When Vidya Balan arrives for a conversation at a suburban lounge, she radiates happiness and contentment. It’s almost one in the afternoon, but she’s looking astonishingly fresh in a printed dress and a one-sided plait. “I told Siddharth (her husband Siddharth Roy Kapur) that I am working this Sunday and he was fine with it. He is also a working person and he understands. But this doesn’t seem like work,” she chuckles, as she reaches for a corn starter and settles down on the couch.
Recalling the time she was first introduced to her husband, she describes the meeting as one that was ‘arranged’ by their common friend, producer-director Karan Johar. And fortunately for both, it was the beginning of a love story from the first meeting itself as she saw a potential husband in Siddharth!
The power couple of Bollywood have now been happily married for over a year. Biting into the starter, Vidya Balan confesses that she has been a vegetarian ‘forever’, while her husband is a hard-core non-vegetarian. “Initially I thought we would have two microwave ovens at home, one to heat the vegetarian food and the other, for non-veg. My sister, however, pointed out that the food aromas don’t linger in the oven, and she was right. Now we have only one,” she grins, as the afternoon unfolds into a discussion of her personal life, and a bit about her film roles too.
The best thing about marriage, according to her, is waking up with Siddharth every morning. It gives her a wonderful and most secure feeling in the world. “Coming from a close knit family, I have always been very secure. I never felt the need of security. But this (marriage) is an absolutely different kind of security, a heavenly feeling of knowing that we both are together.”
Cut to Shaadi Ke Side Effects. The recently released film in which Balan plays a harried housewife, who is mostly thinking of how to deal with her offspring. Adding to her woes, is her husband, also called Siddharth (Farhan Akhtar), who is still a bachelor in his head, wants to go out with the boys, gulp beer and is wrought with frustration about the child.
For Balan, who’s known to use her ‘gut instinct’ for making her career choices, Trisha is one of the more playful roles. Though as always she plays it to perfection, it is quite unlike her other previous characters which were edgy, intense and complex like the ones in Kahaani and The Dirty Picture.
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The actress is quick to acknowledge that good-naturedly, and goes on to reveal what it was about Trisha that worked for her. “I knew it was not an author-backed role and the story was from a male perspective. But I found myself chuckling when reading the script,” she says, her beautiful eyes focused nowhere in particular.
She goes on to reveal that her real life Siddharth was nowhere on the scene at that time, and she had no reference point to play Trisha. But she started shooting for the film two months into her own marriage. “I had not spent enough time with Siddharth to take any reference from my own marriage. The nuances of Trisha’s character were mostly from observing those married around me, including my friends. And then Saket (Saket Chaudhary, the film’s director) told Farhan and me to enact our scenes instinctively. After that he would play it up or down, as required,” she says with a smile.
Now that the film has released, Vidya Balan is pleased with the responses coming her way. “The general consensus of my friends is that Shaadi … is a good film. It makes them laugh a lot and everyone has liked Farhan’s and my chemistry. They are able to relate and enjoy the little ups and downs in their relationship, which happens to any young couple in an urban set-up. In fact we were expecting exacty this kind of a response,” she said.
The conversation shifts to her real marriage which seems to be rocking. Anyone who has seen Roy and her together will understand how truly made-for-each-other they are. She calls Siddharth a very non-fussy and minimalist person. “I know a lot of people around me who change their ways after marriage, but Siddharth is accepting of people as they are. Also, we spent enough time together before we got married. Since we couldn’t go out much, we ended up talking a lot to each other and spending a lot of time together. It really helped as we got to know a lot about each other. Now we love to spend our time watching movies together or going to film festivals together,” beams Vidya Balan.
So does she feel ‘settled’ as people are supposed to, after marriage? Chuckling loudly, Balan recalls the times she would get irritated when people would ask her about settling down. “I would wonder what’s it about ‘settling down’. Now I know, because I really feel settled,” she says, expressing it with her hands.
She even goes on to reveal that she had never imagined herself as a married woman, never had any set ideas how her man should be and and never saw herself with anyone forever. That was until she met Siddharth. “I remember someone had told me how he saw the back of a girl’s head and knew that he wanted to marry her. I rubbished it at that time, but now I would say you instinctively know that this is the person you want to spend your life with. And today it is such a wonderful feeling when you know that someone is there for you.”
The one change, she admits marriage has brought in her, is a sense of calmness. At one time she used to be very restless, pottering around the house and going to bed at four in the morning, now she gets under the covers at midnight. “I still have to have that ‘me’ time in the night. Siddharth is an early sleeper, so I sit in the balcony, either watching the waves or reading a book before I sleep,” she admits.
Balan is quick to clarify that the pair have their fair share of arguments, most of which has to do with the actress’s indecisiveness. “I am very clear when it comes to taking big decisions, but I take a long time when it comes to deciding what I want to eat or whether I want to go for a film or stay at home! Actually I am a home-bird, I love sitting at home and being with family,” she elaborates.
Now that she is married, how has that influenced her while taking up new film assignments. Will she, like Trisha hang up her boots after the birth of a child or will she cut down down on work? “We, as women, have been sold these ideas that motherhood is the most beautiful thing in the world, but all these myths get shattered once you really have a baby and have to look after one. I saw it happen to my sister when she had her twins. The amount of work she put in was exhausting to say the least. But after becoming an aunt, I find babies very beautiful. But having one of my own? Not in the near future. And there’s no question of doing lesser number of films, as I do very few films anyway,” she says firmly.
Balan is looking forward to Bobby Jasoos (she plays a detective in that) in which she has experimented with several disguises, including six major ones. The shooting of the film has wrapped up and the actress is itching to sink her teeth into Sujoy Ghosh’s new project, which will take off in May/June this year. “The film is a thriller and that it has nothing to do with Kahaani. I know Kahaani had the potential to be made into a sequel, but this is a brand new subject. What makes it more interesting is that I am paired opposite an actor like Irrfan. Hamari Adhuri Kahani, my film with Emraan Hashmi is also very intriguing because Mahesh Bhatt is penning a real story after 14 years, which has many references to his personal life,” informs the actress about her upcoming projects.
How does she look back at Ghanchakkar, her movie with Emraan Hashmi, which did not fare well at the box-office? “Frankly we didn’t think that Ghanchakkar would not work. All we knew was that though there was a risk involved, we were trying something different. It’s nice to try different things,” she signs off with a smile that characteristcally accompanies with a twinkle in her eyes.