Kolkata: Actress Vidya Balan considers veteran actor Shabana Azmi as her "strongest inspiration" but herself prefers to be dubbed as a humanist rather than an activist.
Besides her repertoire of several award-winning films like "Parineeta", "Paa" and "No One Killed Jessica", Vidya`s humanitarian efforts are well-known.
The National Award winner has been instrumental in campaigning for child nutrition and education and women`s empowerment. She has been appointed by the Indian government as the brand ambassador in the drive to improve sanitary conditions in the country.
"My work is an extension of my beliefs. I don`t think I am an activist at all. I am an actor first and I try using that to leverage attention to some of the causes I am associated with. I think I am a humanist," said Vidya.
"I try to focus on my acting, so that I can leverage attention to the causes," added the actress.
Inspiration for many, Viday is inspired by activist-actress Shabana Azmi.
"Shabana Azmi has been one of my strongest inspirations. I was truly awestruck by Shabana Azmi`s performance in `Arth`. I still am," said Viday during a fund-raiser by the Bengal Chamber for the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy here Saturday.
"I like walking in other people`s shoes. I tend to empathise with people, so I always wonder what a certain person might do in a certain situation," said the actor while adding that as a youngster she was won over by Madhuri Dixit Nene`s dance number "Ek Do Teen".