Monday, December 10, 2012

Dia Mirza

“Producing is a far more difficult job than acting”

By Ankita R Kanabar

(This interview was published in the Diwali issue - November 10 issue of Super Cinema) 

First two pictures, courtesy : Jatin Kampani 

She’s one of the most beautiful women that we have in the industry. Dia Mirza has been around for quite some time now, and has had her share of ups and downs. But here’s one woman who has no regrets. You come across very few people who are content with what they have, Dia is one of them. She believes in being happy and being at peace, for all that God has bestowed on her. Dia turned producer with ‘Love Breakups Zindagi’ and recently she did her first Bengali film – ‘Panch Adhyay’. All this just goes on to say that she keeps re-inventing herself time and again despite being in the industry for several years now. When you speak to some people, you’re amazed at how sweet they can be. And that’s what I thought when I spoke to Dia. Just as we get talking about Diwali among other things, I realise that her name is completely apt for her – Dia. In a brief chat, the gorgeous lady talks about ‘Panch Adhyay’, being a producer, upcoming projects under her banner and her various experiences.

You keep looking prettier by the day, what’s the secret?
(Laughs) Really? I don’t know what it is. I guess it’s just God’s blessing. You know when you have that sense of calm and inner peace…it shows on your face. I was very young when I started out. And at the age of 18, you’re very vulnerable and you have a lot of things to think about. There are so many aspects like your career, and home that you’re constantly worried about. So, it’s tough. But today, I’m at a phase in life where I have a good balance. There is a lot of productive work happening, and there is this distinctive sense of peace. I know where am I heading, I know what I want from life. So, I think, how you feel is how you look.

And your recent Bengali film, ‘Panch Adhyay’ has given you more reasons to be happy…
That film is very special to me. Even when I was doing the film, I knew that this film will be special for me. Working on a film like that has given me a feeling of accomplishment. It’s a very gratifying feeling as an actor. In my case, films give me much more than I give them. My director of ‘Panch Adhyay’, Pratim Gupta is a very dear friend, and I’d always thought he has such a nice mind. So, I really enjoyed working with him.

How different do you think is Hindi cinema from Bengali cinema? In terms of the whole process of making a film.
It’s not different at all. The filming process is exactly the same. The only difference that I feel, is the work culture. But I went on to do ‘Panch Adhyay’ after ‘Love Breakups Zindagi’, for which I was also the producer. So, being a producer, now the work culture doesn’t affect me much, because I understand the amount of pains the producers have to take. I’ve become a lot more patient as an actor with the whole process. So, I could adjust easily to the work culture. And forget Bengali cinema, even in Hindi cinema, the work culture differs according to the various production houses.

This year has been great for our industry. We’ve been seeing many changes, and changes for good. How do you feel about it, being an actor and producer?
I think it’s been a great year indeed! We’ve heard and seen lots of wonderful stories, and the audience has been extremely receptive to these unique stories. But I think, we must give due credit to the production houses and studios who’ve taken a keen interest even in niche films, and invested their money in it. See, even if a niche film releases 150 prints, it’s not going to get that kind of visibility. So it’s commendable that studios have backed films and are releasing it at a higher scale. Even if a moderate-budget film, which is slightly niche, gets a 750 prints release, it’s good enough. So, it’s been a good year, because few directors and actors got the kind of due that they deserve. Like for instance, an actor like Nawaazuddin, he’s been around for so many years but he’s got his due only now. That is unfortunate for such brilliant actors. We’ve got a large pool of scriptwriters and directors. We belong to a generation of film enthusiasts who generally want to move away from the ‘run-of-the-mill’ stuff and do quality work. So, it’s a great time for such writers and directors.

In the span of your career, you might have had quite a few learning experiences, lots of memories. How has it been for you?
I’ve had a great learning curve. I’ve evolved, not just as an actor but even as a human being. It’s wonderful to be able to be in a place that you love. From being this kid from Hyderabad who had no affiliation towards cinema, to actually being here and falling in love with films and now fulfilling my duties towards something that has given me so much, is a wonderful feeling. How many people can actually boast of doing something that they love, and doing something for an industry that has given them so much? So, yes, it’s been really great.

What’s happening on the production front?
We’ve spent the last year developing four scripts, with really amazing people. Two of these scripts, we shall start the pre-production by early next year. So, it’s a very exciting time for us. According to me, the highest point of making a film, is the process of writing. To sit with the writers and think of ideas, develop characters and then see the film and the characters come alive on-screen. It’s a very gratifying process to see a film through its journey from start to finish. This whole year has been a like prep year for us, and hopefully, we shall see things falling into place the next year.

Acting or producing, what is more creatively satisfying?
See, what I feel as an actor is very personal. I’m just connected to the script, my character and my director. But being a producer, you’re connected to each and every person involved with the film. All the time, you’re just trying to bring everything and everyone together. You’re just trying to put everything to place. Producing is a far more difficult job than acting. Any day! Production is a lot of hard work. As a producer, you have so many roles to play, and you really have to balance those roles.

Does it affect you when your films don’t do well?
You know, I’m a big believer of sincerity and genuineness. I think if a film is made with utmost sincerity, it will earn respect eventually. Even if people don’t visit the theatres and see it and it turns out to be a box office flop, if it’s a good film, people will appreciate it and respect you when they see it on a DVD or TV. Everything eventually triggers down to that. Plus see, you’re making a film and you’re only putting it there, for people to judge you. So, people will judge you. If you think someone is giving you some constructive criticism, you take that, learn from it, and move on. But if someone’s being very insensitive, you can’t take it all to heart. You need to just accept things and move on. At the end of the day, what matters is what you take from a film.

Have you signed any other acting assignments?
There are talks at the moment. I might only be able to announce something next year.

What would be your Diwali message?
Since it’s Diwali and my name is Dia, I would share a story as to how the dia came into existence. When the earth was shrouded with darkness, the dia came forward and said, that I may be able to offer a very small glow, but that also would help to bring some light. So, I think people should acknowledge even the little glow they have in their life, and I wish everyone a wonderful Diwali. 

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