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“At 22, I bought my first mobile phone using my own money,” says actor Divya Dutta – brunch feature

At the age of 22, where were you career-wise?

My career was all about multi-starrers. I was still struggling to get a breakthrough film, where I could show my real talent. So I was a little frustrated as even at that time I considered myself to be a competitive actress.

And what was the money situation like?

My bank balance had just begun to grow. I’d count money in thousands and feel proud that, by God’s grace, I have earned something!

The actor cycling in Union Square Park during her first trip to New York

The actor cycling in Union Square Park during her first trip to New York

Any romance in the air…?

I was a little conservative and shy at that time, and started dating when I was 23. The relationship was sweet and fun, and quite filmy too. Even though it only lasted a few months, it was definitely a lesson learnt.

Did all this impact your mindset?

It was never stable. At times, I’d feel like running back home to Ludhiana and there were times I would call my mom and want her to be with me in Mumbai. She kept encouraging and motivating me.

Divya’s first trip with her mom and brother to Mahabaleshwar, 2001

Divya’s first trip with her mom and brother to Mahabaleshwar, 2001

What were you focusing on?

I hadn’t had a dream launch. So, I wanted to find a new film that would give me a good role and prove my worth as an actor.

And your biggest dream at the time…?

To work with the best directors, biggest stars. Gradually, I realised that it’s never the destination, it’s the journey that matters. I think I found roles which weren’t the roles I thought I’d be doing but they were the kind that brought me where I never imagined myself to be.

Divya’s first outdoor shoot at Aksa beach

Divya’s first outdoor shoot at Aksa beach

What was your fashion sense like?

Atrocious! I’d wear anything I was asked to, including some very blingy clothes.

And your most prized possession?

My first mobile phone bought with my own money.

With her brother and nani at home in Ludhiana

With her brother and nani at home in Ludhiana

What did you do for fitness?

When I joined films, I was a bit plump but then I lost a lot of weight. I was never a gym person but I used to go for Zumba, walks, swimming etc.

Finally, if you could rewind and change one thing what would that be?

That I was very naive and believed people easily. I took up some silly roles in the hope of getting a big film, but I guess these are lessons you learn. Looking back, I am proud of who I was and wouldn’t want to change it.

From HT Brunch, November 22, 2020

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