#Interviews

Sometimes I Catch Myself Judging Other Women Unfairly: Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan Interview Sherni
Vidya Balan Interview Sherni: A Vidya Balan movie is not your typical Bollywood masala film, yet the Sherni can drive the numbers at the box office.

Over the years, she has emerged as an actor who mesmerises with her acting. And her films come with a message which pushes us to think hard even after the film is over. Whether it is The Dirty Picture or Shakuntala Devi, her movies raise pertinent questions about how society views and treats women.

The actor whose film Sherni, recently released on the OTT platform Prime Video caught up with SheThePeople to talk about the film and much more.

In real life Balan considers her mother to be the Sherni in her life and says, “A lot of my fearlessness comes from my mother.”

The film Sherni is an environmental thriller that traces the journey of an alleged man-eating tigress and the forest officer Vidya Vincent, both of them are navigating unfamiliar territories to find a space to call their own.  

We asked Balan if she feels women are as much victims as they are perpetrators of patriarchy, to this the actor says, “A lot of time when we talk about sexism or the patriarchal mindset, it is the preserve of men, but that is not true. I think that the mindset is so deeply ingrained in us that unconsciously we are also living it. So, women are as much victims as they are perpetrators of patriarchy.”

She further adds “Sometimes, I catch myself judging a woman more harshly than a man, and then I say no would I judge a man in the same way for the same action. I would say that as a woman I catch myself being sexist sometimes. We are happier to pronounce judgement on others and make men the enemy. I think we have to realise that sometimes we are our own enemy.”

Vidya Balan Sherni interview, Sherni Movie Review, Vidya Balan transformation in Sherni

Vidya Balan in a still from Sherni.

In the film, Vidya Vincent is surrounded by men who are constantly gaslighting her. How does gaslighting play out every time women are trying to make a place for themselves in a man’s world?

Balan says, “Gaslighting is a fairly new term, but now it has become part of common parlance. However, we have been gaslit for times immemorial, which is why our self-esteem is so low, which is why we don’t trust ourselves enough. This is why we do not believe that we are capable enough of achieving our dreams, are doubting ourselves all the time. It is because we have been gaslight forever. Now there is a term, now we know what it was.”

“Gaslighting is a fairly new term, but now it has become part of common parlance. However, we have been gaslit for times immemorial, which is why our self-esteem is so low, which is why we don’t trust ourselves enough.

So, how important is it for artists to be able to say no?

Balan says, “It is very important to say no in life. Saying no is a reflection of how much you value yourself. I am not saying say no indiscriminately, but when you want to say no it is important to say no.”

On Body Shaming

Balan believes, “People who comment on others are people who are very unhappy themselves. It is really unfortunate that they are not doing anything to better their situation and rather being outwardly toxic by pulling down other people or making judgements, whether it about their bodies or what those people are doing it is just a reflection of how unhappy you are.”

So how does she deal with it, “I only open my mouth to say anything to anyone when I like something, when I dislike it I stay quiet. I have to like what I am doing and that is what is important.”

On Growing old

Balan feels not everyone is blessed enough to grow old. Therefore, growing old is in fact a blessing. It just means that you had opportunities in life, you had experiences in life, you have memories.

Here is where you can view our conversation with Vidya Balan: