Vidya Balan’s filmography boasts of unusual film choices like Kahaani, The Dirty Picture and Ishqiya, among others. Now, she is adding up another one to the list with biographical drama Shakuntala Devi.
Vidya credits her film choices to her conviction and her “greed” to portray different characters. "As an actor, I am greedy to play different women on screen, to live different lives. When I'm getting the opportunity, I grab it with all my might," Vidya said at the virtual press conference of the launch the song Pass Nahi Toh Fail Nahi from Shakuntala Devi.
"I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I only pay heed to my inner voice. I don't pay much attention to the advice other people give me, if it is contradictory to what I feel very strongly. I felt like I want to do this, and so I did it,” she added.
Vidya says the film doesn't "dramatise" the story of Shakuntala Devi as she lived an accomplishing life.
“When you're telling a story, sometimes you take those creative liberties and that's absolutely fine. If it was a very staid account of a person's life, maybe a documentary form should be used. But in Shakuntala Devi's case, we didn't have to dramatise anything. It had everything. She was an exciting, livewire personality who lived a fulfilling life. Therefore, we didn't have to dramatise anything."
In Shakuntala Devi, Vidya will follow her life journey from the age of 20 to 60+. The actress said the toughest part about this biopic was to get Shakuntala Devi’s mannerism and energy right.
She said, "The most interesting and challenging part of the biopic was doing the math shows. For her, it happened naturally, she was a genius and was gifted. Thankfully, I didn't have to work out the answers but I had to enjoy the numbers in a way and interact with people the way she did. She had this attitude towards maths that it was magic. I had to feel that to be able to perform that. The way she gave her answers, it had a certain elan, swag. I had to work on that."
She also lauded Sanya Malhotra, who plays her daughter in the film, for her craft. “We got along very easily on the sets and were excited to bring out this unique mother-daughter relationship, which we rarely see in films. What amazed me about Sanya was her slipping in and out of a character so effortlessly.”
Directed by Anu Menon, the film also stars Jisshu Sengupta and Amit Sadh in pivotal roles. Shakuntala Devi will premiere on July 31 on Amazon Prime Video.