When she swung through Tampa in March, Bollywood's "female hero" Vidya Balan was promoting April's Indian International Film Academy Awards and raving about a master class she'd teach there with Kevin Spacey. That never happened as Balan decided to skip IIFA altogether, but she's finally back in Tampa this weekend — at least on movie screens in mystery-comedy Bobby Jasoos.
Luckily in March between gushing about American Beauty and House of Cards, Balan was happy to talk about her titular role in Bobby Jasoos, opening Thursday at AMC Veterans 24, and how it fit into her career of playing "women who have been in control of their own lives."
Bobby is a woman with an inordinate fondness for disguises who aims to become the No. 1 private detective (jasoos) in Hyderabad. "She's a female Sherlock Holmes," Balan said, then corrected herself to say it's a more simple human story: "Of course, she's not really Sherlock Holmes; she's a simple girl trying to live her dreams."
Bobby is a 30-year-old woman — "sharp, agile, spunky" — from a modest family that sees her career ambitions as a hobby and wanted to have her married off at 22 or 24. But Bobby has very little time for love interests (like the one played by Ali Fazal) or those who don't believe in her dreams, even on her first big case to find a missing girl.
"I think it will find resonance with people, Bobby and her dreams," Balan said.
Much like the previous films that earned Balan the "female hero" title, as someone who anchors a movie rather than playing a leading female alongside a well-known man.
She's not too fond of the title, saying it's still sadly sexist.
"All females are heroes anyway," she said, adding that, like Bobby, "there will be a time when every woman discovers a hero in herself. One day."