Vidya Balan

Actress Vidya Balan hopes films with female actors in the lead will eventually get huge box office opening. (IANS photo)

MUMBAI—In Bollywood, it is mostly the male superstar who is the crowd-puller of a film – the primary draw whose name ensures blockbuster business. On the other hand, films with female actors in the lead, often witness poor box-office performance or have to be produced in a medium-to-low budget set-up, so that they can make profits quickly and at least record a hit status.

Vidya Balan hoped the situation would change while speaking at a promotional event for her new film, "Mission Mangal," which stars Akshay Kumar and also features Sonakshi Sinha, Taapsee Pannu, Kirti Kulhari and Nithya Menen in key roles.

"There is no denying that the biggest star in this film and one of the biggest stars in the country is Akshay Kumar. When you talk about the business of a film, you talk in terms of the male actor. But things are changing; we have been headlining films, our films are doing well. Hopefully, in a few years, this change will also happen. But as of today, when you talk about the business of a film, you do say that an Akshay Kumar film has earned this much," said Balan, when quizzed on why films with actresses in the lead do not get a huge box office opening.

She found logic why the success of a film starring a male superstar as Akshay should be credited primarily to him. "You can't take it away from him. Look at the business his films have done over the years. I'll be foolish to say, 'oh they didn't take my name,' but hopefully someday (the change will take place). I am hopeful because I have seen things change drastically in the past ten years," she said.

Director Jagan Shakti's "Mission Mangal" managed to collect Rs 29.16 crore on its opening day on Aug. 15, but the figures fell to Rs 17.28 crore on Aug. 16.

Vidya Balan, however, insisted she didn't think in terms of numbers while judging a film's success. "I am happy because the film is being loved so much. From the time it was narrated to me, I knew it is going to be a good film. I just wanted it to do well. I don't think in terms of numbers -- as in (its collection on) the first day or second day. All through, even during the making (of the film) and promotions, I felt there is good energy around this film. I am so happy and excited to see that the film is doing well," said the actress.

"Mission Mangal" is Vidya Balan's third film with Akshay Kumar after the "Heyy Babyy" and "Bhool Bhulaiyaa." Asked why don't they pair up more frequently, the actress said that they don't get offers together. At this point, Akshay Kumar, who was also present at the event, interrupted her, saying: "I wanted her in two or three projects, but she said she was getting married."

On hearing this, the actress burst into laughter and asked: "So, you don't work with married heroines?"

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