'Audiences should be taking me home'

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'Audiences should be taking me home'

I was the Head Girl in my school and when my teacher asked everyone in my class what they wanted to be, I was the only one to say that I want to be an ‘actor.’ I was punished by my principal for the same,” reminisces the Punjabi siren of Bollywood, Divya Dutta.

Divya has a lot of feathers in her cap – whether when it comes to unusual roles or giving her best shot even in cameos and being noticed for the same. This time she shares the stage with veteran Om Puri in Teri Amrita – a play hitherto associated with Shabana Azmi and Farouque Sheikh and titled Tumhari Amrita. Both take their inspiration from A C Gurney’s Love Letters. Metrolife caught up with the actress for an exclusive chat ahead of her performance in the City.

Obviously, Divya is elated to share the stage with Om Puri, “I have worked with him in few movies. One day he called me up and asked, ‘Would you like to do a play?’ and before I could ask anything he told me I was doing Teri Amrita. I was already in love with the play and having Om Puri as a co-actor was like icing on the cake. What is special for me is that while we were rehearsing, Naseeruddin Shah had also come for rehearsals and he saw the play but I can’t forget the hug that Shabanaji gave me after watching the play. To me, she is the original Amrita and when she specially took out time to see the play, I was floored.” 

“Hugely passionate” about acting, Divya hails from a family of doctors, “I wanted to be an actor since the age of four. I used to dance on Amitabh Bachchan’s songs and have a little concert of my own with my mother arranging samosas and gulab jamuns for the colony kids who came to attend my performance. All I knew was that I wanted to perform.” 

“I am an underrated actor, as many say. I have had a non-stereotypical and a non-cliched filmography, but this is far more long-lasting than any stereotypical one. I will soon be doing an item number, which is the result of my being open to options which are limited if you are a stereotypical heroine.”

When asked about her numerous cameos, Divya refutes, “Not cameos,” and explains that she “used to call them cameos but post Veer Zaara I don’t. Films today are ensemble films so whether roles are shorter or longer, length doesn’t matter.” So for her, the criteria for selecting a role is that “Audiences should be taking me home in their memories after watching the film.”

“My role was critically acclaimed in Heroine. When it released I thought I had done an average job but the newspapers next day were flooded with critical appreciation because a lot of people went to see the film. So a big film doesn’t matter, a film that is watched by everyone, does matter!"

“When I look back, I think even my bad choices have been good. But this year I am really doing some kick ass roles that are central to the movie. I am doing a character in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag; one of Karan Johar’s next and Special Chabbis, among others. All these have come on their own and are central characters,” says the actor who feels that she “looks the best now. Like everyone says - 30s is the new 20s.”

Any desire that remains unfulfilled? “I want to romance Aamir Khan in  a movie,” she chuckles. Are the directors listening?

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