MUMBAI — Bollywood actress Vidya Balan says because of her films and the amount of time she spends in Kolkata, people often think she is a Bengali.
The actress made her debut in films in a leading role with the Bengali movie “Bhalo Theko” in 2003 before debuting in Bollywood with “Parineeta.”
The 38-year-old “Ishqiya” star will be seen next in “TE3N,” which is set in Kolkata.
“I don’t think there is a question of returning to Kolkata, because I spend half my days there invariably. But it was wonderful. People are so warm and welcoming. My debut film was a Bengali film, even before ‘Parineeta,’ so they actually think I am Bengali,” Balan told reporters here.
The actress garnered acclaim for her portrayal of Vidya Bagchi, a pregnant woman searching for her missing husband in Kolkata in “Kahaani” and will be back in the city for the sequel.
“Everyone speaks to me in Bengali, and I show off my Bengali wherever I can. I know songs, rhymes and slangs... When I am in Kolkata, I don’t miss home that much. I am back there for ‘Kahaani 2’ now, and it feels we went there for ‘TE3N’ and just stayed back.”
Directed by Ribhu Dasgupta, “TE3N” also features megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Nawazuddin Siddiqui. The film is about a crime that affects its three lead characters.
Bachchan, 73, stars in the film as John Biswas, a grandfather in pursuit of justice for eight years, while Siddiqui plays Father Martin Das, whose life was changed forever by the same crime that claimed the life of John’s granddaughter.
Balan will be seen in a special appearance as the cop who swings into action when an identical crime is repeated eight years later.
The “Paa” actress says it was nice to work with Siddiqui after their hit film “Kahaani.”
“Nawaz and I were meeting in Kolkata after six years after we shot ‘Kahaani.’ In these six years post ‘Kaahani,’ we hadn’t met at all. Both of us had lots of films in between, but it was nice catching up with him and working. Most of my scenes are with Nawaz,” said Balan.
The actress learnt how to drive for her role and says filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh, who is the creative producer in “TE3N,” was her driving instructor.
“I know how to drive, but I’ve never been a confident driver, but, for this, I wanted to do it myself, so I actually drove around Kolkata. Sujoy was my driving instructor. That’s the only real preparation I did.”
The film is scheduled to release June 10.