Bollywood actress Vidya Balan talks about her experience in biopic ‘Shakuntala Devi’. She said that playing a character like mathematics expert Shakuntala Devi acts like a source of inspiration.
She said in an interview with the local news source that the biopic strengthened her belief that it is suitable for women to have ownership of their lives without being apologetic.
“She owned her choices and stood her ground. Her story definitely inspired me and has shown me that it is actually okay for a woman to want it all in life,”
“Shakuntala Devi enjoyed the attention and she couldn’t understand the world saying that ‘You are a wife now or you are a mother and your priorities should change.’ She had this gift and she wanted to celebrate it. She was someone who wanted it all and had it all,”
‘Shakuntala Devi’ is a biophical drama that revolves around the life of India’s human-computer, who is capable of solving complex math problems easily.
Vidya played the role of a housewife in her last solo theatre outing. She was struggling to have a balance between her aims and her family responsibilities.
However, her role as Shakuntala is completely different. She keeps her ambition as her priority.
“Sulu was more traditional. She was still functioning within the constraints of the traditional middle-class family.
She was negotiating and navigating her way. We women have been taught to prioritize everyone else in our families. We put ourselves last.”
“And here was Shakuntala Devi who was refusing to do that. She said ‘Yes, I love my family, my child, but I love myself as well. Why should that be wrong?”
However, Balan said that her personal life is still away from reaching the level of fearlessness that Shakuntala had.
“I’m at a stage in my life where I’m somewhere between Sulu and Shakuntala. I believe the film has given me more push towards being Shakuntala. But I still go through self-doubt. I question myself and my choices sometimes.”
She said that she depends on her family to resolve the conflict in her mind. “I have always spoken to my family very openly and since Siddharth (Roy Kapur) and I got together, I speak to him very openly and share everything.”
“Just speaking about it helps me resolve so much in my head. It gives me perspective. I think, whenever I have self-doubt I voice it. I believe the more you voice it, the more you realize that it uses its power over you. And slowly you feel better,” she added.
Balan believes that the biopic is a reminder for women who prioritize her aims.
“Her life is so inspiring because it makes us think that if she could live her life in her own way at that time, what are we doing not claiming ownership on our lives and our dreams as women,” she said.
“She was at her peak during the 1960s and 1970s, so if she could do it why we can’t? I definitely think now there are more women who are aware that they have the right to their lives and they are aware of their rights and conversations about gender equality. But we still have a long way to go,” the actor added.