Xfinity Chats with Vidya Balan, Three-Time IIFA Award Winner for Best Actress

Bollywood Actress Vidya Balan. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

By Ritu Mediratta, March 27, 2014

On March 11, 2014, Xfinity had the absolute pleasure of interviewing one of the most versatile and talented Bollywood actresses, Vidya Balan. Balan who was in town promoting the much-anticipated International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, spoke with Xfinity about her bold film journey, the growing emphasis on women in Indian films and the importance of IFFA.

IIFA has always been viewed as a platform to bridge the gap between the Indian film industry and the international audience and is the only show that enables the Indian cinema to be portrayed on a global platform.  This year its being hosted for the first time in the United States of America, what message would you like to give to all your fans in the US who will be traveling from different parts of the country to be part of IFFA and see you up close?

VB: Having travelled to a number of exotic locations, IIFA has made its mark on the map, educating the world about Indian cinema. I am very pleased to be part of IIFA’s landmark journey, as they venture into the US, in Tampa Bay. It was high time, really. I don’t know what has taken so long for IFFA to debut in America.  IIFA introduces and familiarizes the world with Indian cinema.  It’s very heartening to see local American people come out and support us. This is why America is the place to be.”

You have won the IFFA award in the Best Actress category three times for your movies “Kahaani”, “The Dirty Picture” and “Paa.”  What has been the outcome of this recognition on your career and how has your journey been so far? Who would you predict on winning the Best Actress award this year and why?

VB: IFFA has always been special for me and it provided me the honor of winning the best actress award three times.  Also IFFA is very dear to my heart since I started my career with IFFA. My first movie, “Parineeta” was premiered at IFFA in Amsterdam.  As for my journey, I feel the scale is getting larger and larger. The types of scripts that are being written have also come a long way.

I think Deepika Padukone deserves the award this year for IFFA Best Actress award category. It was really interesting to watch her in different roles this year in her movies “Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela,” “Chennai Express” and “Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani.”

Social empowerment of women is one of the most talked about issues in India and recently I feel that the filmmakers have not lagged behind – in the past 2 years they have reinforced this concept with their stories on celluloid.  Women Centric Hindi movies seems to be Bollywood’s latest flavor with movies like “Kahaani,” “Nobody Killed Jessica” and “The Dirty Picture.” In all three you played the leading role and obtained several honors/awards.  What are your thoughts on Indian Cinema’s recent focus on narratives with strong female characters? 

VB: I normally take a long time to read the script before deciding to do the movie. I am glad these strong women centric scripts are now being written.  I think some had the idea that Hindi films were obscure or all a one-off spectacle.  I think they are now starting to see that Hindi cinema has far more to offer.

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You have always done bold roles and have received recognition. Where do you get the courage to do these bold roles considering they may not work in the box office?

VB: The courage comes from a hunger that we actors and actresses have.  It’s a great time for Hindi Cinema especially for women.  For me the definition of an actress is to live different people’s lives and I get to do those types of roles and I am loving it.

During the IFFA weekend in Tampa this year you will be conducting an acting workshop with none other than Kevin Spacey.

VB: I am excited to be part of the IIFA Master Class this year and look forward to engaging with my fans in the US. Most importantly I am looking forward to the IFFA awards.

Be sure to check out the coverage of 2013 IFFA awards on Star Plus on March 30th where the best actress trophy was won by Vidya Balan for her movie “Kahaani” and tune in to the IFFA Awards 2014 in May Star India Plus.

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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