It's not easy being Vidya Balan. "I've had four releases in the past one year. After Lage Raho Munnabhai,
Eklayva and Guru last year, the next year started for me with Salaam-e-Ishq. There I played this fey and
feisty woman married to John Abraham."
So that's how the two got linked! "Precisely," Vidya chuckles. 'We got along well enough for people to notice. But an affair? Have a heart! I haven't found a man I'd like to spend my life with.
When he comes along I'd give up everything, career included, and probably surrender completely. Do you think I'd risk that kind of commitment at this stage of my career when things are going well?"
So what's the truth about John? "We just got along well shooting Salaam-e-Ishq, as we were supposed to. So maybe people saw us getting along well and made up their own screenplay. From the little I know of Bipasha she's a no-nonsense honest person. She won't take such nonsense lying down. But Sanjay Dutt?
Poor thing! He's become so self-conscious after our link-up stories he mumbles a hello and moves away. I can see how the story was planted. After interviewing me the journalist called the next day to ask if something was up between me and Sanju.
Obviously the editor must have said, 'Vidya not interesting enough. Masala maro.' I'd rather be uninteresting than known for my link-ups."
Vidya bursts out laughing, revealing that rare side to her personality which people don't notice too often. "I do have a sense of humour. That's why I enjoyed doing Lage Raho Munnabhai so much. I had a ball shooting with Sanju and Arshad. "
In Hey Baby Vidya is cast as the baby's mother. "I don't mind playing a mom if the role is as charming as the one in Hey Baby. In fact I've no reservations about anything. Just bring on the challenging characters."
Priyadarshan's Chandramukhi would be a big challenge since Vidya plays a classical dancer in the film. "Since I'm Tamilian Iyer Brahmin I'm trained in Carnatic singing. I was also trained in Bharat Natyam for a while. But I lost interest.
Later I took up Kathak, and got busy with other things. But I need to brush up my dancing for Chandramukhi. I've seen what Shobana has done in the original Malayalam film. I adore Shobana. To match steps with her would be impossible."
Isn't there a danger of Vidya getting tyepcast as the old-world heroine after doing Parineeta and now Chandramukhi? "I don't mind the era and aura as long as the role is challenging. It's not as if I'm only playing old-world roles. In Lage Raho Munnabhai and Salaam-e-Ishq I'm very much a woman of today."
Though Vidya was pivotal to Lage Raho... she admits she didn't have that much to do in Vinod Chopra's Eklavya and Mani Rathnam's Guru which released neck-to-neck in December. "That's why I was not worried.
There was just that much of me in both films. In fact Guru was out-and-out Abhishek's film. And he was fab. Just the thrill of working with directors like Vinod Chopra and Mani Rathnam was enough incentive to be part of their films."
Beyond Salaam-e-Ishq Vidya has only signed Priyadarshan's Chandramukhi. It's a role close to her heart. "I was thrilled to know Aishwarya was the other contender for the role. To be even considered for the same roles as her is an honour."