Vidya Balan (born January 1, 1978 at Palakkad, Kerala, India) is an award-winning Indian actress who appears in Bollywood movies.
Balan, who began her career starring in many music videos, soap operas and commercials, made her acting debut in the Bengali film, Bhalo Theko (2003), for which she won critical acclaim. She later made her Hindi film debut with Parineeta (2005), for which she received a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award, and received her first commercial success with Rajkumar Hirani's Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006). Balan has thus established herself as one of the most promising actresses of the industry.
She was born to a Palakkad Iyer family in Kerala. Balan grew up in Mumbai and attended St. Anthony's Girls High School in Chembur. She later attended St. Xavier's College, where she graduated with a sociology degree, and the University of Mumbai.
Her movie career started when she was signed to appear in the Malayalam film Chakram, alongside superstar Mohanlal but the movie was shelved. After that, she was signed for a Tamil film, Run, but for reasons undisclosed, she was dropped after a first schedule and replaced by Meera Jasmine.] When Chakram was restarted with Prithviraj in the lead, Meera Jasmine was chosen ahead of Balan again. Balan was dropped from her second Tamil movie Manasellam opposite Srikanth, on the grounds of 'non-performance' and was replaced by Trisha Krishnan.
She then turned to television advertising. From 1998 onwards, she appeared in numerous television ads, many of which were directed by Pradeep Sarkar. She also took supporting roles in music videos, appearing with singers and bands such as Euphoria, Shubha Mudgal, and Pankaj Udhas. Balan also portrayed the role of Radhika Mathur in a few episodes of the first season of Hum Paanch, but was later replaced by Amita Nangia at the end of the first season.