New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) Having ventured into Bollywood with "Parineeta" in 2005, actress Vidya Balan says she has got much more than what she had hoped for. As she completes the 11th year journey in filmdom on Friday, the National Award winner is "grateful" for the opportunities that came her way.
"At one time in life, I wanted just one film release. I would have been happy if I had that one release, (but) I can't believe I have been around for 11 years, (done) all the films that I have been a part of and worked with the people I have looked up to," Vidya told IANS over phone from Mumbai.
Vidya's tryst with showbiz began as the bespectacled Radhika of the TV sitcom "Hum Paanch". Her role in "Parineeta" was a major departure from the clumsy Radhika to the demure Lalita, and from then there was no looking back.
She tasted success with path-breaking films like "The Dirty Picture", "Paa", "Kahaani", "Ishqiya" and "No One Killed Jessica", and also faced failure with movies like "Ghanchakkar" and "Shaadi Ke Side Effects".
"I got great opportunities for myself as an actor, and have got so much appreciation. I feel humbled and blessed," added Vidya, who won the National Film Award for Best Actress for her bold avatar as sex symbol Silk Smitha in "The Dirty Picture".
Vidya's latest release is "TE3N", which hit screens on a day when she celebrates her Bollywood anniversary. While she has a cameo in the Amitabh Bachchan starrer, she has also done a special appearance for Marathi film "Ekk Albela" -- her debut in the genre.
"I had always wanted to do a Marathi film. I have been born and brought up in Mumbai. I am very familiar with the Maharashtrian culture," she said.
"I have grown up watching Marathi films on Saturday evenings. My mother used to watch them and I also watched a lot of them," Vidya said, pointing out how "somewhere in your work, you bring in the influences from your personal life."
In "Ekk Albela", which is about the life of actor-filmmaker Bhagwan Dada, Vidya plays veteran actress Geeta Bali.
"The fabulous part is that it's a special appearance as Geeta Bali, someone whom I find extremely charming and effervescent. It was recreating 'Ekk Albela', the songs of which have always been famous," said the Padma Shri awardee.
But why cameos?
"It's quite a coincidence that two films that I am doing have a special appearance and are releasing in the same month...I think June is a special month," quipped the actress, who in "TE3N" has starred with Bachchan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.
Previously, Vidya has worked with stars like Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan, Emraan Haashmi, Sanjay Dutt and Saif Ali Khan. But she is yet to share the screen space with Bollywood's top three Khans -- Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir.
When do we see that happen?
"I don't know really. I don't think about it because I guess I am very happy with the kind of work I am doing. I don't think about what I haven't done or have yet to do."
Nevertheless, she's looking forward to new and more challenging projects.
(Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)