Actress Vidya Balan has been instrumental in campaigning for child nutrition & education and women's empowerment. Vidya, who has been appointed by the Indian government as the brand ambassador in the drive to improve sanitary conditions in the country prefers being called as a humanist rather than an activist.
Besides her collection of several award-winning films like Parineeta, Paa and No One Killed Jessica, Vidya's humanitarian efforts are well-known.
Vidya says that she uses her profession to leverage attention for some causes. "My work is an extension of my beliefs. I don't think I am an activist at all. I am an actor first and I try using that to leverage attention to some of the causes I am associated with. I think I am a humanist," said Vidya. "I try to focus on my acting, so that I can leverage attention to the causes," added the actress.
This National Award winner considers veteran actor Shabana Azmi as her strongest inspiration. "Shabana Azmi has been one of my strongest inspirations. I was truly awestruck by Shabana Azmi's performance in Arth. I still am," said Vidya during a fund-raiser by the Bengal Chamber for the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy on July 13.
"I like walking in other people's shoes. I tend to empathise with people, so I always wonder what a certain person might do in a certain situation," said Vidya, who was also a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival, 2013.