A few years ago, would people have thought that saree could look cool too? But Vidya Balan, who is spotted wearing sarees regularly at events and also in many of her films, including her upcoming Tumhari Sulu, has proved that a woman in a simple saree too can walk with swag. Compliment her during the promotion of the film on making the saree look cool and she can’t stop laughing. “Thank you. I think saree is cool and probably people also think the same. They tell me all the time, ‘You look so cool in a saree and I am like, ‘Why not?’ I have grown up watching my mom, aunts, neighbours wear beautiful sarees on various occasions at home, at weddings and while going to work. Sarees are for all occasions. I find the saree to be a versatile garment. In fact, your mood dictates how the saree would look on you on any given day,” she says.
Directed by Suresh Triveni, Tumhari Sulu, which releases on November 17, also stars Manav Kaul, Neha Dhupia, Vijay Maurya, Malishka Mendonsa and others.
The actress says that there were several aspects about the film which she found interesting. “It was a very fresh idea — Sulu is a homemaker who turns into a late night RJ. She is a saree-clad woman who is managing her house in the morning and in the night, the moment she faces the mike, she goes into this husky mode. Honestly, the moment Suresh narrated the story so beautifully that the film came alive in front of me. Sulu came alive and so did every character. That narration was magical. I thought if Suresh is as good a director, this film will be fun to do,” she says.
The actress says that she signs a project only when she feels the need or desire to be the character. “In addition to that, I have to like the story. Also, the director and I have to be on the same page which means we need to get along. It’s important how s/he sees the film. The producer is also important because a good director and producer will bring in a good team.”
Each character that Vidya plays on screen is not just strong but opinionated too. Her role in Kahaani (Durga Rani Singh), Hamari Adhuri Kahaani (Vasudha Prasad), The Dirty Picture (Reshma), Ishqiya (Krishna Verma) and others, had a point of view. “Now that you have mentioned it, I am thinking whether every character of mine really has an opinion. Could be, but it hasn’t been a conscious decision. I am inclined towards the characters that have a certain journey or graph. They are invariably people who have a never-say-die attitude. That plays out differently according to their unique personality. Like Sulu has a great zest for life. She is an enthusiastic cutlet — that’s what I call her. She wants to try everything out. She has the ability to laugh at herself and the world. She can smile and laugh easily, which is very much like how I am in real life,” Vidya says.
Slice of life stories have become the favourite genre of filmmakers and the audiences. Such films are working at the box-office, so industry insider have now set their eyes on Tumhari Sulu. Vidya says, “This is a slice of life film but it’s primarily a happy film. There is no denying that these type of films are doing well because they are relatable. But I am not thinking about setting a benchmark and continuing something. Looking at the teaser and the trailer, people are getting a happy reaction and I hope the film brings that kind of joy.”
According to Vidya, today all kinds of films are working at the box-office. “You have Shubh Mangal Savdhaan, Bareily Ki Barfi, Golmaal Again, Judwaa 2, Newton doing well. Good films are doing well and I hope the same for Tumhari Sulu,” she adds.
Her last release Begum Jaan, despite all the critical acclaim, failed at the box-office. Does she analyse when a film fails? “In case of Begum Jaan, I didn’t have much time to think later because the film released on April 14 and I had to start prepping for Tumhari Sulu immediately. Otherwise, I always ponder over why a film failed. But over time, I have realised that you cannot pinpoint any one thing in particular. You can look for ten reasons but it could be the eleventh one, who knows?”
Vidya has taken up one more important responsibility — she has been appointed as one of the members of Central Board of Film Certification. The Board has been the news for all wrong reasons lately. Ask her what her focus is going to be as a member and she replies, “It’s not going to be an individual effort. We are going to work as a board. I am enjoying my new role. I am also learning. I don’t want to either over commit or underplay. I think our work will speak for us and since we have come on board, the team is doing a good job.”