With Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Ram Singh Tomar being screened at the 46th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), actress Divya Dutta feels specials, more so because the directors are her favourite filmmakers. The actor known for her portrayal of strong characters talks to NT BUZZ about discovering herself while working on the sets of Paan Singh Tomar and breaking away from the size zero concept
Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ
Q: You’ve worked with established stars since your career took off in 1994 with ‘Ishq Mein Jeena Ishq Mein Marna’. How was your experience working with a newcomer like Varun Dhawan in Badlapur?
Working with Varun was like a whiff of fresh air. He brought along a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It was adventurous of him to take up a difficult role very early in his career as he could’ve easily chosen a chocolate-boy role. It was a big step for him and the way he worked never made me feel like I was working with a newcomer. It was a great experience. He is a lovely boy and well brought up.
Q: Tell us about Paan Singh Tomar?
As actors we do a lot of films. There are many people in the industry who like to typecast an actor based on their hit films. My journey in life is to truly discover myself in new ways and not repeat the same roles. This I have promised myself because I really want to enjoy what I do and I also want the audience to enjoy my work. After Bhaag Milkha Bhaag I was flooded with offers to play similar roles. I then met Nitin Kakkar and he narrated the story of Ram Singh Charlie to me. There was something about the story that moved me to accept the script. He was apprehensive about casting me and didn’t know if I would fit the role due to my stardom. He told me I would have to do a lot of unlearning for the film and be just another face. It was the process and challenge of being given homework like a school student that got me excited.
I had to leave the actor in me and just be me which was a difficult process. This was particularly difficult because when people call you a natural actor you really don’t know whether you are acting in real life or being yourself on camera. There is a fine line between the two. Nitin asked me to react and not to act in the movie. I am very proud of this film. It has been about following your dreams and simply being yourself in this tough world.
Q: There was buzz about Divya Dutta acting sans make-up. Tell us about it?
Nitin told me not to put on any make up. I thought it meant putting on basic makeup like kajal. But the moment he saw me, I was asked to wash my face. He introduced me to the person who I once was, the person who was comfortable being in her own skin devoid of any makeup.
Q: When the industry was fixated on the size zero concept, it was actresses like you, Vidya Balan and Huma Qureshi who broke away from that stereotype. Comment.
I think we are actors and I would go by the role offered. I love to be in my skin. I am not a size zero in anyway. I am busty, voluptuous and proud of it. People call me hot and I am very happy about it, but tomorrow if I am told to lose weight for a film, I would. I go by the roles but on my own time I am happy being myself.
Q: Many prominent names from the film industry are transitioning to TV. Why did you choose to host the crime-based docu-drama Savdhaan India?
Today, society is very crime-oriented. It’s nice to lend your voice for a cause that makes people aware of what is happening around them. The show influenced many viewers. I am honoured and proud to be a part of the show I love.
Q: What do you like most about being part of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI)?
This is one place where you can actually meet people and interact with them. Spending time with filmmakers and watching films is a great experience.