Indian film actress who appears in Hindi, Bengali language films. At age sixteen, Balan landed her first acting role, in the sitcom Hum Paanch (1995). After making several unsuccessful attempts to start a career in film, she acted in television commercials and music videos. In 2003, she made her feature film debut with the independent Bengali drama Bhalo Theko.
In 2005 Balan garnered praise for her first Hindi film, Parineeta, and followed it with a leading role in the blockbuster Lage Raho Munna Bhai (2006). Her subsequent portrayal of glamorous characters in the films Heyy Babyy (2007) and Kismat Konnection (2008) met with negative comments from film critics. The year 2009, however, marked the beginning of the most successful period in Balan’s career as she portrayed five consecutive roles to wide critical acclaim in Paa (2009), Ishqiya (2010), No One Killed Jessica (2011), The Dirty Picture (2011), and Kahaani (2012). These roles have earned her the tag of a “female hero” and established her as a leading contemporary actress of Hindi cinema.