Sharmaji Ki Beti actress Divya Dutta on completing 30 years in films: I came here thinking I will wear a chiffon sari, dance in the rain


Divya Dutta grew up in a household where both her parents were doctors, but her passion for a career in films was unusual. She got a chance to work in films at the age of just 17. This year, 46-year-old Divya Dutta has completed 30 years in Indian cinema. Talking about her initial struggles, Dutta says that at one point she was replaced by other actors in at least 20 films.

File photo of actress Divya Dutta

Divya Dutta debuted in 1994 live in love die in love.His first big break came Train to Pakistan (1998). Directed by Pamela Rooks, the film was based on Khushwant Singh's book on Partition. When the film came to her, she was not entirely sure if she should do it. “I came into films thinking I would wear chiffon saris and dance to rain songs. I didn't know if I should play the role or not.”

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File photo of actress Divya Dutta
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The film opened the doors of a whole new world of cinema for him – from Shyam Benegal to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. After spending three decades in cinema, Dutta believes, “The universe has its own ways of giving you what you want. You will get what you want, but the ways may vary.”

Dutta has been a part of some of the most defining Indian films over the decades, playing the character of 'Andhadhun' in 'Shabbo'. Veer Zara (2004), in Vindhya Welcome to Sajjanpur (2008), Jalebi Delhi-6 (2009), Rosie Miss In stanley can (2011), Ishri Kaur Run Milkha Run (2013) and Noor Khan Sheer Qorma (2021) Last year, she came up with a Malayalam film titled Otta and a hindi feature Hide and seek,

ALSO READ: Divya Dutta says she turned down Bhaag Milkha Bhaag initially as she had a 'huge crush' on Farhan Akhtar

File photo of actress Divya Dutta

Talking about how she chooses her roles, Dutta says, “I am so glad that I have always listened to my gut. If I don't want to do something, I immediately say no. And if I say yes, I say yes. Somewhere, you know you want to be a part of a journey, whether it is because of the director or the role.”

Dutta, who has spent three decades in films, has been at the forefront of Indian cinema's transformation. “In the 90s, scripts were not given. You were told and narrated your role and everything else was done on set. There were amazing writers who would write dialogues and then say – 'Hold on'.”

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Earlier, there used to be a “certain intrigue” to it, says Dutta. “I think now with the advent of digital and corporate, with all these production houses, casting directors, it's a completely different game. You have a bound script, your workshop, your look test. By the time you get on set, you've done most of the work. Now you just have to go and feel the role.”

Dutta, who has been working in cinema for over three decades, gets butterflies in her stomach whenever she gets a role. “I don't want to repeat what I have already done. I want to give a nuance to the role. I like to look at my roles as a viewer. If I am enjoying it as a viewer, then great. If not, then I have to add something – an X factor.”

Also Read: Divya Dutta says she doesn't look like a conventional actress: 'I am not tall and I have big boobs on my body'

File photo of Divya Dutta

She says actors get a lot of praise and sometimes they become overconfident. “If you ever see an overconfident actor, I can bet you will start disliking that actor. But when an actor has a childlike curiosity, nervousness and passion, it reaches the audience,” says Dutta.

Despite being in the spotlight for so many years, Dutta has stayed as far away from controversies as possible. When asked how she did it, she says, “Actually, I don't know. But it's a fact.” She adds, “I think people think I'm one of them and sometimes they let me be.” She also adds that she has drawn a very clear line between her personal and professional life.

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“I am a completely fun person and sometimes crazy and a child-like woman,” says Dutta, adding that she doesn't like being judged. “In my personal life, I have never encouraged any kind of scrutiny.”

Over the years, Dutta has worked in Punjabi, Tamil and Malayalam films. Speaking about her experience of working in multiple languages, Dutta says, “Working in a language you are familiar with gives a sense of comfort because you know the language and think in that language.”

Also read: We all lived on hope. Last year I became a different person: Divya Dutta

According to Dutta, the best moment of her career so far was when she won the National Award for her film. Irada (2017). “I feel great when I am called a 'National Award winner',” she says, adding that the award helped change people's perception of her: “People said, oh, finally she got her due.”

Asked what she would like to be remembered for, Dutta says, “I want to be remembered very fondly and I want to have a place in everybody's life. Everyone, that means my audience, my family. I definitely want that place. I am very greedy that way.”


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