Vidya Balan was born to P. R. Balan, is the Executive Vice-President of Digicable and her mother, Saraswathy Balan, is a homemaker. Her elder sister, Priya Balan, works in the field of advertising. The actress Priyamani is her second cousin. She was schooled at St. Anthony Girls' High School. At the age of sixteen, she starred in the first season of Ekta Kapoor's sitcom Hum Paanch. After that, she attended St. Xavier's College to pursue a bachelor's degree in sociology and later earned a master's degree from the University of Mumbai. While pursuing her master's degree, Vidya was cast as the female lead in the Malayalam film Chakram. However, due to production difficulties, Chakram was shelved.In 2003, she was signed on by Goutam Halder for his independent Bengali drama Bhalo Theko; her first film release. In 2005 Vidya made her Hindi film debut with Pradeep Sarkar's musical drama Parineeta. The following year, Vidya appeared opposite Sanjay Dutt in Rajkumar Hirani's comedy film Lage Raho Munna Bhai. Her performance was critically well received, and the film emerged as a blockbuster with earnings of ₹1.19 billion.Vidya's fifth and final film of 2007 was Priyadarshan's Bhool Bhulaiyaa, a remake of the Malayalam film Manichitrathazhu (1993). Bhool Bhulaiyaa was a commercial success with a worldwide revenue of over ₹830 million. In 2009 Vidya played in the film, R. Balki-directed dramedy Paa.A critical and commercial success, the film has been described as a major turning point in her career.Raj Kumar Gupta's semi-biographical thriller No One Killed Jessica with Rani Mukerji was Vidya's first release of 2011. The movie met with contrasting reviews from critics, but Vidya's performance was particularly praised. The film had earnings of ₹490 million (US$7.3 million) and was noted for being a commercial success despite the absence of a male lead.Vidya received further appreciation for her performance in Kahaani. The romantic comedy Shaadi Ke Side Effects was Vidya's first film release of 2014. As of March 2016, Vidya has five upcoming projects. On 14 December 2012, the couple were married in a private ceremony in Bandra, Mumbai. Her upcoming movies are Te3n, Kahaani 2 and Dhamaal 2.