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    Dec 2008


    Default I’ve done ridiculous films for money: Diya

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    Actress and former Miss India Diya Mirza talks straight – no cliches, no hang-ups.

    “We live with concepts like ‘Our parents should be like this, friends should be like this’ and all this creates baggage. That takes away from the real experience. I allow interaction the way it’s meant to be. I used to be terrified of interviews and what a journo might ask me. But then I told myself, ‘There’s nothing about my life that I’m ashamed of, so why am I afraid?’ Yes, there were some negative stories, but I told myself that not everybody’s going to be bad,” she says.

    Diya hasn’t been seen on screen for a while now, but she says she’s been busy with as many as six movies. She was in Delhi recently to promote one of them, enjoying a cool moment by the poolside. But barring Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein, there aren’t many films that the audience remembers her for. How does she select projects?

    “I do a film if I like the story, for friendship, or if I’ve felt the need to earn a certain amount of money at some time to buy a house or to pay my home loans. My decisions are based on practical reasons. Today, I’ll do a film if I think I should be a part of it. I have the luxury of that today because I’ve done whatever I had to do,” she says.
    So she admits she did films for money? “Totally! I left home when I was 18. Everything I’ve earned is on my own. I took no money from my parents. We all know that sustaining a life – and a good life – is not easy. I’ve kept my values in place. I’ve tried very hard to never do anything that I believe is against the grain of my work ethic. And yes, I have done ridiculous films for the money.” Would she want to name a few? “I think it’ll be unfair to the filmmakers, in retrospect. But I’ll be honest, I did Cash because it paid me well. It was a big budget film, it was fun, I didn’t believe in it, it didn’t inspire me, but I was like, they are paying me well, let me do it,” Diya says.

    Looking pretty in little make-up, no jewellery except for a string of beads around her neck, Diya says, “Jewellery, handbags and shoes do not make a woman. Unfortunately, my generation is so caught up with labels, it appals me. I like simplicity.” And has she found a man who’s in love with her simplicity? “No, I’m not seeing anyone and even if I were, I wouldn’t want to talk about it because I’ve realised that star relationships become drawing room conversations. Where I shop and where I eat is nobody’s business. Today, it’s not just about admitting that you’re in a relationship, it goes beyond. I won’t be surprised if somebody asks me, ‘How’s your sex life?’” she says. But couples like Saif and Kareena have admitted to their relationship... “Look at their lives! They’re happy, they are seeing each other and that’s all one needs to know. Why do you need to know who gave her a love bite, how many love bites she has? It became national news,” Diya fumes.

    She also feels very strongly about actresses saying they can’t get married because they’re concentrating on their careers. “I don’t understand that – what does it mean? If you get married, you can’t work? Or do you think you’ll become less appealing if you’re married? It’s all in the mind, yaar. If you’re gorgeous, you’ll stay like that and if you’re a brilliant actor, nobody can take that away from you. International cinema has so many examples. I can understand if you say, ‘I can’t get married because I don’t have the time to invest in a relationship’,” she says.

    And while she’s at it, the other thing that Diya admits she has a huge problem with is the Delhi Police. “The stories I’ve heard and the things I’ve seen scare me. I’d never feel safe if a policeman asked me to stop my car in Delhi. What is it with north Indian men? They seem to have no respect for women. You know, Sheila Dikshit is such a good chief minister, she needs to do something about the cops here. I was coming here and when my mother came to know, she lost her sleep and appetite. She asked me not to go to any nightclub or go out because she doesn’t trust this city. This is the capital and you have to think twenty times before you step out of your home at night,” says Diya.



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