Vidya Balan: “Shaadi Ke Side Effects is a charming film, which is so akin to real life.”

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14feb_vidyainterview-01This Friday Shaadi Ke Side Effects will hit the big screen. This sequel to the hit Pyaar Ke Side Effects from 2006, that originally starred Rahul Bose and Mallika Sherawat, follows the couple Sid and Trisha on their journey of marriage and a baby. Directed once again by Saket Chaudhary, this time the two lead characters are played by the new and what we think will be a fabulous jodi of Farhan Akhtar and Vidya Balan. The gorgeous Vidya Balan spoke in depth, to the Bollywood editor for Cineworld Cinemas and Bollywood expert for BBC London and West Midlands, Ashanti Omkar and we have some exclusive highlights. Check out what Vidya had to say in their fun, and laughter filled chat on Shaadi Ke Side Effects, working with Farhan and more!

Vidya said it was the humor of the script that drew her to the project, “Rangita Pritish Nandy, the daughter of Pritish Nandy got in touch with me to say she had a script which was a sequel to Pyaar Ke Side Effects (2006). She brought me the script, I read it and found myself smiling and chuckling through the entire thing. It’s funny and it’s strange and it is really a humorous take on marriage and relationships.”

She did reveal she was surprised, however when she met the director Saket Chaudhary, “I met Saket Chaudhary and I couldn’t put the person and the script together, as he has such a serious demeanor. Whereas the script (laughs), it’s almost ironic that he’s written it. I spoke to Saket and it’s all come together now (excited laugh).”

14feb_vidyainterview-02The actress said SKSE presents marriage in a different and fun way, “Things that people talk about when out with friends and double dates, but not seen in Indian films before, I’d say. For example, like the ‘right side of the towel’ scene that you see in the promos – the argument of which is the right side of the towel. So we’re a typical urban, upper middle class working couple – a double income household and suddenly there is a surprise, an unexpected pregnancy and how this begins to really test the relationship we’re in. In ways it can be defining, yet we make it that. Small little issues. Every relationship goes through tests and when you’re going through it, it feels like a real ordeal, but actually, it may not be as big as we make out at the time. Especially to an objective third party and especially to audiences, I think they will see it as not being such a big deal.”

We could have guessed this, but of course Vidya says working with Farhan Akhtar was a wonderful experience. “Oh he’s fabulous. Multi-talented to say the least! I was very excited to be collaborating with him on this film. I had people asking me before about when they’d see Farhan and me together on screen. We didn’t know each other professionally or personally before this film.”

“It did requite a certain amount of familiarity to create the intimacy needed for this screen couple to have shared. As actors you’re just expected to switch on and switch off. But you need to get along – being able to create and simulate that effortless familiarity. That’s what happened with us. He’s got a crackling sense of humour so there was an air of familiarity between us by the first two days of the shoot. I love to laugh; he loves to crack jokes so it wasn’t that difficult. And we’re both Capricorns, sharing the star sign which is my favourite theory on this aspect of chemistry,” she added.

The characters in the film are very relatable, she said and that made playing them fun, “You seen men and women of all ages, having the same and similar arguments, at some point in their lives or the other. This meant that relating to the characters was the easiest thing for us, as well as the audiences I’m sure. And the credit does go to the director and screenwriters, who’ve done such a fabulous job. There was little for us to do beyond react to the script on set. Saket was very secure about the script and they gave us an open field to play around with, and they also allowed us to improvise with it all.”

14feb_vidyainterview-03Vidya has created some incredible characters in such diverse films like Parineeta, Guru, The Dirty Picture and Kahaani to name just a few. So how does she become them so completely that she gets lost inside the role? “I do take my time between two films and it does take time to get into it and then out of it. Only because at the end of a film, you’re so attached to the person you’ve played, the person whose life you’ve lives, but I think that for me as an actor, I am literally someone who morphs, transforms into that character. I’ve had the opportunity to work with directors who make me forget me, at least temporarily, during the course of the film. It’s a real high, when you donate blood once, you want to do it all the time. That is the effort most of the time, in moving between roles.”

Talking about who has influenced her as an actress, Vidya revealed, “I don’t think that there has been one person but lots of performances over time. One of my earliest influences was Shabana Azmi. And Sridevi is like an encyclopedia on acting. She’s just marvelous. Besides lots of other performances and actors I’ve admired, that would be for another interview with you to go through.”

So any chance she will do some work in the South Film Industry? “If I’m offered something exciting, I’m more than happy to do a film in any language. Maybe what looks like my being picky, is actually a bit of laziness on my part, to get involved with more parts and films (laughs out loud). I react instinctively, to scripts and to films and that seems to happen rarely for me”, she replied laughing.

14feb_vidyainterview-04So what else can fans look forward to seeing her in in 2014? “I will be playing Bobby Jasoos, India’s first female detective. I’ve completed work on it and I am very excited about it. It is out later on in the year. It’s by a new director Samar Shaikh, produced by Dia Mirza, the actress and Sahil Sangha. I am also in Sujoy Ghosh’s next untitled venture, which has Irrfan Khan and me. I’m very excited to be working with Irrfan – yet another Capricornian! I keep joking that Capricorns are the best (laughs)!”

Now here’s something we would never have guessed! When asking her why she has not gotten on the social media wave of Twitter, Vidya cracked up and said she is boring, too boring to be on Twitter! “(Laughing) I have nothing to say! I’m boring, I’m dead boring!! My films make me interesting – I’m boring otherwise. (Laughs). Let’s just hope that I keep getting interesting films to do and let’s just hope that I’m never on Twitter, as I think that will be harakiri (a Japanese term for torture)” – the laughter continues.

Getting back to Shaadi Ke Side Effects, what does she think audiences will experience when they see the film? “I think you’ll smile, you’ll chuckle, you’ll probably laugh and you’ll see yourself in it, or someone you know well, as it really is so real. It is a charming film, which is so akin to real life.”

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