In a declaration that underscores the evolving landscape of Indian cinema, Bollywood star Vidya Balan has candidly spoken about the implicit gender biases that continue to influence casting decisions in the industry. In a recent conversation, she has opened up on how her leading roles, particularly in films like ‘The Dirty Picture’, which showcased strong female protagonists, have caused a stir among her male counterparts, many of whom appear uneasy about sharing the spotlight with a woman in the lead.

This kind of male reservation stands in stark contrast to the growing wave of female-centric stories flourishing in Bollywood. The trend, marked by films such as ‘Mimi’ and ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, has been recently exemplified by ‘Crew’, Balan’s latest endeavor that further cements this shift. This shift is not only reflective of the industry’s progressive outlook but also speaks volumes about the audience’s evolving preferences.

During her discussion with Indian Express, Balan talked about the challenges she faced early in her career, pointing out that these challenges have not entirely dissipated over time. “Back in the day? (rolls eyes) I don’t think they’d be okay even today to star in a Vidya Balan film or a female-led film for that matter,” she remarked, highlighting the reluctance of male actors to partake in projects where they aren’t the central characters.

Balan’s stance on male discomfort is clear and unapologetic; she believes the reluctance of her male peers to work on woman-led films is a reflection of their own insecurities. “It’s their loss honestly because we are doing better films than they are. I genuinely believe that,” she stated, noting that many male-driven projects lean heavily on tried-and-tested formulas, while female-led narratives bravely explore new terrains.

Despite these hurdles, Vidya Balan’s career continues to soar. The success of her recent films has only amplified her prominence as an artist who is resilient in her choice of roles that challenge the status quo. She laughingly notes that if her male co-stars feel threatened by her success, there isn’t much she can do about it.

Up next for Balan is the romantic comedy ‘Do Aur Do Pyaar’, a film set to resonate with audiences thanks to its contemporary comic twist on modern-day relationships. The trailer, laden with humor, relatability, and a barrage of emotions, promises an entertaining experience, showcasing the sparkling chemistry between Vidya and her co-star, Pratik Gandhi, along with Illeana D’Cruz and Sendhil Ramamurthy.

On the professional front, post her 2023 release ‘Neeyat’, the versatile actress is also geared up for ‘Bhool Bhulaiyaa 3’ with Kartik Aaryan and Triptii Dimri. The announcement of her return as ‘OG Manjulika’ in the third installment of this horror-comedy saga has already sparked excitement amongst her fans. Kartik Aaryan shared this excitement with a quirky video, captioning, “OG Manjulika is coming back to the world of BhoolBhulaiyaa. This Diwali is going to be crackling.”

It’s evident that Vidya Balan’s journey reflects the ongoing change within the Indian film industry, where there is a gradual but noticeable shift towards embracing stories that are women-centric and defy traditional norms. Through her articulate conversation and the work she continues to choose, Balan is certainly at the forefront of this transformative wave, both challenging and changing the narrative—one film at a time.

By IPL Agent

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