'It hasn't been an easy journey'

Fresh start

'It hasn't been an  easy journey'

She played the role of a journalist in Hansal Mehta’s ‘Aligarh’ and Rajkumar Rao’s love interest in the film. It was a small role, but Dilnaz Irani has managed to get noticed.

She is one of the leagues of many Bollywood actors who have given up corporate ambitions for the love of acting. With none of her family members even remotely associated with films, Irani is slowly and steadily trying to find a foothold in the industry. But the vivacious actress
admits the journey hasn’t been easy.

“You have to prove yourself continuously. It is definitely easy for models and actors with Bollywood connection to enter the industry, but for an outsider, the journey does get difficult,” Irani says.

“There have been times when I have asked myself why I am even trying or whether I am going to get anywhere. Then something comes up and the uncertainty fades away,” she adds.

It was this something that came up one day when she was called for audition for Mehta’s film that has been appreciated in the international film festivals and was received well by Indian audience.

Even though Irani has earlier featured in films like ‘Fitoor’ and ‘Heroine’, she liked the way Mehta gave freedom to his actors.

“He (Hansal) gave me the freedom to project my character the way I wanted to. Trust was very important because that allows creative freedom,” she says.

A theatre artiste, Irani feels the medium of films is easier than theatre. “In plays you are the actor who reacts to other characters and your action is rehearsed, whereas in films I live the character and respond to situations accordingly,” she adds.

For her character, Namita in ‘Aligarh’, she met journalists to understand their body language and their work profile. Something, she says, helped her to enact her role as Rao’s editor effortlessly.

A software engineer by profession, she had to make a hard choice in early 2000 when software wave engulfed the country.

She was an intelligent student, but the mundane life of coding and decoding wasn’t something she wanted. She settled for less money but a satisfactory vocation that could allow her to be who she is. Her Bollywood aspirations are limited, as she puts it, that she doesn’t like to play according to normal rules of the book.

“I like to take my work seriously. Most of my roles have been message driven. I also have this idealistic way of looking at my work. I know that I have to change... so I am constantly telling myself that as an actor I have to explore other things,” she says.

She also feels that this is the best time to be in films because the roles are being created not only for the lead, but for principal actors.

“This change has been positive and would pave way for creative and talented actors in films.”

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