The offer to play Silk Smitha came as a shock: Vidya Balan

Last Updated: Jan 11, 2011, 13:52 PM IST

New Delhi: Having donned diverse roles during her five-year-old career, actress Vidya Balan says she was "shocked" when she was offered a role to play Silk Smitha, the ultimate sex symbol in South Indian cinema.

Balan however said she was "thrilled" to land the role in Milan Luthria`s biopic `Dirty Picture`, which chronicles the tragic life of yesteryear star, who died in mysterious circumstances at the age of 35.

Balan admits that the new role is completely opposite of what she has done onscreen so far. Even her role of a bad girl in `Ishqiya` pales into comparison.

"I loved the script and was almost shocked that they (Milan and Balaji) thought of me. I was shocked and thrilled becuase she is so unlike me. Silk Smitha`s sexuality is on your face. It is almost offensive," Balan told reporters.

"I think `Dirty Picture is an apt title for the movie. It is reflective of our perception of her. We feel that she could not have made a pretty picture," Balan says.

Born as Vijayalakshmi, Silk Smitha went on to act in more than 200 movies including films like `Moonram Pirai`, `Sadma` and `Alaigal Oivathillai`.

With her dark complexion, seductively pouting lips and sultry eyes, Smitha went on to become a sex siren in the industry. Her movies were labelled as "soft porn" and at one time her mere presence defined the fate of a movie.

Balan is aware that it will be a huge challenge but the actress is hoping to bring something new to her portrayal of the diva, whose sudden rise to fame and tragic death continues to mystify people.

The 33-year-old star is playing another emotionally challenging role in Sujoy Ghosh`s `Kahaani`. The film is complete and expected to release in June this year.

"Sujoy Ghosh (director) just gave me one line idea of the story while we were discussing about another project but then he kept on adding to it. He told me that he was writing the script with me in mind. He finally came up with the script and I had no option but to say yes.

"It is about this pregnant woman who comes from London in search of her husband but while you think it is one emotional journey it is much more thrilling. The film defined hard work for me," she adds.

The actress wowed critics with her performance in recently released `No One Killed Jessica` but Balan insists that the character on screen is not inspired by the real Sabrina.

"There was no apprehension in playing a real life character. The story is part fact and part fiction merged beautifully. I had to play a regular, normal girl, who could easily get lost in a crowd.

"I am wearing oversized clothes, slippers and thick glasses in the movie. It is was the first film where my make-up took less than 10 minutes and I was happy. For me being glamorous not a criteria. As an actor I am happy that I am getting the chance to live different lives," says Balan.

After playing emotionally charged roles in her last few films Balan is looking forward to unwind with a comedy this year.

PTI