|Vidya Balan is an Indian actress based in Mumbai, India
A Tamil Iyer from the town of Palakkad (Palghat) in Kerala, Vidya Balan grew up in Mumbai, attending the St. Xavier's College and later the Mumbai University. She graduated from college with a Sociology degree. She speaks several languages including Tamil, English, Hindi, Malayalam, and Bengali.
Vidya Balan started work as an actress in the Malayalam movie Chakram, paired against Mohanlal, however the film was abandoned mid-way through production. After making her debut in television advertising as a model for a Surf Excel advertisement in 1998, she proceeded to do over 25 TV ads, (mostly directed by Pradeep Sarkar), followed with a variety of acting stints in music videos (Euphoria, Shubha Mudgal and Pankaj Udhas), Hindi TV soap operas (Hanste Khelte and Hum Paanch) and a Bengali movie, Bhaalo Theko, for which she won the Best Actress Anand Lok Puraskar award in Kolkata.
In 2005, Balan debuted in her first feature film Parineeta, a Vidhu Vinod Chopra production in Hindi, directed by Pradeep Sarkar. The film met with widespread critical and commercial acclaim. Since the film's release, Vidya Balan has signed up to act in film projects in industries across India.