's dealt with several issues that plague the film industry. From body-shaming to casting couch, she's had to face it all.
In a recent interview with an entertainment portal, she opened up about the casting couch instance during her initial years in the industry, and said, "One day I remember I was in Chennai and this director came to meet me. I said let’s sit in the coffee shop but he kept insisting that he wants to talk to me in the hotel room. I left the door of my room open and he left within five minutes. He didn't say anything, he didn't make a move or anything, but today... this incident suddenly struck me while talking about this." While something like this never happened to her again, she struggled with other things.
At the beginning of her career, she had a verbal contract to do 12 Malayalam films but she was replaced in each one of them. She did a Tamil film afterwards, and when she was replaced in that as well, her parents came to meet the producer in Chennai because she had "begun to fade." "The producer showed clips from the film to my parents and said, 'Look at her, does she look like a heroine?'"she recalled. This incident left her feeling "like shit", and it took her a long time to recover from it. The actress further said that she didn't look into the mirror for six months because she felt ugly, but eventually, she found it in her heart to forgive the man for tearing her down.
Today, Vidya is a vocal champion for body positivity. She's one of the few actors who have been very open about her struggles with body image, but reaching this point meant having to constantly pick herself up after facing rejections. "This, along with many other instances, made me realise that I have to love myself the way I am. Someone may find you drop dead gorgeous, someone may find you shit ugly, but it's how you feel about yourself that matters the most," she explained.
She called all these incidents "precious learning experiences", and shared another one where she had to stand up for herself. She explained, "There was another Tamil film I was doing, it was all fixed up on the phone. It was not organised in the way that we are used to today. I didn't know any better so I committed to it. I went to Chennai and shot for a day with the director, but I got really uncomfortable with the humour in the film. I don't know if it was a sex comedy but there were double entendre dialogues in it. So I left it because I didn't want to do this kind of work. I was sent a legal notice and everything. And I sent one back and eventually, it got sorted out. But these are all very precious learning experiences."
No one should have to deal with casting couch or such terrible behaviour at any point in their career, but we're glad that Vidya came out stronger than ever from all of this.
Featured image: Instagram
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