Dia Mirza plays a crime reporter in Apoorva Lakhia’s Shootout at Lokhandwala, which is based on a real incident that took place in 1992. The actor talks about her experiences.
Scribe skills: The reporter who covered the shootout was a man. The media was a lot different in 1992. It was not that large, there were no live bytes. The job of a crime reporter, especially in 1992, was not easy. Most women then opted for careers in law, psychology, or medicine. They didn’t pick up crime journalism. We had to give a really good reason as to why she was doing the job.<b1>
Idealism vs reality: My character, Meeta, comes from a family with a nationalistic background. She has grown up with the impression that she can make a difference and journalism can help her do it. In the film, she is pushed into a cynical environment. It is then to be seen whether she loses her idealism.
On the research: I really admire some of the crime reporters on TV though there are very few female ones. I did watch Barkha Dutt’s reporting from Jammu & Kashmir when the blast happened. What I observed was that what she said didn’t sound like it was being read out. That’s what I tried to maintain with Meeta in the film. Every line she speaks comes from her inner being and is a reaction to something that she has actually seen.<b2>
The media making a difference: Absolutely. The media is largely responsible for the way society thinks. It is unfortunate that when I open the papers I see sad and bad news. There is nothing encouraging. Everything is so sensational today. It’s very unfortunate that gossip makes news.
The film’s USP: It is a real story and provides an opportunity to ask questions we haven’t asked before. I really hope there are more movies on real life incidents. There are so many things that have happened in the country one needs to know about.
Being part of a multi-starrer: Well, it’s a very clearly etched character — it has a beginning, middle and an end. It’s not a film that revolves around any character but Meeta is an integral part of the plot. I don’t love doing multi-starrers but when the movie is character driven there’s no harm.
Getting one’s due: Everybody says I have been underrated and underutilised. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do and along the way I had to do what I wanted to do. It takes time to build an impression and I think with every small step I am doing what I wanted to and enjoying it. Of course, as an actor you have to be greedy. I think there is a lot more to do and I will do a lot more.
Coming up: Alibaug, Dus Kahaniyaan, a family drama with Rakesh Roshan, Manmohan Mahapatra’s Bits and Pieces, Anubhav Sinha’s Cash and I am reading a Bengali script, which I think I will probably do.