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Watch: How Vidya Balan’s father gave flight to her dreams

The Parineeta actress talked about how encouraging and supportive her father has been in her life in a video especially created for Father’s Day by Men Against Rape and Discrimination (MARD).

Sonal Pandya

On Father’s Day yesterday, actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar’s social initiative, Men Against Rape and Discrimination (MARD), highlighted the fathers who championed their daughters to success in their respective fields. One such father in focus was 71-year-old PR Balan, father of Vidya Balan.

In the unique video, the father of two talked about his own upbringing with a single mother, a grandmother and three sisters. All four children were treated equally and that was very significant for him. His own family consists of his wife, and two daughters, Priya and Vidya.

He said, “I never felt anything odd or lacking about [not having a son]. We never said, ‘Oh, first is a daughter, give me a second son’. I have never prayed for that. How I love them, they are like two eyes of mine.” He stressed he never kept a taboo about raising his daughters differently than other boys.

PR Balan got emotional as he discussed a key moment in the year 2000 when he had to leave his job and didn’t have any savings. He was worried about taking care of his daughters. He recalled crying in the hallway one night and crying out loud. It was then when Vidya came in, held his hand and said, “Appa, don’t worry. Everything will be alright.” He called the moment “a terrific change in his life”.

Vidya shared the MARD video on Twitter with the caption, “I wish every girl had a father like mine. Thank you Appa! Here’s our story!”

In a more lighter moment, PR Balan talked about how the two of them used to enact scenes from plays when Vidya was younger. She would play a dying mother and he, her son, who would take away the keys to the house after she passed away. They had a good laugh about that.

Vidya said in the video, “Not once did he tell me, ‘No, this is not something you should want to do, or aspire to do’. I’m sure he had the fears because the big bad world of cinema, television, whatever, but he never once discouraged me.” He only asked Vidya to do anything to the best of her abilities.

She also consulted her parents before acting in Milan Luthria’s The Dirty Picture (2011). When she held a preview of the film for them, Vidya remembered that “he clapped, in front of everyone”. In fact, PR Balan said, “Nobody saw Vidya Balan in the character.” For Vidya, that comment proved that it doesn’t matter what the world says. “That vote of confidence was priceless," she said.

PR Balan’s advice in the video was “young girls should start treating themselves in their minds as equal to boys. Many a time, the problem comes, they themselves accept this discrimination a part of life.”

The video ends with a startling statistics on gender bias including the number 3,30,000 — the number of girls who were not born because of their gender.

Watch the full video below: