Thought Box

Divya Dutta: Actor-Star In Her Sky!

Divya Dutta: Actor-Star In Her Sky!

by Aparajita Krishna February 25 2022, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 30 mins, 7 secs

Aparajita Krishna meets Divya Dutta and explores her career, the journey of an inimitable actor, a powerful woman and an optimistic author as well.

She is as articulate in spoken words as she is in her portrayals. Actor Divya Dutta’s recorded WhatsApp voice messages came in her distinctly toned, expressive voice. At times she would be at the Vet’s clinic with her pet doggie Sakhi. ‘Doggie ko saline chadh raha tha. My little one is hospitalized. M running around.’ Her Sakhi, her jaan! She lost her Sakhi who is now a star in the sky.

In an ideal work-culture this petite actor with formidable talent would have been characterizing main roles aplenty. That apart, in her repertoire of television, film, web-series and stage work, this national award winning actor has done more than justice to each role. When she says, ‘I think I am a very greedy actor’, you want to pat that ambition and wish her greed great roles. It is also very heartening to learn that right from childhood her fantasy was to be an actor. It baffles me when actors claim not wanting to be an actor, but became one accidentally. As if it’s an obligation to the art world.  

So, here’s an applause to her rightful claim, ‘It is not easy to have more than a 25 year career and still going strong, better still with roles written for me. It is a very, very unconventional career. I am proud that I made it on my own, but saying that I do not undermine anybody’s journey.’

Here is my guftagu via email-WhatsApp chat with Divya Dutta, the actor and a very devoted family person.  

You describe yourself on Facebook as an Actor, Author, Travel Junkie. Many of your dreams must have got realized. Do you look forward to realizing many more creative dreams?

Yes, I think I have been fortunate that I have realized many dreams. Even if the going has been tough off and on, when I look back, it has been a dream life to me. I had wanted to be an actor all my life, though I come from a family of doctors. I became that. So it feels like a dream. Coming from a small town (Ludhiana) without any help, without any film, just the hand of my mother holding me tight, I think I did a fairly good job of being where I wanted to be. I say this with utter gratitude. There are many more things I really want to do.  You have to keep on dreaming. I think I am a very greedy actor. There are many more makers I have to work with. There are such big roles now being written and I think I am doing quite a few of them. I want to feel the excitement, the childlike enthusiasm to be on a new set, in a new role. I want to experience many more roles that make me nervous. I have two books that have come out. I want to write more. I want to travel. Maybe find a partner if possible. If not then I think I am very happy being just by myself, loving myself,  overall exploring life. I think we are in a very fortunate place wherein we get the opportunity to explore life. I rather make the best of it.

To first address the present and the future, before we go back to trace your past. Which are the works that are upcoming?

I have a huge bunch of movies coming. There are OTT web-series, but more of movies I guess. There is Dhaakad where I play a baddie. It is in my opinion one of my most interesting roles. Working with Kangana Ranaut has been a pleasure. I think she is a fabulous actor and it was great to share that chemistry with her on screen. There is Sharmaji Ki Beti directed by Tahira Kashyap. It is fab to be directed by a female director. This role was very endearing. The film has a beautiful Hrishikesh Mukherjee kind of feel to it. I loved it. I think just after the pandemic I really needed this for my soul. There is Umesh Shukla’s film Aankh-Micholi. Then there is Dibakar Banerjee’s film called ‘Tees’ that is up for release. There is Anubhav Sinha’s next. Then there is an English film. There are two web-series up for release and I am starting three more.

Has OTT, the digital web-series come to stay? What about the content in them?

Yes, I think OTT is here to stay. Whenever a new medium is introduced it is not that one thing comes and the other diminishes. When TV had come everyone would say ‘Ab toh TV aa gaya movie kaun dekhega?’ But both co-existed beautifully. In the current scenario of the pandemic, people are loving the choices on OTT. There is a huge variety. The audience has come of age, the makers have come of age. New stories are being told. It’s not the star-system any more. Newer talent is getting picked up.

What I find most heartening is someone saying ‘Arre wo jo ladke ne chota wala role kiya tha na usmein, usko hero bana do.’ I have never heard this before. That line between a typical hero and a supporting role has diminished. It’s all about a story. Somewhere it’s become a very democratic platform. Saying that, the magic of the theatre will always remain. There is a beauty of watching a film in a theatre with your popcorn and the  audience. That will not go. They will all co-exist.

Now to go back to the very beginning. You were born in 1977 in Ludhiana, Punjab. Punjabiyat sits beautifully in your performances. Aapka talafuz bhi bahut khoobsurat hai. Tell us some beckoning memories of your growing-up years, especially from the point of view of an actor’s emotional memory of childhood, young years.

From childhood I have been an ardent Amitabh Bachchan fan and somehow I don’t know why I felt connected with the world of films. I was a big film buff always. I do remember tearing my mother’s sarees and dupattas and dancing on ‘Khaike paan banaras wala’, inviting my neighborhood kids to just watch me perform on his dance and applaud. I would give them a treat of samosas and gulab-jamuns for watching me and applauding. I think something did stir within me to be on stage, to be performing. I think the seed was sown there itself. I wanted to belong to the world of movies that Mr Bachchan belonged to. I did not know how to because I was in a small town and from a family of doctors. No film connect. But I knew I wanted to be an actor.

I was in a convent school. Back then it was more conservative. I was the head girl. The class teacher asked us what we want to become when we grow up? Everyone spoke of those professions one talks about: doctor, engineer professor, IAS. I got up and said ‘I want to be an actor.’ There was pin drop silence in the class. I was taken to the principal. I was reprimanded. It did not bog me down at all. I knew I wanted to do it. I did not know how though. I think the universe conspired. I actually used to daydream a lot. Every day I used to announce the best actor award for myself. Every day I used to say, ‘Divya Dutta opposite so and so hero’! ‘Divya Dutta gets the best Filmfare Award, the National Award!’ When I look back today I just have a beautiful smile on my face.

And the language bit you spoke about, I think that comes from my mother (Naliniji). She was a poetess, a writer, along with being a doctor. I used to hear her talk, read out lots of poetry to me. In school the teachers would make me get up and read English and Hindi chapters because they thought I was very articulate. I think bhasha wahan se nikli. Phir khoob sara padh liya. I read lots of books along with my mother. I guess that helped.

Your mother Nalini Dutta was a government officer and a doctor who raised you and your brother Rahul following the death of your father when you were seven. Your bonding I have had a glimpse of. 

Yes, my mother brought us up single handedly after my dad. I have seen her face circumstances and situations in the most amazing of ways. That’s why I probably would always yearn to be like her. So much strength! The only way I saw her relaxing was when she would sit in a corner and have her black tea in her steel glass. That was her time. Otherwise I have seen her face situations like an Iron Lady. Nobody could mess with her or her children. We have been brought up royally. I can’t imagine getting so much of love of both parents from this one lady. She played all the three roles in my life: my best friend, being both the parents. Amazing.  

When you were young the Punjab insurgency began and stayed. Did you register those days in your child’s mind? If so do share.  

Yes, I have seen the insurgency, curfews, sensitive times and friends apprehensive of meeting each other. They were scary times especially because my mother was a government official. She had to be in the hospital, on duty, meet so many people. We used to be afraid. I would wonder if she would come back alive or not. I have seen her deal with those people so graciously. I saw so much respect in their eyes for my mother. 

You studied at Sacred Heart Convent in Ludhiana.  

Yes, I was there in my primary. Then my parents sent me to Delhi where I studied for three years. After my dad’s death I was back in the convent and back to the same teachers, friends, same premise. I became the head-girl in that school as well. I did lots of dramas, plays. I was the first one chosen for everything on stage. I don’t think anybody was surprised when I became an actor. The most beautiful moment was when I went back to school with the education minister to celebrate our school-centenary.

Then college followed?

The college days were my best days at GCW Ludhiana. I had the subjects of my choice: English literature, philosophy, psychology. I made friends for life. I got all the beautiful opportunities. I represented India in Japan through Red Cross for my skills in acting, dance and speaking. I represented my college in many other things. It felt beautiful. I felt responsible doing what I loved and studying what I loved. I was again the college head girl here. So a sense of leadership came for which I used to look up to mom. My mother used to write a lot of plays for me and I used to direct them. In our college itself I used to get many awards. I will never forget the day I got the awards for the best dancer, the best actor, best scholar and all-round best student of the college. My principal called my mother on stage to give me the final award. For me it was the most overwhelming experience of my life. College planted the seed for me to pursue what I wanted to.

So, acting became an important part of your school-days and teenage-days.

My first acting role was when I was five years old, in school. The guy playing the main role fell ill and I was playing the background flower just supposed to be moving around in the background. I always wondered why couldn’t I do the protagonist’s role? That guy was supposed to do the Bachchan steps. As fate would have it the guy fell sick and the teacher came rushing to the class asking, ‘Can anybody take his role up at the annual day celebration? Anybody who can do Bachchan steps?’ Everybody looked at me. So I got the protagonist’s role. I think the applause that I got on stage got on to me and I knew what I really wanted to do. Thereon at every school and college play it was a given that I would be doing it. Both in school and college I was adjudged the best actor. In our youth festival at Punjab I was adjudged the best actor. I started doing a little television, as in for Doordarshan, from my school and college days itself. When I got selected in the Stardust Academy, that’s when I came here to Bombay and did my first film.

You came to Bombay to become an actor. You came here as a rank outsider. Do flashback to your emotions back then.

I came to the industry here in mid-1990s. I was coming to a place, which I used to daydream about. My emotions were a mixed bag because I was leaving my mother and family for the first time. To fly on my own. I was nervous, sad, did not want to leave the security of my house and my mother. There were butterflies in my stomach. The journey started.

It wasn’t that easy in the initial years because nobody in the industry says a ‘No’ to you. I used to go to so many offices. I used to take mithai ka dabba for all the producers. I was actually known as the newcomer with the  mithai ka dabba. I would introduce myself thinking munh meetha kara ke miloon. All of them said yes to me and I got no film. But I thought I was doing twenty-two films at that time. None of them started. Some dropped, some cast other actors. Then my mother told me, why are you waiting for someone? I said ‘Mum someone will cast me in a great role.’ She said ‘You have to take it in your hand. We are not producers. Take on any role that is very good and make it your own. Add that X factor to it so that nobody is able to ignore you.’  Along the years that’s exactly what happened.

Your official movie debut is supposedly the 1994 film Ishq Mein Jeena Ishq Mein Marna. This was followed by supporting role in 1995 film Surakshaa starring Suniel Shetty, Aditya Pancholi, Saif Ali Khan, Sheeba. And then you got cast as lead opposite Salman Khan in 1995 film Veergati. But the film did not do well. Was it disappointing?

Surakshaa was not a supporting role. It was a multi-starrer. There were three heroes and three heroines. Yes more importance was given to the other girl. But I think I was in the lead with Sunil Shetty, playing the typical heroine that I always wanted to be; romancing the hero, singing the song, all that stuff. Veergati of course did not do well, but I think I enjoyed the experience. I was too naïve to understand the repercussions of a film doing well or not doing well. I was just excited about being a part of a big film. It was a very unconventional role. Even though I played the lead of the film, I was playing Salman’s sister, so it was different that way.

In your budding career in 1997, 1998 came supporting, small roles in Agni Sakshi, Chhote Sarkar, Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat, Daava, Gharwali Baharwali, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan. Then a female lead in the film Iski Topi Uska Sarr (which did not do well). It must have been a trying phase. These were mainstream commercial Hindi films. Were you kind of learning on the job?

Ya, that was the time I was really trying to find a foothold. When I had come everyone thought she looks like Manisha Koirala, so everyone wanted to cast me in multi-starrers with two songs, romantic scenes, being in the parallel lead. So I did Agni Sakshi and the films you have mentioned. Not great roles at all. Some actually small. But I wanted to work with directors so they would repeat me if they liked my role. Then of course the lead came. It didn’t do well. I still took it as an experience. I was learning the ropes. Every film I shot, it felt nice to be busy than just twiddle my thumbs at home. I don’t regret it at all. It was fun doing those typical commercial films.

You would have internally believed that your destination was still round the corner. And that is when you got Train to Pakistan, adapted from Khushwant Singh’s novel. One recalls Pamela Rooks’ Train to Pakistan (set during the partition times) as a film that made news for its time, 1998. You played Haseena, the Muslim sex-worker girl. It starred Nirmal Pandey, Rajit Kapoor, Mohan Agashe and Smriti Mishra. Tell us of its importance in your career.

Train to Pakistan was a very integral part of my life. That was the point when I was fed up of doing the multi-starrers. I thought I am a good actor and need to do something else. It was very uncanny that one day I sat in front of Sai Baba’s picture and said, ‘Listen if you believe in my dreams and want me to stay back then get me a film that makes me stay back. Otherwise I am packing my bags and booking my ticket’.

After a day I got a call for Pamela Rooks’ Train to Pakistan. I remember I had taken my portfolio pictures, very glamorous pictures, and Pamela just hated them. She said ‘Disgusting’. But she also said ‘I really like you.’ So just when I thought my career had gone, she said, ‘I like the child-woman in you. I want you to play Haseena.’ Then started my journey in my kind of cinema. It was a beautiful, very innocent, childlike role. Many of the actors I met became friends for life. The film opened doors for me to the kind of filmmakers I wanted to work with. Like Shyam Benegal. That film also got me my first Punjabi film, which was a big big one - Shaheed-e-Mohabbat- with Gurdas Maan. That is an experience I will always cherish.

Punjabi film Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh (1999) had you in the female lead. You played a Muslim girl, Zainab. It starred Gurdas Maan. The film garnered box office and critical acclaim. Share your experience.

Shaheed-e-Mohabbat was a very cherished experience. After Train to Pakistan I got a call from Mrs Gurdas Maan. She said, ‘I really want you to play Zainab’.  I asked her who is the hero? She said, ‘Gurdas Maan’. I was so thrilled. Coming from Punjab I have seen the star that he is! The kind of craze for him there is in Punjab! I knew my mother would have her head held high in front of all those Punjabi neighbors if they got to know that I was working with Gurdas Maan.

I think I was still very naïve, giggly, laughing always. I was doing a scene and my director Manoj Punj was taking a shot where the police comes and takes me away from my child. They put me in the truck to go to Pakistan. I was laughing, doing masti on the set. Manoj came and said, ‘Divya, ready for the shot?’ I said ‘Ya, I will just put glycerin’. I started chatting with costars. He said, ‘We are taking the shot.’ I put some glycerin in my eyes. When he said ‘action’, I don’t know what happened to me! When those guys just pulled me away from the child and dragged me through that street - it was a one shot scene - so they dragged me through the lanes and shut me in a truck. During that scene something really struck me. The seriousness of the partition, the pain of it, the hurt, the pangs! And I was actually howling through. My dupatta went somewhere, my shirt somewhere. All I was doing was calling out for my child. That shook me up. The beauty of feeling the emotion rather than acting! I think that film sowed the seeds for me. It went on to become a cult film. A superhit. And I became in that instant, a Punjabi star.

Divya Dutta was on a roll. Inch by inch as in frame by frame she went further and further towards establishing her talent. From the year 1999 onwards, some of the chosen films from her repertoire are: Samar, Jogger’s Park, Kasoor, Veer Zara, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Des Hua Pardes, Umrao Jaan, The Last Lear, Welcome To Sajjanpur, Delhi 6, Stanley Ka Dabba, Haat-The Weekly Bazaar, Heroine, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Gippi, Lootera, Chalk And Duster, Badlapur, Irada, Fanney Khan, Jhalki, Ram Singh Charlie, Sheer Qorma (2021). She worked with directors like Shyam Benegal, Yash Chopra, Vikram Bhatt, J P Dutta, Rituparno Ghosh, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, Amole Gupte, Seema Kapoor, Madhur Bhandarkar,  Vikramaditya Motwane, Aparnaa Singh, Brahmanand Singh and Faraz Arif Ansari.

As Shabbo in Veer Zara she garnered wide appreciation and earned the best supporting actor nominations at several award ceremonies, including Filmfare. In The Last Lear she acted with Amitabh Bachchan. Her roles in Shyam Benegal’s films were of different shades and finely etched. For Delhi 6 she received the IIFA Award for the best supporting actress. In Haat she played the female protagonist. It had its promo screened at the Cannes Film Festival. The film won the Special Jury Award at the Third Eye Asian Film Festival in Mumbai. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag got her a lot of praise. Irada had her working with Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi. It got her the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. Sheer Qorma (2021), India’s LGBTQ+ film, starred Shabana Azmi, Divya Dutta, Swara Bhaskar. Her role as Saira in this story of two women in-love with each other highlights the LGBTQ community’s need for belonging and acceptance. Divya is quoted saying, “After doing this film, I feel I can relate to the LGBTQ community in a far more beautiful way.” The film was screened at many international film festivals, won nominations and awards, including a nomination at BAFTA.

In 2001 you appeared in the music video Romeo by music duo Basement Jaxx from London.

Jaxx happened when I was already in the industry. I did some videos for Jagjit Singhji songs. I did Jaxx. I did not realise how big it was when I did it. It was really surprising to get the recognition that I got for it.

As actors you ought to take away from the role as much as the role takes away from you. So, tell us of your chosen roles and films.

Oh God! I remember the films I have done back to back. With Shyam Benegal it was an amazing experience to work! What I learnt was the chemistry among the unit and the actors. No one was in their rooms or vanity vans. Everyone was together after the shooting, either cooking or singing songs, dancing, bonding. It translated beautifully on screen. He never made you realise what he got out of you. I think that was the magic of Shyam Benegal.

The other integral parts of my film career so far were, of course, Veer Zara, Badlapur, Dilli 6, Stanley ka Dabba, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Iraada. These are landmark films for me for different reasons. Veer Zara got me introduced to commercial films. I had been in the industry for a while, but everyone thought I was a newcomer. At the premier I was for the first time surrounded by fans for pictures. I tasted stardom in commercial films thanks to Veer Zara. In a most unassuming way I was relaunched by Yash Chopra. That had been my dream since childhood.

Rakeysh Mehra is another person I really want to speak about. He always sets an example. He has given me roles I have not been seen in. It is amazing for an actor to know that someone believes in you, sees you differently, respects you immensely. Even as a newcomer he had faith in me to take me in Dilli 6 when everyone was giving me Veer Zara type of roles. I started loving the process of breaking the so-called image. After Veer Zara I sat at home for a year and a half until I got Rakesh Mehra’s Dilli 6. When Dilli 6 came to me, then everyone started giving me sexy roles. I did Stanley ka Dabba. I got Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and I became the best sister in town. To break that image then, I did Badlapur. I started doing these grey roles.  I got my first national award for one of them, for Irada. 

Despite being an outsider to the film industry you have carved a very credible space for yourself in the Hindi and Punjabi films. How different is the journey for an outsider as compared to the insider (read star sons, daughters)?

Be it insiders or outsiders, everyone has a difficult journey. Par unki journey ke process alag hote hain. Their beginnings are easy. They get the first break easily, but then there is a bigger pressure of proving themselves because they are compared with star parents. As outsiders everyone has it tough initially. Ultimately it is the audience that acknowledges you and appreciates you. The audience can never be wrong. I am proud that I made it on my own - by saying that I do not undermine anybody else’s journey. Everyone has it tough. We don’t have the right to judge anybody. Anyone who is good with their craft should sustain, be it an insider or outsider.

In Shyam Benegal’s television offering Samvidhaan (2014) you were in the ensemble cast. 

Yes, I played Purnima Banerjee in Samvidhan. It was an ensemble, about many people who were integral to the making of the Indian Constitution. There were very few women and I am proud I could belong there. As usual it was a pleasure and an honour to work with Shyam Babu.

I recall watching Divya in the stage-enactment of Teri Amrita, a play written by Javed Siddiqui, adapted in Punjabi by Amrik Gill - with Om Puri and her in a  two-character narrative reading out on stage the letters they wrote to each other over the years. Om was returning to stage after twenty-five years. Divya played Amrita to Om’s Zulfikar. The Hindustani version has become a theatre landmark enacted by Shabana Azmi and Farooq Sheikh. The Punjabi version had Divya perform with a fine rendering of Punjabi. However, Om who was by then severely health challenged was lacking and tragically so. His tragic death seems to have put an end to the shows.  

Do tell us of your upcoming films - Hindi, Punjabi, foreign.

I have Dhakkad coming up. I play the main antagonist with Kangana Ranaut. It also has Arjun Rampal. It’s a role, probably, I have not been seen in before. Then there is a web series for Amazon. There is a film with Dibakar Banerjee and another with Umesh Shukla called Aankh Micholi. I’m also doing a film with Anubhav Sinha. There is a film called Sharmaji Ki Beti. There are two English projects. Three upcoming ones that I am working on.

Punjab and Punjabiyat sit so well on you and your acting.  The tenor of your voice, talafuz are so good.

Thank you for the Punjabiyat thing. I feel Punjabi is a beautiful language. I am glad my recitals are loved by people.

In Nov 2021 you got the Maharashtra Ratna Award. Any other chosen awards you would want to mention. 

All awards are beautiful. The one that changed my life of course was the National Award for Irada. Then of course Filmfare as well. As a child I used to always day-dream of the National Award. When it finally did happen it felt beautiful. I think the National Award changes people’s perception of me. It adds a beautiful dignity to your oeuvre and a feather in your cap.

Your first book was on your mother, Me and Ma. It documents your mother’s struggle to help you reach where you are today. It was published in Feb 2017 by Penguin Random House. Tell us what you want to. 

Because I had lost my father very early, my biggest fear was losing Mom. The day it happened I was so numb and in denial. The thought that kept me ticking was that I have been a lucky daughter. I had a mother who believed in my dreams and stood by me unconditionally through thick and thin, even though what I chose was very risky. I wanted to celebrate this parent and share it with people.

It’s not necessary that we take each other very seriously just as parent and child. It can be expanded beautifully to being like best friends, a role reversal. I am glad I could experience all that with this one lovely lady. Me & Ma was a  catharsis for me. Penguin agreed to publish it. They had given me six months to write it. I sat for five months totally in depression. Then I thought to myself, do I really want to sit like this or get the book out? In one month I finished the entire book straight from the heart: laughing at somethings, crying through it, quitting writing a chapter for a bit, howling and then writing.

The book introduced me to the world of writers, authors. It introduced me to a new Me, a new side of me. I loved being a writer. The most beautiful thing was the connect I got with my readers. Just like I got a connect with the audience. I remember a girl just hugged me at the airport once and said ‘Thank you for introducing me again to my Mom, because I had taken my parent for granted. But after reading your book I straight went to my Mom, hugged her tight and said ‘Sorry’’ It was such a validation. I have seen my mother as a single mother, deal with a diverse set of issues, stand up with her head held high, and all of that with such zest for life. I aspire to be like her. I am glad I could write this book on this amazing lady.

Your latest book The Stars In My Sky (Those who brightened my film journey) has a very interesting premise. You tell about your experiences, memories of working with actors, directors: Shah Rukh Khan, Sonali Bendre, Amitabh Bachchan, Gulzar, Yash Chopra, Aditya Chopra… It was launched in Nov 2021 at a function by Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar. How did the idea germinate and how has the book been received? 

After Me & Ma everyone started asking me what was I writing next? I was amazed that I was not considered a one book wonder. People expecting me to write further was encouraging. I thought, what is it I feel very passionate about?  The one word that came was Movies! What made it special were the people in it: actors, directors. They were there when I needed them the most. The book was my way of saying that they mean a lot to me. They were my childhood favourites and I got to work with them. Somewhere I built a beautiful bond with them. Be it Mr Bachchan, Shabanaji, Rishi Kapoor, Shyam Benegal or Yash Chopra. Some who were my peers, but senior to me like Shah Rukh, Salman. What amazing experiences I had with them! We just keep talking about fights, differences, disagreements, but we forget bonds that we share with people who make your journey beautiful. And this book is for those.

You are quoted saying in HT City Today, Nov 2021, ‘We do live in a male dominated society. Though things have got better for female actors with respect to pay parity, there is still a long way to go.’ Do elucidate. And what about sexism in the industry?

If you see the masses they would first ask, ‘Picture ka hero kaun hai?’ In that sense of course it is a male dominated industry. They always think who is the hero of the film and then comes the heroine. I also think it is a demand and supply thing in today’s times. So many female stars have given big hits. They are a huge hit with the audience. I am very proud of these girls. But I do think we have a long way to go. We are progressing gradually. About sexism I think with the OTT coming, it has lessened in a certain way. But I must say that it is a part of our society. It will go in bits and pieces, if it does. Hai toh sahi usko hum nakaar nahi sakte.

What is the one or two very chosen, dear compliments you cherish from colleagues or seniors?

What I cherish is the love I have got from the people I am really fond of. It’s amazing when feelings are reciprocated. When I wrote Stars in My Sky, the sweetest and most cherished experience for me is when I shared the chapters of whoever they were written on. I was overwhelmed to see them emotional, see them sharing their feelings for me. Such a cherished memory! Somewhere they are so fond of me, they look up to me, they trust me and have faith in me as an actor and as a person. I think this is the best compliment that needs no words. It is so unsaid and beautiful.

You are into yoga, meditation, food-routine and gym for keeping fit. Right?

Yes, I am a lot into Yoga. I think it really keeps me sane and balanced. I love it. I am not a very gym person. Yoga, walks and swimming keep me going. Meditation I have just started doing.  I used to be hyper, but I think somewhere I calmed down. Meditation really makes you feel better.

From what I know you are a single woman. Obviously out of choice. How easy or difficult is it to be one? Does a male companionship or marriage figure in your scheme of things?

Yes, I am very happy being a single woman. It feels lovely. I did meet a lot of men but I don’t think they were the right ones for me to take as companion. I do feel you need to be peaceful and happy within. If your partner is such that he nurtures the feeling, the peace and happiness and your growth, then that’s great. But if not, then it is better to be single. I think I am pretty happy being the way I am. But saying that I am of course open to a beautiful relationship. If it ever happens. I believe in love.

Beyond her voice I could visualize Divya giving one of her beautiful smiles.  

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