Fortunate for having the freedom to express myself: Divya Dutta
National Award-winning actor and writer Divya Dutta was in Chandigarh to deliver a keynote address at Literati-21, the Chandigarh literature festival, at the UT Guest House, on Sunday
National Award-winning actor and writer Divya Dutta was in Chandigarh to deliver a keynote address at Literati-21, the Chandigarh literature festival, at the UT Guest House, on Sunday.
She spoke to Hindustan Times on her writings, films, and more.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s Literati, Divya says, “In the times we live in, everything depends on hope, so this year’s Literati theme ‘manifesting hope’ is a positive title as the way we think, work and express ourselves to the world has to manifest hope because that is what keeps us going through the thick and thin of life.”
On her writing curve from Me and Ma to The Stars in My Sky: Those Who Brightened My Film Journey, she says, “After the first book, everyone asked what was I coming up with next. And when I thought it was time to write again about what I’m most passionate about and that happens to be my world of movies and the people who made a difference in my journey.”
More power to women writers
“Everyone has their own journey, but there are always a few people who make that worth it, by bringing you to smile, patting your back, saying the right words at the right moment, all that and more. You work with these people, you meet them, have fun with them but not many times do you actually tell them about your gratitude. So, this book is all about that and I’m overwhelmed with the response,” Dutta says.
On her journey as a female writer, she says, “I am a fortunate woman for having the freedom to express myself the way I want to – as an actor and now as a writer. That’s a liberating feeling. To get acknowledged for it is even more so. I feel so good to see so many women writers at the literature fests, it’s really heartening.”
She reveals that she is working on many upcoming films, including a Dibakar Banerjee film, Aankh Micholi, Dhaakad, Sharmaji Ki Beti, two web shows, two short films, and two English films.
Playing it by the heart
“I don’t ever want to be stereotyped because if that happens, I’ll get bored. And if I’m bored, I won’t be able to enjoy my work. So, my mantra is that I read a script or hear it and if my heart jumps with joy, I know that I want to do it. Nowadays, such amazing stories are being written and such brilliant roles played that you feel lucky to be given such diverse roles to play,” the actor says.
Of all the work she has done so far, Veer-Zaara and Delhi-6, she says, were the toughest and most-interesting roles as they were path-breaking, required a lot of preparation on language, and homework in getting into the character. So, these two films are closest to her heart.
On the current Punjabi cinema scenario, the Ludhiana girl says, “I’m very happy with the current scene. I’m part of one of the films under Gippy Grewal’s production called Maa, which is to release on Mother’s Day. I’m so glad to see such different films of different genres being made here.”
“Earlier, I used to think that only comedy films are now being produced in Punjabi cinema, but even in the comedy genre, I see that these are very different films. The audience wants that and the makers are making them, so it makes me happy and proud,” she says.
City Beautiful connection
On her Chandigarh connect, she says: “It’s my childhood city. This is the place that gave me opportunities. As a student, I was affiliated with Panjab University and had won the best actor award at the youth fest and another best orator award. So, Chandigarh gave me chances and told me that I was acknowledged and applauded. And this city has always been close to me because of its great balance of city life and warmth that we Punjabis have.”
“Also, I shot my first two films here, Train to Pakistan and Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh. So, that’s another beautiful connection,” the Bhaag Milkha Bhaag actor concludes.