Like success, money means different things to different people. Like all other relationships, people’s relationship with money is rather complex. It is driven not just by social stereotypes but by their perception of self worth. In a no-holds barred interview with Outlook Money’s Malini Bhupta, actor Vidya Balan talks about what money means to her and big money lessons she has learned over the years.
While for most it is a measure of success, Balan believes it is purchasing power at a very basic level, but for women, “Money is power and security. Money gives you the strength and courage to live your life on your terms.” Incidentally, Balan’s latest film Tumhari Sulu is about the journey of a married woman who steps out to earn a living as a radio jockey, after 12 years of marriage.
Other than financial independence, Balan says: “Money is also a measure of one’s self worth, which is why it is power.” She should know this because it took her a while to accept the kind of money she was beginning to be paid as an actor. “I was almost scared of the money I was making. So, I turned down some offers early on in my career as I believed I didn’t deserve it.”
Even if money is about self-worth as much as it is about freedom, Balan doesn’t compare herself with the male counterparts in Bollywood. But, she can rattle off the returns her film has made for producers, which is 10 times the cost of production. The same cannot be said for male stars. Kahaani, for instance, was made for `6 crore but went on to make `60 crore at the box office. The ratio is still the highest in Bollywood. And she has actually taken the trouble to understand the returns that her films make for producers, rather than chase a headline figure. Of course, Balan’s films are not in the `100 crore league yet, but it doesn’t bother her because like all other investments, it is the returns that count.
Money Mantra for Women
It is important that you handle your own money. There is no guilt or shame in having control over your own money. I encourage my femalestaff to save for themselves and set aside a sum every month diligently. Women who don’t work must also do the same with the money they get from their husbands or fathers.
Big Money Mistake
I remember, I was scared when I was offered big sums to sign brand endorsements, after my film Parineeta. I could have bought a few penthouses in Bandra with that money.
Realise your worth and don’t be scared of the money you make.
First Big Purchase
A flat in Chembur. Now, I invest in debt or equity as the returns are superior.
Understand your own investments. Don’t leave it to the discretion of others, even if they are experts. My father forced me to understand different asset classes, even though I hated it. Now, I understand asset classes, returns and take my own decisions on where to invest