The bold-yet-conserved actress Vidya Balan married corporate honcho-producer, Siddharth Roy Kapur alomst a year ago. So we felt that she is the perfect candidate to talk about shaadi ke side effects! Excerpts from the interview below..
Tell us about your shaadi ke side effects.
It’s all good. Marriage is something I’d recommend everyone to try if you find the right person, of course. I’m enjoying being married. Just living with Siddharth is fun. We sometimes feel like flatmates because we are in and out. We have not had that much time together, therefore I still feel like we are honeymooning… without the guilt!
No negative side effects?
I had been warned that a lot of changes happen after marriage and I kept waiting, thinking it’s just one month so maybe it’s too early for the changes to surface. Then I said it’s two months, then six months and after that, it’s been 14 months and nothing has changed. He’s the same person and I’m not bipolar, so he didn’t come in for any surprises either! Someone asked me if he is my best friend and I said, ‘Yeah, maybe a best friend with benefits’. He’s going to kill me for this! But, yes, it is wonderful to be able to say anything (and I really can say anything!) and he’s very accepting and non-judgmental. What has changed post marriage is that I now know aate-dal ka bhav, but please don’t ask me. I know that onion prices have dropped.
How would you rate yourself as a wife?
If it’s the stereotypical wife, I don’t rate at all. If it’s just a partner, then I’ll go to the other extreme, be immodest and say 11 on 10.
So, you are not a nag?
Not at all! I’m someone who believes in ‘live and let live’ and that applies to everything. I think I really lucked out because we are similar in a lot of ways. Like, you’ll never see our house out of order because we are both minimalists and we are both very organised.
If you are expected to do an intimate scene in a film, would you discuss it with Siddharth first?
Siddharth and I respect each other’s professional space and decisions. Of course, as a partner, I would tell him that there’s something like that, but there has not been an opportunity yet. It’s like I’d tell my parents myself rather than them seeing it in a film. All said and done, it can’t be comfortable for your family or your partner to see you like that and I understand and appreciate that. So, I would definitely tell him, but so far there has been no opportunity… shit!
Have your equations with your co-stars and colleagues changed now that you are married to a corporate honcho?
I don’t think so. At least, I have not noticed anything, but there are some people who he has a good equation with and who I didn’t know earlier but I do now, thanks to him.
Did you have any expectations before marriage about how your partner should be?
I didn’t set out to find Siddharth or anyone for that matter, and I think that’s when it happened. Until I was looking, I was only looking in the wrong direction and when I stopped looking, he literally walked into my life. So, that’s it. When you don’t have expectations of how you want your partner to be, you just let each other be. I’m someone who is really finicky about my things and I found someone who’s like me. Just that he’s finicky in a relaxed manner, I’m not that relaxed.
You just said you were looking in the wrong direction. What did you mean?
Where you shouldn’t be looking! Seriously, I had never seen myself as married. It was only after I met Siddharth that I felt that way. Earlier, I kept thinking that I’d never feel what everyone says one feels when you meet your soulmate. I don’t know about soulmate because I’m not sure I believe in that. But when it came to Siddharth, I just knew that I was going to be with him forever, or at least that was the intention.
Does marriage affect an actress’s prospects at the box office?
I don’t think so. The way the world is going now, a woman is hotter after marriage to men. They like the forbidden fruit even more now. If you are playing a 16-year-old at 30, then it might be a problem, but if you are not, it’s fine.
You’ve done serious films like Kahaani and also light-hearted films like Shaadi Ke Side Effects. What do you enjoy better?
Both, and they are different. Like in Shaadi Ke Side Effects, it’s real, relatable; it could be about you, about people you know. It has been a very breezy experience as actors. We were allowed to play it out the way we wanted to, by the director Saket Chaudhary. That, for an actor, is such a joyous experience! We had a lot of fun except when there were babies and we couldn’t make noise then.
Talking about babies, what about rumours of you being pregnant?
I’m not pregnant. I’d have to meet Siddharth to get pregnant! (Laughs) Jokes apart, I’m not yet ready to share Siddharth. Besides, I’m committed through this year, so motherhood will have to wait.
After bagging the best actress award for three years, did you miss not getting an award this year?
No. I’m happy to be applauded, but I’m also happy to applaud other people’s performances and there’s a lot of great work happening. I had only one release last year and the film didn’t do too well and that’s fine. The only thing is that I couldn’t go to the award functions as I was busy shooting for Bobby Jasoos.
Some felt that Priyanka Chopra should have got the award last year for Barfi.
Priyanka did a wonderful job and there will always be different opinions. I’m not a martyr… I am happy that I won the award.
Given that in the last few years, roles have been written for you, do you think you are now competing with the heroes? Even on Koffee With Karan when he asks his guests to rate actresses, there’s Kareena, Priyanka, Katrina, but you are never on that list…
Do you know I have never been on any list? And I’m quite good with that because I have never understood this up and down of one year being No.1 and something else the next year. I don’t think my competition is with the heroes. I don’t think I’m competing with anyone. I don’t mean to sound Zen, but genuinely, when I stopped competing with anything is when I started enjoying my work and that brought out the best in me. I’m living in a universe of my own and I’m enjoying that. I love to appreciate other people’s work. For example, Deepika (Padukone) is doing wonderfully now and I’m really enjoying her work. I think there are lots of stars in the sky and there’s space for each one of us.
You haven’t worked with any of the three Khans… ever wondered why?
They haven’t worked with me either. I have never been offered a film with any of the three Khans. Initially, I used to wonder why, but now I don’t. Someone will have to think of a reallyexceptional script. Also, I’m enjoying the kind of work I am doing. Invariably, when you have these superstars, it becomes difficult to justify anyone else’s presence. In recent times, I can only think of Deepika, who was fabulous in Chennai Express. She got that kind of a role but she more than justified it.
Earlier, all the girls just wanted to work with the Khans, but that has changed now…
I can’t talk for other girls. There are only three of them (Khans) and there are so many girls. So, I guess you realise that doing good work is important and you can’t just wait for that. Good work can happen anywhere.
After The Dirty Picture and Kahaani, you were called the fourth Khan…
While that’s very flattering, I will also say that I’m not happy being one among four!
You are very comfortable in your own skin today…
Most people have heard me say this that I lost my bearings for a while because I was trying desperately to fit in. I have always been me, but at that time, I was being pressurised to be a certain way and I did try hard. But I was getting slapped around left, right and centre. Then, in 2008, I reclaimed myself. I felt no one seems to be happy with me, so let me at least do what makes me happy. It wasn’t a moment’s decision; it took me weeks and months after talking to myself and my family. After that happened, people began to reclaim me too. I was just being myself and they liked what I was in the first place.