'When you truly love someone, sometimes you become insane'
Innocence and banked passion. Heartbroken, yes. Down and out, no. Vidya Balan opens up as never before to The Man's Priyanka Jain.
"Passionate is the one word you could use to describe me", says Vidya Balan dressed in an elegant red and maroon Sabyasachi salwaar kameez. A romantic to the core some of her movies include Parineeta, Munnabhai, Salaam-e-ishq, Guru, Eklavya, Heyy Babyy, Halla Bol, Bhool Bhulaiya, Kismet Konnection and most recently Paa. Critics and audiences have loved her work with some even saying her latest film Paa should have been called Maa due to her wonderful performance in it.
Quoting a dialogue from her forthcoming film Ishqiya, we ask her 'Ishq mein sab kuch bewajah hota hai'? "Everything is fair in love and war," she says. "In love, there are no reasons. Rationality goes for a toss. When you truly love someone, sometimes you become insane, you become possessive and do mad things. And when that person hurts you, it makes you do worse. I think there was a time when I got really possessive. I can't imagine myself asking those questions today. I was naive and innocent and wanted answers for everything. I wanted a call every five minutes," she laughs.
Looking at my rather amused expression she admits, "Yes, I have done that! I would become this stubborn little child and that was painful to my partner and me. Thank God, I've grown up now." Conversely, she herself does not like possessiveness. "I do not take it well at all. I don't like being asked questions about my whereabouts, etc. I don't mind sharing information as long as I am not asked anything."
Another amusing and hard-hitting dialogue from Ishqiya goes like this, 'Tumhara ishq ishq aur humara ishq sex' to which she expands, "Women think feelings are a female bastion and that men operate without them while men think women are too obsessed with emotions. If an ex-boyfriend is seeing someone, it's convenient to say it must be about sex. Women want to believe that love is what they alone feel. So when in the promo Arshad tells Naseer your feelings are love, mine become sex, it sounds funny. Men compartmentalise easily.
Text: Priyanka Jain / The Man
Photosgraphs: Rakesh Shreshtha
Styling and co-ordination: Vikram Phadnis
Hair: Mansi Sonanis
Make-up: Shreyas Mhatre
Image: Vidya Balan
'Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all'
I know women say we are just having fun. Frankly, they are fooling themselves because in the end they do get emotionally attached. Men are able to actually have fun or admit when they are in love. I think it's very cool to get emotionally attached and want more - to hope that it will lead to a lasting relationship."
"Yes, it's nice to be cool despite the pain," she says. "Otherwise, what's the fun? Better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, is what I believe in. What the hell, life goes on. I would like to erase all those memories like in the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Human beings are resilient. People lose their loved ones and still go on with their lives. Death is a fact but we carry on as if we are immortal. If that's not being optimistic, what is? I am not saying that you set yourself up to get hurt. Be cautious. May be the other person doesn't really want to be in a relationship."
"Sometimes we enjoy being with a person so much that we become optimists and hope that he will change his mind and even his heart. You know what? Nothing changes but their shirts."
Love is like a butterfly. You chase it. It flies away. You sit still it comes and sit on you. Is it true? "When you are with somebody who doesn't want to be in a relationship with you, you could give it sometime. Beyond that, one needs to be practical and move on. But if you continue in the hope that he will change then you are chasing a butterfly. It's going to fly away. Men can't handle the fact that women can actually break off a relationship. That's when the butterfly comes and sits on you. Suddenly, you matter."
Love and sex are about sharing. Therefore, sex is a part of love. Love is not a prerequisite for intimacy. Physical attraction is. That's the difference between sex and making love. For most women, it's making love. And they kid themselves saying it's just sex. For men it's debatable. We are always trying to figure out what's in their heads."
"When a relationship doesn't work, I cry and discuss it threadbare with my close friends and analyse it. A perfect example would be the film He Is Just Not That Into You. At different points in time we have all been those different women in the film."
Ah, yes, pain and heartbreak. "You are never strong enough for a heartbreak. I have friends who say this is it - no more relationships. Bullshit. Every relationship is unique so the pain it brings is unique, too."
In spite of the pain would you fall in love all over again or would you think a thousand times or go with the flow? "You know when you are attracted to someone all the analysis goes out of the window. A hundred people can tell you it's not for you but when you are attracted to someone you don't pay heed to all that. I don't think one even remembers what happened in the past because suddenly there's this guy and he's different from anyone you've ever met before."
Image: Vidya Balan
'Every character has something that you can identify with'
Vidya confides that she never gives advice to her friends. "I am a good listener but I rarely give advice. When the good times are between two people, the problems too should remain between them. A relationship is never perfect; you have to work at it. You can't be running in opposite directions at the first sign of dissent.
"There is no perfect person you can connect with at all levels. A guy can't be a looker, intelligent, sensitive, the guy that your friends and family like, a guy who likes the things you like and all that. Sometimes, if he is all that and he is available he may not have a sense of humour. May be he seems perfect on the face of it, but when you get to know him, the problems start. No two human beings are a perfect fit. That's the joy and beauty of being in a relationship.
"When the dressing debacle happened two years ago, I was bothered by it. Until then I'd only been heaped with praises and then suddenly, the criticism came in truckloads. I didn't know how to deal with it. Then I looked at it objectively -- they did have reason to criticise me. Most of it was exaggerated. I am clearly not a fashionista.
"As an actor people expect me to look my best all the time. I didn't realise that people were actually happy seeing me the way I am. It was not just about clothes -- I was going through a period of confusion where I was giving a certain vibe. I was unsure, not happy with the way I was looking and trying to be someone I am not.
"I was going through a relationship where I was being constantly pulled down. My family loves me unconditionally, my friends are proud of the work I do. Suddenly, here was a person judging me constantly, and criticising me, something I couldn't take. It was around the time when the Heyy Babyy thing happened, even before Kismet Konnection. I think it showed.
"At the end of the day, I am a regular girl. When I like someone I do the regular stupid things. When I like someone I am not the actress Vidya Balan. I am just Vidya. But some people sap your confidence and your energy. Why did I let it happen? I don't really know.
"Family, friends and faith gave me the strength to pull out of it and realise that no one should make me feel any less. Prayer gives me a great deal of strength, as do my family and friends. Most importantly, you have to love and respect yourself. It's difficult to deal with rejection. Each one of us is unique. If someone does not cherish that he doesn't deserve to be in your life."
Her character in Ishqiya, she says, has a lot of sexual aggression. Is that how she is in life? "Let's just say that I am a passionate person and leave it at that. Every character has something that you can identify with. The character she plays is unapologetic about her choices and will not take things lying down. That bit is like me. She is rooted and crazy in love."
Image: Vidya Balan