"I never chased stardom. I always wanted to be a good actor," said the National award winning actor who was in town and witnessed a programme for the special children of Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy (IICP), 'Together We Rise' along with filmmaker-actor-musician Anjan Dutta.
Vidya Balan was felicitated for her outstanding achievement in Cinema at the function.
The evening also included performance by the children of IICP which is a well known Kolkata based organization and a specialist in resource centre for cerebral palsy.
Also present there were fashion designer Sarbori Dutta and singer Sasha Ghoshal. The Shrijan Chhanda dance troupe also performed in the evening. Bengal Chamber of Commerce president Kallol Dutta and Vice President Amborish Ghosh were also present.
Kallol Dutta presented a cheque of Rs 8 lakh to the IICP while Ambarish Ghosh handed over a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to the organization.
"It's a wonderful forum to show the abilities of people with disabilities. As the placard said, 'If you look for disability you will see disability, but if you look for ability you will find ability.' I would urge everyone to look for ability, as that will serve equal opportunities," said the Executive Director of IICP, Dr Reena Sen who is working in the institute since its inception.
The interactive session of Anjan Dutta and Vidya Balan started with a song of Anjan Dutta. Starting the conversation Vidya said, "I always say, 'Ami mon theke Bangali' (Am a Bengali in my mind) but now I can proudly put emphasis on my point by saying that I am a pure Bengali because I heard Anjan Dutta's song."
Vidya Balan said "Shabana Azmi was one of the strongest inspirations for me."
"Even Madhuri Dixit inspired me a lot. Every girl wanted to be Madhuri Dixit and so was I. I went through a very bad phase in my initial stage in this industry. My first was a Malayalam film which didn't get released and then I was thrown out from a Tamil film," said Vidya Balan.
"When all these were happening, I met Pradeep Sarkar. He began to groom me and cast me in different ads. The production manager of the music album I was working on, suggested my name to Goutam Haldar and that's how 'Bhalo Theko', my first Bengali film happened. Then Pradeep da (Sarkar) cast me for Parineeta," she added.
Speaking on her journey with Pradeep Sarkar, she said: "Dada (Pradeep Sarkar) is a school I come from. He invested a lot of time and energy on me. A lot of what I do comes from him. I have learnt so much from him. He really nurtured the actor in me. Sujoy (Ghosh) also gave a lot of time in teaching me Bengali language."
Expressing her grief over the sudden death of Rituporno Ghosh, Vidya Balan said, "Every year, I would get a call from Ritu Da (Rituporno Ghosh) saying, 'Ebar korbo'. He always wanted to do a film with me. This year his call did not come. His death was a shocking news for me."
"I know I am here in the industry to be an actor and that's what I do and that's what I am chasing for. Every time I find an opportunity to see me as a new Vidya, I always take up the challenge" she added.
Speaking on Kolkata she said, "This city has given me a lot and has always been extremely kind to me. I have always been overwhelmed by the love the people and the directors of Bengali film industry of this city gave me."
She expressed her desire to work in Bengali films and also with Anjan Dutta in one of his films and requested him to think a story on her.
--IBNS (Posted on 14-07-2013)