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If some people don't have children, it's fine: Vidya Balan on scrutiny of married women

In her latest interview, the Begum Jaan actress has criticised the constant pressure on married women and actresses, to bear children. 

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Shriram Iyengar

While the debate over feminism continues to grow across the world, there are some women who go about changing the world quietly. Vidya Balan, whose recent performance in the trailer of Begum Jaan made quite an impact, believes women need to guard their space. 

In a recent interview with a tabloid, she said, "That's the quintessential aspect that made me instantly identify with Begum Jaan. I ferociously guard my space. There are times when I retreat and be all by myself." 

The actress plays the madam of a brothel on the India-Pakistan border in Srijit Mukherjee's period drama set in the Partition era. She admitted that celebrities are never given much space. Vidya said, "I understand people wanting a little bit of us all the time. It's an overwhelming feeling." 

Vidya was left with some unpleasant experience of this feeling when she lashed out at a fan recently for getting too close. However, the actress did not spare the media either for prying into her life. Calling the phenomenon 'ridiculous', she said, "I don't think it's anyone's business except mine and my husband's (producer Siddharth Roy Kapur). It was a serious invasion on our privacy, but our country is such. Neighbours and relatives [constantly] ask us (unnecessary questions). The day I got married, one of my uncles told me at the wedding venue, 'Next time I see you [her and Siddharth], I should be looking at three people, not two'. This was even before our wedding pictures could be clicked. I politely laughed because we hadn't even decided on our honeymoon destination then." 

She even went on to say, "What is this baby obsession? I am not a baby-making machine. Anyway, the world population is on a rise. If some people don't have children, it's fine." 

Begum Jaan marks Vidya's return to acting after her long post-wedding break. The actress has not experienced any luck with her recent stints in T3En (2016), Kahaani 2 (2016) or Hamari Adhuri Kahani (2015). Speaking to a national daily, the actress remarked that such failures hurt her. She said, "Of course, it disappoints me. It breaks my heart when the film doesn’t do well at box office. For me, any film is like a baby to me. It’s a labour of love. You are hoping for everyone to accept your film. And it’s very difficult to tell why a film failed at the box office. But then I cry, I grieve, I mourn and I move on. Because I feel blessed to be living my dream. My only dream was to be an actor," she said adding, "When I am on sets I don’t care whether my previous film was a hit or flop or if this film is going to work or not. That process keeps me going. Acting keeps me alive."

Begum Jaan is directed by Srijit Mukherjee, and stars Vidya Balan, Gauhar Khan, Pallavi Sharda, Ashish Vidyarthi, Naseeruddin Shah. The film is scheduled for theatrical release on 14 April.