Vidya Balan, Milind Soman, Nana Patekar and Rajshri Deshpande – Indian celebrities who have stood up for bringing a change in the society


If you think Antonina Zabinski in The Zookeeper’s Wife was a true hero, then you might also want to check out some of these Indian celebs who have been working towards bringing a positive change in the society. Be it promoting hygienic sanitation or fitness or mental health, these celebrities have taken it upon themselves to encourage people to be the change they want to see. In fact, Vidya Balan’s ‘Jahan soch wahan shochalaya’ campaign has been working wonders. Celebs like Vidya, Milind Soman, Nana Patekar and Rajshri Deshpande are our heroes who are making an effort to help people lead a normal life.

Milind with his extraordinarily fit lifestyle, which he implies is something everyone must follow is an inspiration to so many. He is 50 and probably the fittest man in the country. Not to mention, he is damn sexy even at this age. Now that’s how you age gracefully. Nana Patekar has been associated with the Farmers suicide prevention campaign for a really long time now. The actor, who himself leads a rather simple lifestyle, tries to help farmers lead a better life that does not lead them to committing suicide. Believe me, it’s one issue that has been bothering the country for a really long time.

Here’s how these celebrities are no less than real-life heroes.

Milind Soman – Cancer Awareness 

Milind Soman is known to be the fittest actor, he is the brand ambassador of Pinkaton, India’s biggest “women only” marathon which spreads awareness about women fitness and prevention of breast cancer, which holds a purpose of healthy lifestyle. Pinkatron raises money for the treatment of underprivileged women with cancer and has successfully been a savior to many lives. Milind Soman is known to be the Zookeeper of India truly with his dedication in fitness and social rescuer.

Vidya Balan – Sanitation/Open Defecation 

The actress, who is also known as the ‘female’ hero of Bollywood, has added one more feather to her long list of appreciated work. Vidya Balan has begun to work for the cause of drinking and sanitation campaign with the Rural Development ministry. Apart from drinking water and sanitation campaigns, the actress has campaigned for World Wildlife Fund ‘s Earth Hour campaign and Child In Need Institute.

Nana Patekar – Farmer Suicides

Nana Patekar has been donating money to widows of farmers in Maharashtra since last September and has been helping farmers financially through an NGO he co-runs with actor Makrand Anaspure. To relieve them of their debts, he collected Rs 80 lakh through an NGO Naam Foundation and distributed financial help to 113 families in Latur and Osmanabad.

Rajshri Deshpande 

Rajshri is extremely inclined towards social services, apart from her acting and dedicates her time to extensively helping others. She has adopted a village in Maharashtra called Pandhri Pimpalgaon and has conducted rainwater harvesting project, it helped the locals to bring back the life of the dead native river Bembla, a couple of people from the industry immensely supported her for this cause. Rescue Foundation. an NGO that not only rescues but rehabilitates and repatriate girls from human trafficking to name a few. Apart from this, she has been associated with organisations such as: Dharavi Dairy, Boodhnoor Vaidyashala, SOS papa, Beach O Beach, Plastics along with Juhi Chawla.

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Begum Jaan Vidya Balan’s Inspiring Journey Towards Good Health And Fitness

Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan

The stunningly talented Vidya Balan is back on celluloid, and how we missed her. Vidya’s film ‘Begum Jaan’ hits the theatres soon. The period drama set in the times of the gruesome India-Pakistan Partition, has Balan playing the matriarch of a brothel, situated on the border. The brothel needs to be demolished to etch the new history of India and Pakistan as separate nation states. Will Balan and her platoon of sex workers the fight back for their rights, or will their little rebellion be overlooked in the nationalist uprising and the partition massacre that took the two countries in its tide in those times, would be interesting to see. The all-powerful female cast has already garnered many eyeballs.

Vidya Balan especially with her command, posture and power-packed dialogues,has left her fans waiting. And we are not surprised. Vidya has impressed her critics and viewers alike everr since she step foot in the industry as a quintessential, curvaceous Indian beauty in Parineeta. She followed it up, with jaw-dropping performance in films like Bhool Bhullaiya, Paa, Ishqiya, Kahaani, and The Dirty Picture. What has also made her fans love her even more is her curvaceous avatar, and her unabashed confidence for the same, especially in an industry that is obsessed which is obsessed with skinny beauties. But there were times even Vidya to bowed down to the pressure and resorted to crash dieting and similar ways to slim down the body she is so proud of today. It took time, but as years passed Vidya realized she was healthy, and needs to work out only to be fit and not match up to the skinny beauty diktats of Bollywood.

She fondly reflects back on her journey, how she used to be a plump but a beautiful child, but met the harsh scrutiny for her weight in her college, which pushed her to an ‘all water-diet’. She drank 10 litres of water everyday with bare minimum intake of food, on recommendation of  a friend who told her, it is the quickest and easiest way to lose weight. It was only when her mother intervened did she stop the unhealthy practice.

Even in Bollywood, while Vidya was off to a spectacular start and  her talent was acknowledged and applauded with every film of hers, the actress faced immense backlash for her weight. So much so that during the filming of Paa, re consulted professional help and was almost duped into taking pills to reduce her weight. Balan was revealed that the dietician had fabricated a completely false story of her having a medical condition, which prevented her from loosing weight, and convinced her to take the weight loss pills to up her metabolic rate, on consulting with other doctors later she discovered she was absolutely healthy. The actress also  admitted how even though she did manage to loose the extra pounds, her health deteriorated, she was constantly exhausted and when she stopped  taking the pills she gained almost double the weight she lost. The actress was lauded by everyone for being so vocal about the crippling body shaming she underwent and her desperate measures to come out of the negativity that hounded her.
But as it is not easy to keep good talent off the hook for long, the actor bounced back, and she gave it back to her detractors, with what she excels at – acting. She delivered a series of hits, and was on the top of the marquee.

Known for her quest of perfection she didn’t shy away from altering her body type to suit her roles. For Dirty Picture Balan gained a whopping 12 kgs. And lost them all for her role in Ishqiya. For her training in Ishqiya, she sought help from trainer Vilayat Hussein, with whom she worked out 4 to 5 times a week. He put her on a special form of exercise called calisthenics . The exercise form involves using one’s own body to strengthen the body core. It packs rhythmic exercises like bending, jumping, kicking and twisting. Vidya worked out at home and didn’t go to gym to work out. Apart from the calisthenic routine, she also did cardio and light weights and got the desired results.

Vidya has plenty of other good habits we can try to imbibe. She makes a point to sleep 8 hours everyday, and work out for at least 4-5 times a week. She even goes for run, in the late hours, if she is pressed for time.  Her goal is to cut down on fat without compromising on her curves.
She drinks a lot of water to keep herself hydrated, she also drinks a lot of vegetable juices. She is a vegetarian, her typical lunch consist of roti, dal and vegetables. Vidya was awarded the Hottest Vegetarian title by PETA in the year 2010. She eats every two hours whether it is a biscuit or an apple which keeps her metabolic rates high. She has a sweet tooth and loves binging on sweets whenever allowed.

Vidya has been an emblem of embracing and loving your body-type, and has promoted healthy living over desperate measures to conform to beauty standards. Here’s wishing her all the best for her new movie Begum Jaan.

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“I Am Not A Baby-Making Machine” – Vidya Balan On Constantly Being Asked About Her Family Plans

Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan

Married actresses in Bollywood are often asked about their plans to start a family, much to their dislike. Vidya Balan, who is currently on a promotional spree for Begum Jaan, incessantly faces such questions and is quite fed up with it.

Sharing an anecdote from her wedding, Vidya told a leading daily:

I don’t think it’s anyone’s business except mine and my husband’s. It was a serious invasion on our privacy, but our country is such. Neighbours and relatives ask us unnecessary questions. The day I got married, one of my uncles told me at the wedding venue, “Next time I see you (her and Siddharth), I should be looking at three people, not two.” This was even before our wedding pictures could be clicked. I politely laughed because we hadn’t even decided on our honeymoon destination then.”

She further said:

What is this baby obsession? I am not a baby-making machine. Anyway, the world population is on a rise. If some people don’t have children, it’s fine.”

There, you heard it, loud and clear!

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Kahaani 2 box office collection day 5: Vidya Balan film shows decline in growth on weekdays

Kahaani 2

Kahaani 2

Kahaani 2 box office collection day 5: Vidya Balan film has collected Rs 19.01 crore. Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, the film managed to collect Rs 2.04 crore on Monday.

Kahaani 2 starring Vidya Balan has collected Rs 19.01 crore. Directed by Sujoy Ghosh, the film managed to collect Rs 2.04 crore on Monday. Trade Analyst Taran Adarsh shared,” #Kahaani2 Fri 4.25 cr, Sat 5.79 cr, Sun 6.93 cr, Mon 2.04 cr. Total: ₹ 19.01 cr [1235 screens]. India biz.” It will be interesting to see if the film manages to perform average on weekdays.

Vidya Balan and Arjun Rampal are getting huge appreciation for their roles in Kahaani 2. However, most people have found the second half predictable. The film is getting tough competition from Dear Zindagi, which is a favourite amongst the multiplex audience. Kahaani 2 will also have to share theatre screens with next weekend’s release – Befikre starring Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor.

But Vidya Balan doesn’t measure a film’s success by its box office collections. “I feel humbled when people say this about me. But I truly believe that I was in well-made films and those worked for me. My past four films haven’t worked. So it’s not just me. I alone can’t create box-office success,” said Vidya in an interview with


“I am not aware of what the disparity or parity is here. For the past eight to nine years, I have not worked with any superstar. But I will say this that I have always got the money I have quoted,” said Vidya on disparity on pay in Bollywood.

“For so many years, we have been seeing hero-oriented films. Now we have female actors playing central characters so it is okay to call it female-oriented. Someday there will be an equal number of male and female-oriented films and that will put an end to these terminologies. No one calls Gravity a female-centric film. So I think we still have some way to go before reaching there. Till then there is no harm in acknowledging it as female-oriented, ” she added.

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Movie this week: Kahaani 2 – Durga Rani Singh

Kahaani 2

Kahaani 2

Vidya Balan and Sujoy Ghosh are back with Kahaani 2 – Durga Rani Singh that will hit theaters this Friday.

Vidya Balan will be back with Kahaani 2 – Durga Rani Singh this Friday. A lot has been said and written about the Kahaani sequel. With Kahaani 2 – Durga Rani Singh, Sujoy Ghosh returns to direction after a gap of four years. Read on to find out more about this week’s release.

Film: Kahaani 2 – Durga Rani Singh

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Star cast: Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal, Jugal Hansraj

Synopsis: This film is an intriguing suspense drama mystery and a cop on investigation, played by the very suave Arjun Rampal while Vidya seems to be trapped in a kidnap-murder charge.

Why watch it?  Vidya Balan. Do you need any more reason to watch it? The actress plays Vidya, a school teacher who is accused of kidnapping and murdering her own daughter. She is accused of being the infamous Durga Rani Singh who is wanted by police. Well, if that isn’t enough to convince, watch it for Sujoy Ghosh’s storytelling and Arjun Rampal’s investigating cop act looks promising.

In the last dialogue promo we see Vidya collect clues about the disappearance of her daughter while the voiceover says, that some secrets that were buried need to be unraveled now. The secrets are making us curious. Are Vidya and Durga Rani Singh the same people? Or she is against writing a false story like in Kahaani to get to the truth? Does the daughter really exist, or is her existence created to distract the police while she completes her mission?

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Vidya Balan has not followed an easy path to success: Arjun Rampal

Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal

Vidya Balan, Arjun Rampal

Actor Arjun Rampal says his Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh co-star Vidya Balan is a dynamite package and has never followed a simple path to achieve success. The 44-year-old actor says the kind of films Vidya chooses makes her different from other actors. “Vidya is a dynamite package. She’s really a celebration. She’s a very unique actor and we’re very lucky to have her in the industry. She has done some wonderful work. She has a great talent in choosing and talent is the choices that you made. She has not taken an easy path to walk on, which is always more exciting,” Arjun told reporters during a promotional event of the film.

The actor says he met Vidya for the first time on the sets of the Sujoy Ghosh-directed film and she made him feel very comfortable. “I really didn’t know Vidya before this movie. We became friends during this film. We used to meet before but socially. I’ve seen her work in the past and I thought she would be very serious. A girl, who sits in a corner and only concentrates on her character. Undoubtedly she is all of them. But when I saw her after we did one, there was a twinkle in her eyes. She has got a little babiness inside her.”

Arjun says it’s very important for an actor to keep alive the child inside them. “Every actor needs to have that kind of babiness inside him or her to be good. It actually makes your imagination good and Vidya has retained that. She made all of us very comfortable on the sets. It was wonderful to work with her.” Vidya, who was also present at the event, all praise for Arjun.

“Arjun is an overall package. His voice, his attitude and not to mention his laugh, I just love his laugh.” “Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh” will hit the theaters this Friday.

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Exclusive: Vidya Balan Talks About Her Bong Connection And More

Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan is unintentionally stereotyped as a Bong actress even though she has her roots firmly tucked in South India. It could be her choice of roles- Parineeta, Bhool Bhulaiya or Kahaani, all of which have a strong connection to Bengal. In fact, her upcoming film, Kahaani 2 also reprises the strong Bengal flavour, much like its first part.

Ask Vidya about it and she says:

I don’t know.. I think have a huge affinity towards Bengal and everything Bengali which I can’t explain and which I have never understood. But similarly they also feel this ownership of me and affinity towards me which makes me very proud. Some of our best directors come from Bengal and they have offered me great films which I have been a part of.”

Quite likely then she has a favourite Bengali dish:

I like Baingan Bhaja which is basically fried brinjal.. sliced and fried. It’s lovely!”

Absolutely! And Vidya has what it takes to perfect a Bengali character, specially with that bindi that became her signature style.

Do you guys agree?

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I had never thought that I will get married, says Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan

Vidya Balan says marriage has changed her life, adding that there was a time when she thought she will never settle down. “Marriage changes you. I had never thought that I will marry, then I met Siddharth and my mindset changed. I could never imagine myself staying in a marriage. That’s a huge change for me,” Vidya said.

Vidya got married to film producer Siddharth Roy Kapur in 2012.
The Dirty Picture actress added: “When you are single you can do whatever you want to and even get into a shell, but when you are living with someone you begin to value what you want.” On the film front, Vidya will next be seen in Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh. Talking about her character, she said: Durga Rani Singh is complicated. She is someone who seems and rather wants to be invisible. She does not want to interact with the world and lives in her own world.

“Then a certain situation of her life challenges her completely and she comes out of her shell. I never thought a person like her can evolve .That complication fascinated me.” From Parineeta, Paa, Ishqiya to Bhool Bhulaiyaa — she has been very selective about her projects.

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Begum Jaan Is All About Feminine Power In Full Glory: Vidya Balan


Vidya Balan is known for her power-packed and soul-stirring performances but in Srjit Mukherji’s Begum Jaan she says she is venting her anger.

The National Award winner acknowledges she has finally begun to express it and become more vocal, contrary to the belief that only men can exhibit their displeasure.

Begum Jaan, a Hindi adaptation of Mukherji’s stellar Bengali offering Rajkahini, stars Vidya as a brothel’s madam in Punjab during India’s partition in 1947. Though actress Rituparna Sengupta essayed the lead role in the Bengali version, Mukherji’s first choice for the adaptation was Vidya.

“I am glad that Srijit decided to come back to me. It is feminine power in full glory. You see the charm, the sensuality, the compassion, but you also see the wrath of an angry woman. I think it is also giving vent to a lot of my angst,” Vidya told IANS during an outdoor shoot of Begum Jaan in Patjor village of Jharkhand’s Dumka district.

“As girls, particularly, all of us carry some amount of angst in us. I think we have been brought up to believe that only men can express anger. She becomes undesirable when a woman expresses anger: the notion is that this is not how a good girl behaves. There is a conditioning which we can’t get rid off,” Vidya said.

But what makes the actress angry?

“Lots of things. When I went through rejection down south, I thought I had dealt with a lot of things and with criticism and I guess, I was dealing with those emotions to make sure they don’t overpower me so that I can go on. I am an eternal optimist and I manage it all with a smile but deep down I don’t think I have really actually dealt with the anger and rejection,” the actress said.

“I would not express it before: which is why I didn’t deal with it; but now I have begun to express it and I have become more vocal,” she asserts.

Recently Vidya’s comments supporting actress Kangana Ranaut in her bitter conflict with Hrithik Roshan related to their alleged relationship, sharing of personal pictures, messages and police complaints, ruffled quite a lot of feathers.

“I supported a girl who had the courage to stand up for herself. I don’t know them personally well enough to know what the issues are and even if I did I am not anyone to sit and judge. I just felt it was incredible for a girl to have said that. I am not saying it’s Kangana versus Hrithik or vice versa. I have no reason to please neither. People look at things conveniently and myopically,” she said on the issue.

Attesting to her beliefs in woman empowerment and gender equality (she has raised the issue of gender pay gap in the film industry), the actor married to producer Siddharth Roy Kapur concedes marriage tests those beliefs.

“I thought I was the coolest woman who believed in equality but marriage actually tests those beliefs and those values. A lot of times I would end up making choices that were placing Siddharth before me and he would actually say ‘you don’t have to do this’. The funniest thing was, I wasn’t aware that I was actually doing it,” Vidya explained.

With Kahaani 2 wrapped up, the actress is looking forward to Begum Jaan and the Kamala Das biopic in Malayalam. Produced by Vishesh Films and Play Entertainment, Begum Jaan marks Mukherji’s directorial debut in Hindi films.

“This is the hardest I have worked in my career. The scripts get more and more exciting and the range of scripts coming to me have only expanded in the last nine years which is very exhilarating,” she added with a smile of contentment.


Vidya Balan gets song ‘Shaam Dhale Khidki Tale’ added to her Marathi debut Ekk Albela


Vidya Balan insisted its makers include Lata Mangeshkar’s famous song Shaam Dhale Khidki Tale from Albela in Ekk Albela.

Actress Vidya Balan, who makes her Marathi film debut with “Ekk Albela”, insisted its makers include Lata Mangeshkar’s famous song “Shaam Dhale Khidki Tale” from “Albela” in it.

“I like all songs of ‘Albela’, but ‘Shaam Dhale Khidki Tale’ has always been my favourite song. When Shekharji (Sartandel) and Munishji (Babre) had come home, I asked them, ‘aren’t we shooting this song?’. They actually weren’t planning on it, but very sweetly in a montage they added it. So thank you very much for that,” Vidya said, at the launch of the song “Shola Jo Bhadke” from the film.

“Ekk Albela” is a biopic on the life of Bhagwan Dada, who, the trailer names as India’s first dancing and action hero. The film sees the recreation of the popular film “Albela”, which starred Bhagwan Dada and Geeta Bali, and which was popular for songs such as ‘Shaam Dhale Khidki Tale”, “Shola Jo Bhadke” and more.

Vidya plays Geeta Bali in the film, in a guest appearance.

About her preparation for the role, she said: “I just saw the songs as I have been a fan of Geetaji and of this film. I saw the film again.. I have tried to adapt her nuances. I know that I don’t look at all like Geetaji. I have attempted to look like her, to act like her, her expressions, how she would move her hands.

“She played with her face, with her eyes, with her hands, her fingers spoke so much, she used her wrists beautifully and most of the shots are close-up. What I realized is that there is not so much of body, but the eyes, the smile, all of that was what really was her charm. I hope I have done it decently. You don’t see all shades of her. You see Geeta Bali, the star, you see me recreating the songs. I don’t think it’s a biopic.”

Is Vidya open to do a full-fledged biopic on Geeta Bali? “Of course, I’d love it. But I’ll have to put in a lot more work to look like her,” she said.

“Ekk Albela” directed by Shekhar Sartandel, sees Mangesh Desai playing Bhagwan Dada.