VIDYA BALAN Vidya Balan (pronounced [ʋɪ jaː baː lən]; born 1 January 1978) is an Indian actress, who appears mainly in Hindi films, in addition to Bengali and Malayalam language films. After making her acting debut with the sitcom Hum Paanch and receiving a post-graduate degree in sociology, Balan made several unsuccessful attempts to start a career in film. She eventually starred in several music videos and television commercials, before making her feature film debut with the independent Bengali drama Bhalo Theko (2003). In 2005, Balan received praise for her first Hindi film, Parineeta, and followed it with a leading role in the blockbuster Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006). Balan subsequently received negative comments from critics for unsuccessfully portraying ornamental characters in the films Heyy Babyy (2007) and Kismat Konnection (2008). 2009, however, marked the beginning of the most successful period in Balan's career as she portrayed five back-to-back roles to wide critical acclaim in Paa (2009), Ishqiya (2010), No One Killed Jessica (2011), The Dirty Picture (2011), and Kahaani (2012). These roles have established her as one of the leading contemporary actresses of Hindi cinema. Balan has received one National Film Award for Best Actress, four Filmfare Awards, including two for Best Actress and one for Best Actress - Critics, as well as three consecutive Screen Awards for Best Actress. Initially earning flak for her weight and dressing sense, Balan was eventually credited in the media for breaking stereotypes of a Hindi film heroine and has been tagged as "a female hero". She is in a relationship with Siddharth Roy Kapur and currently lives in Khar, Mumbai with her parents. Vidya Balan was born on 1 January 1978 in Ottapalam, a town in the Palakkad District of Kerala, to P. R. Balan, currently the Vice President of ETC India, and Saraswathy Balan, a homemaker.According to Balan, they speak "a mix of Tamil and Malayalam" at home, but she is also well versed in Hindi, Marathi, English and Bengali.Her sister, Priya Balan, and brother-in-law are both in advertising. After the family relocated to Chembur, Mumbai, Balan did her schooling at Mumbai's St. Anthony Girls' High School, and later attended St. Xavier's College where she pursued a bachelor's degree in sociology. Following her graduation, she pursued a master's degree in sociology from the University of Mumbai.Balan wanted to pursue a career in film from a young age and describes actors Shabana Azmi and Smita Patil as her inspirations. Her parents were supportive of her decision to become an actor, but encouraged her to complete her education first.At the age of sixteen, Balan auditioned for and starred briefly in Ekta Kapoor's sitcom Hum Paanch, as Radhika, a bespectacled nerd.Following the success of the show, Balan refused Anurag Basu's offer to star as the lead of a television soap opera, as she wanted to make a career in film.
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