Dia Mirza a heavenly beauty from Hyderabad, stepped into Bollywood after winning the Miss Femina India-Asia Pacific, 2000. She is gorgeous, talented, hard-working and very loving person. Her initial movies like Rehna Hai Tere Dilme, Tumko Na Bhool Payenge, Deewanapan might have not done well but that didn't dishearten her and she came back with "Dum". "Dum" also didn't do well at the box office but her work was appreciated a lot and that helped her bag a couple of very good projects. Success may have eluded Dia, but she is hopeful that her performance in Sanjay Jha's "Praan Jaye Par Shaan Na Jaye" will do the trick. Dia talks with Sanyukta, SeasonsIndia correspondent, about her ambitions, future projects and life.
Excerpts from an interview.
Why have you started spelling your name differently? Is it something to do with luck or you just wanted to try something different?
Well, what's this fuss about my name? It's so strange that everyone is asking me the same question (smiles). Well the thing is my name was originally spelt Dia. When I was applying for my passport for the Femina Miss India Contest, someone spelt my name as Diya. Since it was on my passport, I couldn't do much about it. When I bought this new house and registered it, I used Dia. I wanted to revert back to the original spelling. I always liked my name spelt like that.
What are the projects you have on hand?
Well I have Sanjay Jha's "Praan Jaye Par Shaan Na Jaye", Mahesh Manjrekar's Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav, Khalid Mohmmed's Tehzeeb, Govind Nihalani's next, Deepak Ramsay's Koi Mere Dil Mein Hain, Amol Shirke's project, Pankaj Parashar's next with Jackie Shroff and will soon be signing a film with Tanuja Chandra.
Wow, that's a long list. So are you happy with the way your career is moving?
I am very very satisfied and I think that God has been very kind to me. Every role I have in my kitty is different. Any actress of my age (she is only 21) would yearn for these kind of roles at some stage in her career. I am lucky I managed to bag these projects so early in my career.
When you say "different role", what exactly do you mean?
Well basically I'm playing the central character in almost all the films. In Praan Jaye Par Shaan Na Jaye I am playing a nervous girl who is very ugly and no one loves to associate with her. While in Deepak Ramsay's Koi Mere Dil Mein Hain, I play a modern girl who wears bold outfits, is very beautiful and can have anything, any man in the world. I have a powerful role in Govindji's film also starring Namrata Shirodkar and Sharad Kapoor. In Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav, I'm playing Padmashree and Laloo, Prasad and Yadav are three different characters who are in love with me. In Tehzeeb I have a very interesting role with Shabana Azmi and Urmila Matondkar where I am playing a 20-year-old girl with a mind of a 6-year-old. And Amol Shirke's script is a women-oriented subject. So this is what I mean by "Different".
"Raaz" was first offered to you. Why did you refuse it?
I didn't do the film for reasons best known to Vikram (Bhatt) and me. Then, I was under the supervision of Anupamji (Kher) and Vashuji (Bhagnani). They thought I was too young to play the role of a married woman. So they advised me against it. But today I will sign any role I'm convinced I can deliver. Right now, I have no hassles playing different roles. But to be frank "Raaz" wouldn't have looked half as good as it did had I done it. Bipasha was destined to do it and she's done a fabulous job.
Why did you walk out of Vashu Bhagnani's camp? What really happened and will you never work with him again?
Well, there is a time when you reach a limit where you can take no more. I worked like a slave in his films (RHDTDM, Deewanapan). I was honest, non-demanding and obedient. Unfortunately, a problem arose during Om Jai Jagadish. I was unable to do a particular stint as I was indisposed. He gave me an option, 'If you can do it fine, else...'. I replied, 'If all I have done so far cannot be respected, I need to move on.' I feel bad not getting to work with Anupamji because, in the first place, he was the person who got me here but look forward to working with him sometime in the future. But I'm glad I didn't do "Om Jai Jagadish" for a lot of reasons. I needed to take a break from that production company. I've decided not to sign more than one film with any banner at a given time. I'm ready and would love to work with Vashuji again because the approach and attitude will be completely different now.
Now regarding the news that Salman Khan had traumatized you at Bharat Shah's nephew and niece's wedding in Belgium. What do you have to say?
Its all rubbish. I was asked to perform. Salman and I were supposed to do a wedding song and initially, Salman decided not to make an entry with any girl for some personal reasons. But later, he decided to make an entry with me. He rehearsed with me, the show went off smoothly. How can Salman traumatize me when we're very close friends? People have said weird things about Salman, but I still maintain that he's genuinely a warm guy who has always given me a lot of respect.
Do you believe Salman called up Vivek 41 times on his mobile and threatened him?
It's a battle between two men. It would be unfair to comment. I wasn't there when it happened. Only the two of them know what the truth is.
Did you and Kareena Kapoor have problems as was reported?
Well yes we had but its past now. Kareena is a very strange person who does not realise when she is irrational, unfair and loud. The whole incidence took place at an event organised by the Sahara group in Lucknow. Kareena Kapoor, Urmila Matondkar, Namrata Shirodkar and I were supposed to wear cotton salwaar-kameezes with the national flag. Kareena wanted to a wear ghagra choli with heavy jewellery and she was not wearing the national flag. Namrata was quite upset seeing Kareena was not abiding with the required uniformity. I told Namrata to pick up her outfit and walk out, so that we could sort it out privately. Suddenly, something struck Kareena. She started screaming at me at the top of her voice, 'Who the hell are you? Who are you to advise Namrata?' I was shocked and very upset and I walked out of there. Half-an-hour later, her secretary Jatin [who also happens to be Dia's secretary] knocked at my room to say Kareena wanted to know whether I was ready. A few minutes later, she was talking to me as if nothing had happened.
Now regarding your private life, you have been very open about your relationship with Bunty Sachdev.
I don't see why I shouldn't be open about my love life when I am proud of it. The least I can do is acknowledge his presence in public. Being open about my love has proved advantageous for me because people in the industry respect me for it. I chose to speak about my relationship because he's not a part of this industry. Had Bunty been from here, I wouldn't have been open about it. Two lives being under constant public scrutiny is very difficult to handle.
Apparently, Bunty was feeling nervous because Vivek Oberoi was getting possessive about you.
That's rubbish again. I am involved with a very simple man who never asks me questions. He trusts me and doesn't interfere with my work. I will never break his trust. He knows I get along more with men than with women.
So when are you tying the knot?
Well not so soon. I want to act for another 5-10 years and then get married and have babies.
What will be your life after marriage?
I don't think I'd want to face the camera then. Behind the camera would probably be fine. I want to start a chain of schools - something on the lines of J. Krishnamurthy - where one follows a certain cult of study the way I did in my childhood. I want to give back much more than I've got from life. I had a fantastic childhood and I know many kids aren't fortunate like me. That's why I want to do all I can in my capacity to help them.