Vidya Balan believes that unlike earlier, audiences are willing to accept older actresses as films now are depicting different stages of life instead of just focussing on the allure of youth.
The National Award-winning actress said "things are no longer same for 30-plus actresses now as all kinds of films are being made depicting different stages of life."
"I think audiences are very ready," Vidya told IANS when asked about the changes that she has noticed regarding 30-plus actresses in Bollywood.
"There were times when there were only love stories and however old the male actor is, the actresses were becoming younger and younger but that's no longer the case now. People are accepting women in every stages. We are accepting that they can be interesting and desirable even when they are in their 30s."
"So I feel acceptability has really increased for actresses," added the 37-year-old.
Having made her cinematic debut in 2005 with "Parineeta", an adaptation of a 1914 eponymous Bengali novel, Vidya has proved her versatility through many of her roles. Whether it was the manipulative Krishna of "Ishqiya"; the strong-willed Sabrina in "No One Killed Jessica"; Vidya Bagchi, a woman with a vengeance in "Kahaani"; an unwed mother in "Paa"; and the bolder than the boldest Silk in "The Dirty Picture", she impressed audiences and critics alike with her acting.
Her last released film was Mohit Suri's "Hamari Adhuri Kahani" in which she played a married woman, also a victim of domestic violence.
Married to producer Siddharth Roy Kapur, Vidya also feels that marriage is no longer a hindrance in getting film offers.
"If I talk about my experience as an actor, then by God's grace lots of work are coming my way. There is no dearth of work. Things are changing for married actresses in Bollywood. Even I used to think that once you get married, you get lesser number of films, but that's not true. I have been getting a lot of exciting roles in the past three years since the time I got married," said Vidya.
The actress will next be seen in Sujoy Ghosh-produced "TE3N" and Sujoy Ghosh's "Kahaani" sequel.
But it's not just films that Vidya is engaged with. She is equally voicing her opinion on women's rights as a brand ambassador of hair care brand Nihar Naturals. She has joined hands with the brand to encourage women in overcoming stereotypical judgments to achieve their capabilities.
This time, Nihar took upon the task of making Indian women realise that, "Appearance cannot be a tool to judge a woman's capability". In order to sensitise women about their inner capability through a powerful medium that would immediately resonate with them, Nihar Naturals launched the #IAmCapable report, a national study commissioned to Nielsen.
Talking about this, she said: "Change won't happen overnight but over time."
She also remembered the time when she judged for choosing sari as her favourite outfit for almost all her public appearances.
"I was judged on the basis of my appearance. I remember the time when I started wearing saris; I was told that young actresses should not wear saris. Also media started putting me on trials then I realised that across the country there are all kinds of people; so I stopped thinking about the negative things and now it doesn't bother me any more," she said.
She also suggested that young girls should not get affected by criticism.
"I feel that nowadays we are very unkind to ourselves and that is something we need to change. We tend to bracket things according to clothes, but I think we need to be more relaxed in terms of approach," she added.