Vidya Balan is an Indian actress who was born on January 1, 1979. She is the recipient of many awards, including a National Film Award and six Filmfare Awards, for her roles in female-led films that pioneered a shift in the representation of women in Hindi cinema. In 2014, the Government of India bestowed the Padma Shri upon her. Vidya aspired to a career in film from a young age and had her first acting role in the 1995 sitcom Hum Paanch.
She earned a master’s degree in sociology from the University of Mumbai while also attempting unsuccessfully to break into the film industry. She went on to appear in advertisements and music videos on television. In 2003, she made her feature film debut as the lead in Bhalo Theko, an independent Bengali drama. In 2005 Vidya garnered praise for her first Hindi film, the drama Parineeta, and followed it with a leading role in the top-grossing comedy film Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006).