Vidushi Mehra on gender double standards & taking life head on
Vidushi Mehra, a dramatist, a singer, an actress, a banker and mother to two beautiful kids believes that one only starts reliving when they defy to succumb to the subjugating societal norms. For her age is just a number and “it’s never too late to start over.” Her aspirations aren’t dependent on the number of candles she blows. In fact with each passing day the zeal to pursue her dream only grows. In this brutally honest conversation, Vidushi lays bare the uncomfortable truths around feminism, gender, corporate world issues and being in a cut throat film industry.
SCHOOL PLAYS TO BIG SCREEN
Awe-struck by a character played by Hema Malini, Vidushi started fantasizing about being an actress as a child. Mimicking in front of the mirror was perhaps her favorite pass time. Her aspirations got wings when she bagged Krishna’s role in a school play for its 25th Jubilee celebration, which was also Vidushi first stage show. The play was a hit, which opened new gates for Vidushi who enjoyed being on stage. But she couldn’t go on too long as many discouraged her from taking up theatre as a career.
In 1997, oblivious to the crowd, Vidushi gave a strong performance as Mary MCcann – a role she had also played in high school – which was attended by Bollywood biggies like Shahrukh Khan, Zeenat Aman and Sunil Dutt. She was taken off guard when she was complimented by Zeenat Aman for her performance back stage. She was showered with various offers from TV serials and commercials which her parents denied given her good academic performance. Setting aside her passion, she studied cost accountancy and embarked on a new journey doing a bank job which drove her away from her dreams of being an actor.
Soon after, she married Nikhil Mehra a well-known fashion designer after dating him for six months. It was her husband who encouraged her to take up theatre again which she saw dying within herself. Blessed with 2 kids she had a responsibility to look after, however she balanced work and her duty as mother efficiently. She met Chitraganda Singh at a party where they ended up talking about acting and about new waves of cinema finding ways into Bollywood. With no intentions to enter Bollywood Vidushi continued doing plays only to be greeted by an offer for a role in ‘Aisha’.
Aisha happened and her work got acknowledged within the fraternity. She then started getting offers from various banners played important parts in movies like ‘Fugly’, ‘No one killed Jessica’, ‘7 Khoon Maaf’.
Talking about the difference between theatre and Bollywood she believes theatre is more of an ‘Elitist’ art form having a niche audience, whereas Bollywood is about stardom and highly commercial. When asked what she would rather choose she said, “Substance matters more than glam”. I don’t see film like that. At the risk of sounding untruthful I would rather choose an art movie with a small yet powerful role than playing a lead in a commercial Bollywood movie because that ensures endearment”.
Connect as she is – via social media and other digital ways, Vidushi realises the power of reaching out to fans. She believes that social media has been a driving force in connecting stars with their fans. Celebrities today interact freely with their fans without feeling the burden of carrying a star name. Social media has bridged this apparent gap giving it a realistic plot. With this, she hopes to continue doing theatre and films while not compromising on her personal life. We hope Bollywood continues to bless industry with talents like Vidushi Mehra having the potential to transform cinema’s approach towards women.
Photo Credit: indiaforums.com