New Delhi: She was once targeted for her style, dancing skills and fuller figure, but Vidya Balan, who will be seen in her first item number soon, is now unapologetic about herself and happy to see just how far she has come.
   
The 34-year-old actress, who made a sensational debut with "Parineeta" in 2005, faced a tough two-year period from 2007-2008 as her films bombed at the box office, which was accompanied by a lot of personal criticism.
   
"I am unapologetic about who I am. Now, I am really happy about myself, the kind of work I am doing. I am happy to have reclaimed myself after facing severe criticisms for a period of almost two years. I am not bitter about it but I will admit that it affected me a lot," Vidya said in an interview.
   
"I believe that it happened for a larger reason, for my good. I have accepted the way I am. I no longer want to be what I am not and people have appreciated that. I have realised that the easiest thing is to try and be yourself," she said.
   
Vidya is all set to do a 'Lavani' item song for Vidhu Vinod Chopra's forthcoming film "Ferrari Ki Sawaari". "It is a great song. It is strange that I was once criticised for my lack of dancing skills but now have been asked to do an item number. I don't feel vindicated but I am happy to see just how far I have come," she said.
   
"I am not a dancer. I struggled while dancing in 'Kismat Konnection'. I was almost dying before every shot and on top of that I was asked to dance opposite Shahid Kapoor, who is one of the best dancers in Bollywood. But now I have started enjoying dancing. It all started with 'The Dirty Picture'."    

The actress, who surprised everyone by portraying the role of southern sex siren Silk Smitha to the perfection, has taken up another challenging role. She will be playing a pregnant NRI woman in search of her husband in Kolkata in Sujoy Ghosh's "Kahaani".
   
Vidya sports a heavily pregnant look to promote the film. "It was my idea to sport this look. The director and the producers also wanted this but were feeling awkward to ask me to do it. I am very comfortable in this maternity attire. I love the pregnant woman look. The moment I wear it, I feel like a 1000 light bulbs, I start glowing," she said.

"Kahaani", which also stars Bengali actor Parambrata Chatterjee, will hit the theatres on March 9.
    
After her powerpacked performances in "Paa", "Ishqiya" and "The Dirty Picture", Vidya has become one of the most bankable heroines but the actress says she does not believe in the race to number one and consciously stays away from competition.
   
"I started my career in a very unconventional way. I have gone through all kinds of media be it advertisements, music videos, TV and vernacular films. I have a gamut of experience. My only dream ever was to act and I am living my dream. That is my sole concern. I don't think about anything or anyone else. I am self-obsessed and I am enjoying it," she said.
   
Vidya has been ruling the awards scene for the past two years with her carefully selected roles but she does not have much faith in such accolades.
   
"My only effort is to do good films and I am fortunate to be part of films by great directors. I don't select a film to get an award. The biggest award for me is the reaction of my audience. Awards are just a physical manifestation of it," she added.

(Agencies)