Vidya has an old world charm to her, not because she dresses in Indian style and has a very Indian look. So many others do. No, it’s not just that. But because, she is comfortable being her. Comfortable in that look. Might be. I don’t know. But there certainly is an easy, laidback appeal to her. She oozes those very vibes which I relate to the golden era. I can very well imagine her there. Though, then she would have an added dimension to her. That of reality cinema. And of confidence too. I am not saying that yesteryear actors lacked confidence. But most of the time, the characters did. To qualify as an ideal heroine our actresses had to be portrayed as the saccharine sweet-doormat-respecting outlandish values-ever suffering woman who always needed a man to return back to.
Meena Kumari was among the counted few who would be the sole hero in her films, driving the success through her screen presence. True, she is the foremost winner for the self-sacrificing Bhartiya naari who would let all and sundry trample over her. But then, in her defence, let me remind that those were the norms of the days. Still, she managed to carve a place for herself despite doing only a handful of films with the reigning triumvirate of the yesteryears. In other words, she was the only one who succeeded without a ‘big’ hero opposite her, carried films on her able shoulders and drove crowds to the theatres with her star power.
Vidya does something similar today. She didn’t need the ‘three-khans’ to reach where she is today. Instead, she took a step further and announced that the heroes could use ‘Balan’ after their names if they please. True, she started with a bang in Hindi films but few are aware that she had a trail of a failure behind her. After that bang came the low phase of her career where she was dissected and discussed, criticised and laughed upon – but for things as trivial as her dressing sense. For a film industry with a history spanning more than 75 years and countless legends, what matters today is the ‘look’ of an actor, that too, out of films! A Katrina Kaif demands more attention than a Vidya Balan. What a progress!
I digress. Vidya bounced back and this time she did films where she belonged to and which respected her as an actor. No more pretentions. She did what she is best at – acting. And, the world is at her feet. A diva is born.
And I continue with my musings...