Glad youth are no longer armchair activists: Vidya Balan

Sunday, December 26, 2010

NEW DELHI - “No One Killed Jessica” actress Vidya Balan says she feels glad that today’s youth are not just clear about their opinions but know how to voice them and drive the government to act - as was seen in the Jessica Lall murder case.

“I think it’s very interesting that youth are voicing their opinion on issues and willing to participate through blogs, SMSes and even social networking sites. And the media has helped youth a lot in mobilising public opinion. I am glad youth are not armchair activists saying justice should be meted out. Youth of today say, ‘We can be part of the process to make sure justice is given’. It’s wonderful,” Vidya told IANS in an interview.

The 32-year-old has a vivid recollection of youth participation during the over-a-decade-long legal battle following the murder of model Jessica Lall, who was shot dead by Manu Sharma, the son of a Haryana politician in 1999.

“Back then all of us felt very strongly about it. I remember college students were incensed by what had happened. I am talking about the time a little later than 1999… the case was still going…and there was a fervour across the country. Sitting in Mumbai, people were doing signature campaigns and everyone felt involved in some ways. So it’s nice to see youth have force,” she said.

In Rajkumar Gupta’s “No One Killed Jessica”, releasing Jan 7, Vidya will be seen essaying the role of Sabrina Lall, Jessica’s sister who fought day in and day out to get justice for her younger sister. After living the part in the reel, she hopes no one goes through the experience in real life.

“I would not want anyone to go through any legal battle for so long because the legality aside, it is emotionally draining. I do think that the verdict reassured my faith in the judicial system of the country, but, again, as a citizen I wish justice had been meted out earlier than it was,” said Vidya, who has teamed up with Rani Mukerji in the film.

Vidya never got a chance to meet Sabrina Lall in person before or during the shooting of the film.

“Rajkumar Gupta was very clear that all I needed to know was the facts of the case. He wanted me to chart out an emotional journey of Sabrina on my own. Also, we didn’t want to misuse her kindness because she was kind enough to go through our script and give her consent to our film. Sabrina’s emotional journey is the core of the film. But, yes, it is a feature film…it is about stirring people’s emotions,” she said.

Does she hope the film will inspire youth to be more vocal?

“I have never thought how inspirational could the film be for viewers. If it happens to inspire, great! But we have not set out to make the film for that purpose. What really inspired us was the spirit of Sabrina… spirit of all those people who played a role in the case,” Vidya added.

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