The former crowned beauty and Bollywood actor Dia Mirza is often spotted in Delhi. Reason? “My sasural (in-laws) is in Delhi,” she says with a genteel laugh.
“The first time I came to Delhi was after I won the title of Miss Asia Pacific (2000) and later when I shot for my debut film Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein (2001). I even remember meeting the then President of India, K R Narayanan and then, I have been here repeatedly for the promotions of my films,” says Mirza recollecting her several memories in the city.
Though she lives with her husband, film producer, Sahil Sangha in Mumbai and spends most of her time there owing to professional commitments, but when it comes to Delhi, she says, “Delhi has clearly more space and there is a certain social and cultural experience that this city provides. Even Mumbai has iconic architecture but doesn’t have a Lodi Garden or numerous cultural centres unlike Delhi. But of late, the sharp difference in the quality of air is much visible here.”
God has blessed me with the position to talk about social causes and I want to work towards changing the society. I can’t help but get involved when I see what’s happening to our children and environment.
Dia has been awarded for her contributions in social work and keeps herself associated with a number of causes. She recently collaborated with the NGO, Save the Children, as an artist ambassador. “God has blessed me with the position to talk about social causes and I want to work towards changing the society. I can’t help but get involved when I see what’s happening to our children and environment,” she says.
Her journey to bring a change hasn’t been easy though. Remind her about the time when she publicly expressed support for the Narmada Bachao Andolan and aroused political ire. “I was 24 then and couldn’t fathom what was misconstrued… I was whisked away by police in the middle of the night to ensure my safety,” says Dia voicing strongly, “I have a problem with health and education being politicised. I don’t get intimidated because when I speak up, it is with good intuition. I don’t speak up to gain or lose any brownie point with political parties, which will come and go.”