Actor Dia Mirza is rarely seen on the silver screen with her small but notable role in Sanju being an exception. The actor is now making a comeback not in films but on the online medium. She will now be seen in Moghuls and Kaafir and is also producing a show, Mind The Malhotras. The former beauty queen spoke exclusively to Hindustan Times about what lies behind her absence from the film scene and why did she say yes to two web series. She also spoke about the MeToo movement and lent advice on how we can actively contribute in environment conservation. Excerpts:
We see you very rarely on screen. What is the reason?
I think it’s a combination of things. One, I have become very selective about the work that I do. I chose Sanju after a gap of almost three years. It’s primarily because may be, I am at an age where I am too old to play parts opposite men my age and too young to play their mother. It’s an unfortunate ageism stereotype we are battling in the industry that has existed for the longest time. But with the choices we make as individuals, especially as women and that starts with saying no, this will change.
If you get a lucrative offer, will you make a return for a lead role?
Of course, why not! Who wouldn’t want to! It is important to make the best of what is available, it’s also very important to be able to create one’s path. I am very excited that the digital platform has opened up opportunities for women my age. And I am not that old (laughs). Some very brilliant writing is happening and women characters with agency are being written in digital format. I am part of two such shows: Moghuls and Kaafir.
You have kept away from the silver screen for long. Why did you choose a web series for your return?
It’s not about making a return but doing work that empowers you as an artist and gives you the opportunity to do what you care about and play the parts that have meaning. It’s always the role and the story that draws the person and that’s precisely why I am doing them.
Tell us more about Kaafir and Moghuls.
Kaafir is a show being made for Zee5. It is based on true events and is being written by Bhavani Iyer and directed by Sonam Nayar, again two very strong women collaborating to tell a very powerful story.
Moghuls is a historical; it’s based on a fascinating series of books that have been very well received. The writers of the show are Bhavani Iyer and Kausar Munir, fantastic writers, both women. It has been directed by Nikkhil Advani and even the others actors are par excellence and I also get to work with Shabana Azmi again.
You also have a production house which is making Mind The Malhotras.
Mind the Malhotras is a sitcom. We are very excited as it’s a format we really haven’t done often in India. It is a slice of life, fun and engaging and many of us will watch the show and chuckle and giggle.
Will you be making a cameo in it?
MeToo movement has taken the industry in a very big way. Do you have a system in place in your own company to prevent such situations?
It is a very important movement for women at the work place and to also give them the advantage and the opportunity to register complaints because for the longest time, too many women have suffered all kinds of harassment at the work place and have been able to talk about it. The movement frees woman and tells them that the shame doesn’t lie with you. You need to take cognizance of the fact that you have every right to seek help and to ensure that the people who employ women make the work place safe for women.
As a female and as a producer, we follow the POSH rules and have a system in place that encourages every person who works with us to approach us. That’s essential as you need to be approachable to your team. Gender neutrality and gender balance at the work place makes a great difference. More females in the crew make women more comfortable.
You are also actively working towards environment conservation. Don’t you think we are falling short of bringing about a change?
Yes we are. It’s not just us, it’s the world. The way we have built our economy, the way we do business and the way have we built our industries! Human beings have made some seriously wrong choices. The fact is all of us collectively, at an individual level and at a global level, have to understand that if we don’t change the way we live, the way we consume, the way we waste, we are only causing harm to ourselves.
A message to your fans.
Say no to single use plastics, carry your own water bottle and watch movies in theatres. Thank you for your love.
Author tweets @ruchik87
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Mar 29, 2019 13:39 IST
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