Vidya Balan
Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; April 4, 2017)

In the midst of promotions for her upcoming film Begum Jaan, Vidya Balan reiterates that working with the Khans is not priority. Her comment mirrors that of Kangana Ranaut, and speaks of an appealing confidence. In fact, on closer analysis, many parallels can be drawn between the actresses. The staunch feminists demand a prominent screen presence in their films, and hail from families that have little to do with Bollywood.

Tracing her journey back to the early days, Vidya says that like Kangana, who got into the bad books of industry bigwigs for calling Karan Johar nepotistic, she has also rubbed people the wrong way. "Thankfully, I never landed into any trouble, [at least] publicly, but have been reminded of it in my interactions with them later," she tells mid-day, adding that she isn't fazed by the behaviour. "Missing out [on working with me] is absolutely their loss. These things don't stop good roles from coming your way."

Throughout her decade-long career, Vidya's toil has been up for display, and it's only now that the actress feels a sense of belonging. "I've had to work towards it, but I've earned my space here. As a newbie, I knew nobody. I don't make friends easily. I am social, but my close friends are those I met in school and college. I have almost no industry friend."

For Vidya, the banner and cast associated with a film are secondary. "I will work in any film if the script is good, not because a superstar is associated with it. Banners and superstars [associated with the film] are peripheral benefits." Backing Kangana's claim that actresses are often sidelined in films featuring the Khans, Vidya says such ventures are "designed to ride on them."