Stuck in a rut? Out of work? Just try the next thing that grabs your fancy! Look at 31-year-old Sarah-Jane Dias, a staunch supporter of the ‘move on’ policy – where you trust your instinct and leap.
In the last five years, Dias has made a Bollywood debut (Game, 2009), done the one-off south Indian film (Panjaa, 2011), turned entrepreneur with a confectionery store and is now a singer/songwriter.
Trying it all
“Well, you can’t just sit around twiddling your thumbs, waiting for work to come to you,” Dias argues. “If you have other passions, you must pursue them all.” It would also seem like a smart way to stay afloat in Bollywood – a place where you need to constantly remind people of your existence.
Dias’s films have released irregularly – Kyaa Super Kool Hai Hum came out in 2012 and O Teri released after a gap of two years in 2014 – but she insists she has kept busy.
“You have a lot of down time on a film set,” she says. “So I used to sing in my vanity van and write my songs. I always wanted to release my music, but I needed to train and get better.” Her first single, Forgot To Be Me, is a sombre love song, (featuring her friends, Arunoday Singh and VJ Bani) that leaves you with a The Heart Wants What It Wants (Selena Gomez) déjà vu.
Making music has sharpened her skills as an actor, she believes. Dias now attaches songs to scenes when it becomes too difficult to tap into an emotion. “Music makes me freer in front of the camera. One form of creative expression helps another,” she says.
Never without a plan
While some might consider switching careers a mistake, something that dilutes the identity of a celebrity, Dias says she’s “very good at compartmentalising” and can manage it all. Being this organised control freak has even earned her a reputation. “I’m the Monica [Courteney Cox’s slightly neurotic character from Friends] of the group,” she says. And hastily adds, “...with a hint of Rachel, of course!”
A starlet without a godfather has to work twice as hard. “I can’t just pick up the phone and say, ‘Daddy, get me a film’,” she states. “That’s why I pursue so many things at once.”
Dias has a knack for surprising people. She’s still written off as a model-type who can only do glam roles. “People think, ‘Iska naam toh Sarah-Jane hai, isko Hindi nahi aati hogi’,” she says. “And then they’re shocked to see how fluent I am. I’ve realised that putting people into boxes is a convenient thing to do. It makes you readable. People feel better when you’re in a category.”
But Dias isn’t ready to constrict herself to a particular box just yet. “I have to be doing something at all times,” she admits. “Next up, I want to try for a Hollywood film or an American TV show.”
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From HT Brunch, May 3
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