Mission Mangal was one of the most well-received films in 2019 as it grossed ₹290.59 crores worldwide. Loosely based on the life of scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation who contributed to India’s first interplanetary expedition Mars Orbiter Mission, it starred an ensemble cast of Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Nithya Menen, Kirti Kulhari and Sharman Joshi in lead roles. However, Vidya Balan who played a prominent role in the film has expressed her discontent about the movie being termed as an ‘Akshay Kumar film’ despite having four female leads.
Talking about the same in an interaction with Film Companion, the actress shared, “The pandemic has become an easy excuse for people to say that now female-led films will not work in the theatres, because basically, our industry is going through some kind of flux where a lot of our films are bombing, terribly. And they are your so-called, male hero-led films. But who takes the beating is the female-led films. Do you not realize that Gangubai Kathiawadi had no man spearheading it, it was Alia Bhatt. That film has done great numbers compared to a lot of other films with male heroes. It’s very frustrating because there’s no logic to it.”
She added further, “For example, even a film like Mission Mangal, which did great business, finally it will be seen as an Akshay Kumar film, which is very unfortunate. It’s not Akshay Kumar and five other leading ladies, because we’re not being seen as having led the film in any way. But the story couldn’t have been told with just Akshay Kumar, and it wasn’t told with just him. Someone was talking to me about my last hits, and they didn’t mention Mission Mangal, and they said, ‘Woh toh Akshay Kumar…’ and I was like, ‘Did you not see me and four other female actors?'”
On the professional front, Vidya Balan was last seen in Jalsa, a thriller film directed by Suresh Triveni. The actress is looking forward to a romantic comedy-drama that will be directed by ad-maker Shirsha Guha Thakurta. It is currently being filmed in locations across Mumbai and Ooty. The yet-to-be-titled film stars Ileana D’Cruz, Pratik Gandhi, and India-American actor Sendhil Ramamurthy and is touted to be an interesting take on Modern Love.