By Subhash K Jha
1. Parineeta(2005) : She started her career in Hindi movies with Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s take on Saratchandra Chatterjee’s immortal classic earlier attempted to pitch-perfection by Meena Kumari in Bimal Roy’s film. Vidya’s Bengali act was very natural.Vidya loves all things Bangla.She keenly wanted to work with Rituparno Ghosh.Alas, that never happened.
2. Guru(2007): One of Vidya’s most underrated performances .As a wheelchair bound girl who pines to be kissed, she exuded vulnerability and longing without inviting pity.Vidya held her own in spite of Aishwarya Rai’s author-backed presence.
3. Bhool Bhulaiyya(2007): There was only one longish sequence where she got a chance to dazzle with her virtuosity. It was the climactic Bharat Natyam item where she danced as a woman possessed. Vidya loves to dance. Strangely she hardly ever got a chance to display her dancing, the disastrous item song in Ferrari Ki Sawaari nothwithstanding.
4. Paa(2009): The Big B’s mother?! Someone had to be kidding.As the mother of a progeria-stricken “child’ Vidya brought to the table an inner resilience that defied the normal protocol of a working woman and a single mother.
5. Ishqiya(2010): Re-defining the Hindi film heroine,Vidya’s character Krishna was an earthy rustic voluptuous woman who was frank and fearless about her sexuality. And boy, this woman could drink, cuss, rant and abuse like a fisherwoman. Ooh la la!Vidya’s unabashed self-assertion in this film just couldn’t be matched by Madhuri Dixit in the sequel.
6. No One Killed Jessica(2011): Her first real-life character, playing Sabrina Lal , Vidya proved herself a natural-born scenestealer, hijacking the histiornic honours effortlessly from her co-star Rani Mukherjee.
7. The Dirty Picture(2011): Vidya’s second real-life character during the same year.Playing Silk Smitha she scattered sultry vibes all over the screen as if it was going out of fashion.Her faked orgasm act was a classic, on a par with Meg Ryan’s ‘I’ll have one of those’ moment in When Harry Met Sally.
8. Kahaani(2012): One of the most powerful roles ever written for a woman in Hindi cinema, Vidya Balan redefined the term ‘pregnant pause’.This was her Mother India.
9. Bobby Jasoos(2014): As the female detective with the thick Hyderabadi accent Vidya’s performance was as feisty and tasty as a plate of saffron-flavoured spicy biryani.
10. Hamari Adhuri Kahani: Damned and demolished for playing a regressive character, Vidya stood her ground ,creating a ravishing rerservoir of dignity and grace for her traumatized and brutalized character. When words failed Vidya’s eyes said it all.