Vidya Balan (born 1 January 1978)is an Indian actress, who appears in Hindi films. After graduating with a degree in sociology, she started her career starring in music videos, television shows and commercials, before appearing in feature films.Balan made her movie debut in the Bengali film, Bhalo Theko in 2003. She later made her Hindi film debut with Parineeta (2005), which earned her a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut as well as her first Best Actress nomination at the same ceremony. She subsequently essayed a variety of character roles, receiving her first commercial success with Rajkumar Hirani's Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006). She subsequently appeared in such films as Guru, Heyy Babyy (2008) and Bhool Bhulaiya (2008), the latter earning her another Filmfare nomination.In 2009 she appeared as a single mother of a child suffering from progeria in R. Balki's Paa, her performance in which ultimately won her a Best Actress award at Filmfare. 2010 saw the release of Ishqiya, starring Balan in a role for which she was praised and awarded, and she followed it with her first real-life character of Sabrina Lal in the biopic No One Killed Jessica.
Her acting career started when she signed up for the Malayalam film Chakram, alongside Mohanlal but the film was shelved. After that, she signed on for the 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.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 later seasons of Hum Paanch.In 2003, she appeared in the Bengali film, Bhalo Theko directed by Goutam Halder , for which she won the Anandalok Puraskar Best Actress award in Kolkata. Balan next made her Hindi film debut in Parineeta. Her performance in that film was acclaimed by critics earning her a Filmfare Best Female Debut Award and a nomination for Filmfare Best Actress Award. After the success of her first two films, the producer who dropped her from Manasellam was keen to sign her opposite Kamal Hassan for Dasavathaaram but she rejected the offer and Asin Thottumkal was signed instead. In 2006, she appeared opposite Sanjay Dutt in the blockbuster film Lage Raho Munna Bhai. Once again her performance was well received by critics and the film became the second highest grossing film of that year.Mani Ratnam's Guru was Balan's first release in 2007, in which she played a woman suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. The film performed well at the box office. and her role was appreciated. Her next two releases were Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Love (2007) and Eklavya: The Royal Guard (2007) which grossed over Rs. 180 million;Eklavya was selected as India's official entry to the Oscars for the 80th Academy Awards. Balan's last two releases of the year, Heyy Babyy (2007) and Bhool Bhulaiyaa (2007), were both commercial hits.