Having emerged as one of the most sought after actresses in Bollywood for her path-breaking performances in films like “Kahaani”, “The Dirty Picture”, “Paa”, “No One Killed Jessica”, Balan has revealed all this was not without initially coming across a casting couch incident.
She says it happened when she was trying to take a plunge in Tollywood, the southern Indian film industry.
She recalled how a filmmaker insisted on meeting her in a room after another filmmaker dropped her from a film for her unconventional looks.
In an interview with entertainment website PinkVilla, Vidya said, "One day I remember I was in Chennai and this director came to meet me. I said let's sit in the coffee shop, and he kept insisting that he wants to talk to me and that we should go to the room. I left the door of my room open, and he left within five minutes. This incident suddenly struck me today when I'm talking about this."
The actress, who won India's fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri, also recalled being criticised by a producer who dropped her from a film, making her feel so ugly, that she refrained from looking at herself in the mirror for days.
"There was a Tamil film I was doing, and I was thrown out of the film…I had really begun to fade, so my worried parents flew to Chennai with me, and we went to the producer's office. The producer showed us the clippings from the film, and he said 'just look at her does she look like a heroine..."
"I felt ugly. I felt like s**t for months, and I don't think I looked at myself in the mirror… For the longest time I had not forgiven that man but today, thanks to that I realised that I have to love and accept myself the way I am," the actress told the PinkVilla website.
The actress, who paved her way to Bollywood while struggling through body shaming and breaking the stereotypical image of an actress, made her debut in Bollywood in 2005 with the award-winning film "Parineeta.
She has also broken a glass ceiling by her bold performance in the biopic film "The Dirty Picture" in which she played the character of actress Silk Smitha, a sought-after erotic actress in the 1980s.