As actors leading hectic lives, it is often not possible to make time for special occasions. But Dia Mirza says that no matter how busy she is, celebrating her birthday is top most priority. Growing up, her parents made every birthday memorable for her and this time; her husband Sahil Sangha whisked her away for a day trip to an undisclosed destination.
“I was born seven years after my mother was told that she couldn’t conceive so, as a child, my parents made me feel really special and wanted. My birthday was a huge deal and it was always about giving me a memory. This year has been fulfilling and I only have gratitude for all the opportunities I received,” says the former beauty pageant winner.
Her Iranian film, Salaam Mumbai opened to a great response and that in itself is the best gift for the actor. “I did not expect such unprecedented love because I didn’t know if this experiment would pay off. This is the first Iranian film to have been shot in India where the leading lady doesn’t wear a hijab. It was a tough part because it was so unlike the urban woman that I am,” she says. Dia is also most excited about heading to Iran as her father; an artist had held exhibitions and workshops in the country when she was a child. “I was fascinated by the stories that my father told me. I want to try and relive that memory.”
While Dia has always been vocal about the fact that women must have more substantial roles in Bollywood, she explains why she decided to take a break from acting. “I actually went through a phase when I felt like ‘why should I suffer the disrespect and humiliation of not getting the kind of work I deserved?’ I was in my late 20’s then and that’s when I decided that I wouldn’t do roles that didn’t excite me. By God’s grace, my production house is doing well. I didn’t have a rich father from the industry backing me, but I had Sahil as a great partner,” says Dia.
Although the quality of roles being offered to female actors has improved, Dia says, the industry still remains to be male-dominated. “There is a rebellion of sorts. In the 80s and 90s women were reduced to just being commodities, but now with thinking actors lie Alia, Deepika and Priyanka there is light at the end of the tunnel.”