#Books

Actors Should Talk More About Girl Bonding To Break The “banti nahi hai” Myth: Divya Dutta

Divya Dutta Stars In My Sky, divya dutta National Film Awards Irada
Actor Divya Dutta who has been part of the film industry for about two decades released her second book The Stars in My Sky: Those who Brightened My Film Journey.

Dutta started her journey in the film industry in 1994 with Ishq Mein Jeena Ishq Mein Marna. She has also acted in Punjabi movies as well as Malayalam and English movies. Her role as Shabbo in Veer-Zaara got the spotlight on her. After getting critically acclaimed for her role, she made her niche by taking up unconventional roles in Welcome to Sajjanpur and Delhi-6.

Divya Dutta Stars In My Sky

After her memoir Me and Ma gained a lot of popularity, people started asking her about her next book. Unlike how actors are generally supposed to write a memoir and move on Dutta was glad that people were hoping and waiting for another book.

Dutta’s journey in the movie industry and her various interactions with actors is what made her passionate about writing The Stars in My Sky. The people who impacted her and made the film industry a much more special place for her was what gave her the idea to write a book and she also bounced the idea by her friends.

Dutta also wanted it to be about how we perceive certain people, instead of it being her memoir like Me and Ma.

Film Industry and the Woman Actor

Divya Dutta’s book has the first chapter on Amitabh Bachchan. There are an overwhelming number of men and women who helped her in her journey and she acknowledges them through this book.

Bollywood is considered to be an unsafe place for women, they are even exploited but Dutta believes that she has been fortunate. She even feels it is mostly a matter of “your choice” in the industry. She believes that not just women, but men in the film industry are also exploited. But more and more women are coming forward and speaking about it while taking a stand.

Can Female Actors Be Friends?

Dutta has made a lot of friends in the film industry actors like Juhi Chawla, Sonali Bendre and Shabana Azmi being some of them. She firmly believes that there is nothing better than a girl bonding – a woman can understand another woman.

Talent is not limited by gender, Dutta has loved working with her women directors and had lots of fun while making the movies with them. So instead of talking about “banti nahi hai” we should talk more about girl bonding.

Dutta even shared a vanity van with Juhi Chawla when she was a newcomer and Juhi Chawla was a superstar.

Dutta and Sonali Bendre trained as actors together. She shared an anecdote while the shooting of Andaz Apna Apna shooting going on the two actors climbed a wall to see the shooting. During this incident, Sonali said to Dutta “ tu dekh hum to kaam karenge unke saath”. Dutta believes that Sonali as a friend, daughter, mother, wife, and as a person has an impeccable amount of strength.

With veteran actor, Shabana Azmi and Dutta have a girl gang. Azmi usually gets everyone together to meet up. Their girl gang chats about everything from movies to personal life to things they have in common. They have crazy laughing sessions during their meet-ups.

Veer Zaara and Shabbo:

After her role in Veer Zaara caught everyone’s attention and praises she was getting all offers similar to Shabbo’s role. But she rejected all the offers to rediscover herself as an actor. Until Delhi 6 director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra took her for the role of Jalebi. She believes he saw her for what she is capable of as an actor not based his decision on what she had previously done.

Dutta in Her Childhood vs Now:

In her childhood, Dutta wanted to be like a “heroine in chiffon sarees” but after Veer Zaara, she made her niche as Yash Raj provided her with an opportunity to launch her again but this time ‘alag tarah se’. Dutta wanted to do some very significant and non-conventional roles. She took the roles that were meant for her. She considers herself to be blessed to have been working with the same people, getting the roles she wants despite being two decades in the industry where female actors just disappear after a few years.

Dutta’s Mom – The Tigress :

Divya Dutta’s first book on her mother, Me and Ma spoke about her single mother. Her mother lost her husband (Dutta’s father) at the age of 36. It was a time when being a single mother in small towns was extremely hard because of the expectations of the widow.

But Dutta’s mother went to do her job as a doctor and took care of her kids ensuring that they never felt the absence of a father.

She even tackled the toughest of the situations alone, like political turmoil in Punjab in the 1980s. She did not have any friends so Dutta became her best friend and they found solace in each other.

Importance of Self Love for Women:

Women are taught to sacrifice and put other people’s needs first. Even though it is a great thing to do, women should not keep their dreams aside. They should do what makes them happy and have their me time which is very crucial according to Dutta.

Dutta loves her me-time where she watches movies, spends time with her pets and does whatever makes her happy. She believes that Aap jisko pyaar doge, woh aapko pyaar dega. So if you love yourself, your body and mind will surely empower you.

Dutta on Mental Health:

Dutta has been fairly vocal about her mental health issue post her mother’s death. She feels that people are a little apprehensive when it comes to sharing their mental issues. But it is important to open up to take hold of your life and let you not scatter.

If your mental health is not well then it stops your dreams, life, and social life. So it is better to take control of yourself, calm yourself through meditation or spiritualism. She even believes that you need to talk to people you love. Talking can be therapeutic. It is very important to share your problems.


Suggested Reading:

Five Performances By Divya Dutta That Left The Audience Spellbound