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Sunday, Aug 18, 2019

Dia Mirza on trolls: It’s frightening when people threaten rape or acid attack

Bollywood actor Dia Mirza, who will be seen in the Sanjay Dutt biopic, playing his wife Maanyata’s role, talks about the social media trolls who targeted her for speaking up on social and environmental issues.

bollywood Updated: Aug 02, 2017 13:54 IST
Akshay Kaushal
Akshay Kaushal
Hindustan Times
Bollywood actor Dia Mirza recently turned showstopper for designer Anju Modi at India  Couture Week 2017.
Bollywood actor Dia Mirza recently turned showstopper for designer Anju Modi at India Couture Week 2017. (AFP)

Actor Dia Mirza, who was in Delhi to walk for designer Anju Modi at the India Couture Week 2017, has not just a lovely face but also a strong mind. And that is something Twitter trolls couldn’t digest. In this era of non-stop trolling, Dia recalls how, in her early days in Bollywood, she was targeted for expressing her opinion on various issues. In recent times, Dia’s tweets have advocated water conservation on Holi and a noise-free Diwali.

“In the earlier days, when I did get trolled, it really affected and frightened me. Because when you’re told that people want to throw acid on you, or they want to rape you, or kill you, or call you anti-national because of something that you’ve said... and they ask you to move to another country... and it’s all new to you, then it really alarms you,” she says.

The 35-year-old actor was trolled on social media when she had tweeted and urged her fans to play a dry Holi. She had written: “The irony of the times we live in: farmers commit suicide due to drought and people waste water to ‘play’ #Holi. Go ahead call me anti-Hindu.” The trolls were quick to tag her as anti-national. Dia was also called intolerant when she had tweeted about wanting a cracker-free Diwali.

Now, after so many years in Bollywood, Dia takes such crude reactions in her stride. The actor states that she has always voiced her opinion on issues that deeply matter to her. “I have continued to express my opinion. I reserve my opinion for things that truly matter to me. And when you express your opinion on something that deeply matters to you, it doesn’t matter how people construe it,” she says.

“I feel that those elements on social media who are faceless and nameless, who make it their business to harass people, [don’t] need to be taken seriously. I’ve been in the public sphere long enough now to understand that we need to be like ducks and let this [trolling] be like water sliding off our backs. The only thing that matters is our own truth. The intent is what should matter,” adds the actor.

Dia will be seen next in the Sanjay Dutt biopic by Rajkumar Hirani; she plays the role of Maanyata, Dutt’s wife. Speaking about her film and working with Hirani — he is the director of such blockbusters as Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006), 3 Idiots (2009), and PK (2014) — Dia says, “Rajkumar Hirani is my favourite director. (Dia worked with Hirani in Lage Raho Munnabhai, starring Sanjay Dutt as Munnabhai.) It was an absolute pleasure to be asked by him to be a part of Sanjay Dutt’s biopic. [Hirani] is one of those real people who tells stories in the most unique and honest way. I have known Sanju sir for many years and through the course of my interaction with him, I have interacted with Maanyata as well. It has been such an honour and joy working with Rajkumar Hirani, Ranbir (Kapoor, who plays Dutt’s role in biopic), Anushka (Sharma), and Vicky Kaushal.”

First Published: Aug 02, 2017 13:40 IST

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