Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Producer: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Screenplay: Vidhu Vinod Chopra & Pradeep Sarkar
Story: Vinod Chopra & Pradeep Sarkar
Stars: Vidya Balan, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan, Raima Sen, Diya Mirza
Music: Shantanu Moitra
Cinematography: Natarajan Subramaniam
Editor: Hemanti Sarkar, Nitish Sharma
Release date: June 10, 2005
Running time: 131 minutes
Parineeta was expected to be a hit at least even before the date of its release because the movies was produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, an extremely reputed filmmaker and producer in the world of Bollywood. Pradeep Sarkar, who is the director of the film was incidentally an ad film director in the past and it was on his recommendation that Vidya Balan was offered the role of Lalita, one of the lead roles in the film. She was paired opposite the Chote Nawab, Saif Ali Khan and both looked a lovely couple on screen.
Lalita’s character was that of an idealistic, simple yet beautiful woman whose parents had died in a car accident during her childhood. She became extremely close friends with Shekhar, the name of the character of Saif and that friendship blossoms into love over time. Although Shekhar is shown to be egoistic and rebellious, he has a pure heart and clearly gets jealous when Lalita is with another man. Yet, he does not realize that Lalita is a woman of self respect and would do anything to be loyal to Shekhar.
Their love story has major roadblocks such as Girish (Sanjay Dutt) taking a huge liking for Lalita, despite being a straightforward businessman from London. And then ofcourse Shekhar’s father not approving their love and forcing Shekhar to marry a more beautiful woman of a rich family. Lalita and Shekhar continue to have fights as a result, but eventually all the misunderstandings come to an end when both of them get married at the end of the movie. Shekhar finally acquires the courage to go against his father and get what he wishes in life.
This was a film based on a 1914 Bengali novel called Parineeta which was written by Sarat Chattopadhyay. Such was the romance in the movie, that Vidya won a tremendous amount of admirers for her role. The sari became a symbol of her real life personality and many believed that she had already created a niche for herself as an actress who can perform romance beautifully, even while being dressed simply or not being that attractive looking.
Surprisingly, Vidya was not the first choice for the role of Lalita either in the mind of Pradeep Sarkar or Saif Ali Khan. She had to go through screen testing for a period of 6 months, before she finally convinced all that she could pull off the role successfully. Her chemistry with both Saif and Sanjay Dutt was terrific to watch and that was the reason why Vidhu Vinod Chopra cast her alongside Dutt again in Raju Hirani’s Lage Raho Munnabhai, the 2006 sequel to Munnabhai MBBS.
The Lalita role won Vidya Balan the Filmfare Award for the Best Female Debutant of 2005 and she was also nominated for the Best Actress Award. She even won the Star Screen Award for the Best Female Debutant. The movie was a sign for greater things to come from the Kerala born actress.