January 1, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Vidya Balan is sporting a de-glam look for her new film No One Killed Jessica. The actor in conversation with Sreya Basu
How far is No One Killed Jessica true to the real incident?
No One Killed Jessica is basically a dramatic thriller. It is based on a real-life case…all of us are aware of the Jessica Lall murder. That was the starting point for the film. But obviously there has been certain amount of fictionalization and dramatization. Never-the-less, we tried to retain the original incident to the maximum extent possible.
Which are the parts that have been dramatized?
Basically, we have shown the case from a very interesting and different perspective. So far, we have looked at the case from a crime perspective; we may not have seen it from a humane angle, or from the point of view of a girl who fought for so many years, or the media who worked together to make sure that justice was delivered in this case.
You are playing Jessica’s sister (Sabrina Lall) in the film. So, did the film help you understand the case better?
Not because I am working in this film, but even before that, I was aware that whatever happened with Jessica Lall was pathetic and condemnable.
You are sporting a very serious and de-glam look…
Yes. Also, in this film, I speak very less, yet have to speak a lot through my silence. Raj Kumar (Gupta, director) tried to portray the strength of my character in a different way. So, it was very tough for me.
Were your mannerisms in the film similar to ‘real’ Sabrina?
I have not portrayed Sabrina Lall the way she is in reality. I didn’t even meet her until very recently during a press conference in Delhi. The real Sabrina has already gone through it, so she is a much stronger person today. For me, I had to be more vulnerable.
There are reports that you had a cold war with Rani during shooting of the film. True?
Tiff with Rani? No way. Rani is my favourite actress and I love her.
You are mostly playing an Indian woman or a de-glam character. Do you miss doing masala films?
Thankfully for me, a lot of interesting films are happening these days, despite the fact that I only want to do roles that are challenging and excite me. I definitely think there are enough scripts to keep me as busy as I want to be. I am not the kind of person who wants to work 365 days a year. I want to do other things in life.
Being an actor, how much of it is looking like a star and how much of it is acting skills?
I think, in front of the camera, ultimately it’s your skill as an actor. There was a time when people used to come to the theatres to watch beautiful people because cinema took you to a world of fantasy. It was aspirational. Today, it has changed. People now go to a theatre to get entertained, not necessarily look for aspiration. But then, off-screen when you meet them, they expect you to be larger-than-life…glamorous…a star. However, I must say, stars today don’t have that magic anymore. We have lost our exclusivity…we are all over the place now.
Are you single?
It’s difficult for actors to have relationships because of a time crunch. I don’t get time to socialize and am not meeting that many men. And if I am not meeting that many men, how can I find the most interesting one among them?