Vidya Balan is one of the most bankable and sought-after actors in Bollywood and she has earned that stature due to her unparalleled acting skills. A role model to both struggling and established artists, Vidya Balan’s journey to stardom has been full of ups and downs. She made her debut with Pradeep Sarkar Parineeta and rose to fame with movies like Lage Raho Munna Bhai, Guru, Heyy Babyy, Paa, Ishqiya, No One Killed Jessica, and The Dirty Picture among others.

When it comes to acting though, Vidya Balan has not only broken the mould, but has reshaped it. In times when actresses were reduced to mostly being an eye-candy on screen, Balan showed, an continues to do so, that flawless bodies and aesthetic attire do not always guarantee success and that sometimes mere acting skills and silk sarees can come in handy too.

From starring in Hum Panch as a bespectacled teenager to being the lead actor in a women-centric film, here’s a look at Balan’s most mesmerising performances.

Read Also : Vidya Balan to play Shakuntala Devi in Biopic!

Paa

Balan essayed the role of a single mother whose only child has a rare genetic disorder called Progeria. Alongside Balan, Amitabh Bacchan was cast as her son, which made the film even more special. One would have thought that Bacchan’s performance would overshadow Vidya’s presence easily, given his experience and fame. However, Vidya proves us wrong as she comfortably slips into the character of a single mother, making the audience forget the off-screen stature of the on-screen actors.

Bhool Bhulaiya

An unconventional role with a risk to her glamourous image, Vidya Balan dived into it heads on. With smeared kajal, and blood on her face, Balance sent a chill down viewer’s spine, with her eery portrayal of Manjulika. The ease with which she made this transformation on screen, was enough to prove what she was capable of as an actor.

It is difficult to create horror with a conventionally beautiful face, but Balan with her fierce eyes convinces us that she is both a patient and a loving wife and that both these people are completely different from each other.

The Dirty Picture

Directed by Milan Luthria, this landmark movie changed the course of Bollywood. Never had a movie dared to be as explicit and bold as The Dirty Picture. This also proved to be a pathbreaking role for Vidya, as the audience applauded her performance in awe, admiring her courage to portray the boisterous southern diva Silk Smitha, without being afraid of the repercussions had this film backfired.

However what was truly mind-blowing about her performance was that despite playing an unapologetically bold and free-spirited woman, who was looked down upon for her flamboyance, Vidya manages to retain Smitha’s grace, and managed to convince the audience to sympathise with her and even dislike her haters which would be impossible in real life.

She saves Smitha’s portrayal from being reduced to merely a sex symbol by asking us to change our outlook of a sexually liberated woman and see her just a person seeking love, intimacy and sympathy.

Read Also: Vidya Balan’s ‘Kahaani’ To Be Re-Made In Korean

Kahaani

This was one of the few films which rested entirely on the shoulders of a female actor and stormed on the box office. The film also won several awards to Vidya Balan, establishing her further as a bankable box office star in her own right. A pregnant woman in search of her missing husband, Vidya wins the empathy of the audience since the start of the film and keeps us on the edge of the seat, worrying for her safety, as she frantically searches for her husband amidst the busy streets of Kolkata, fighting odds whilst being pregnant.

However when it’s her, we know it is never a straight road. As the movie ends, we see Vidya completely switching her character, leaving the audience stunned.

Tumhari Sulu

Released in 2017, this comedy-drama film is such a heartwarming tale. Balan as Sulu wins us over from the word go, as she plays a happy-go-lucky housewife, who can do everything. “Mujhe sab karne mein maza aata hai” Sulu can do everything and can excel at anything. Playing an RJ for the second time, Vidya’s character is stronger, substantial and at the front this time.

Vidya as Sulu makes us fall in love with her quirkiness.Her chemistry with fellow actor  Manav Kaul sits like a cherry on the cake with a refreshing take on middle-class marriages. Once again, Vidya amazes us with her old school charm and makes us fall head over heels with her.

Read Also : Vidya Balan Turns 40: Her Five Most Powerful Performances

Snigdha Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.