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At 22, I bought my first cell phone with my own money, says actor Divya Dutta – brunch feature

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At 22, where were you in your career?

My career was focused on multi-stars. I was still struggling to get a groundbreaking film, where I could show my true talent. So I was a little frustrated because even then I considered myself a competitive actress.

And what was the financial situation?

My bank balance had just started to increase. I would count the money in the thousands and I would feel proud that I won something by the grace of God!

The actor cycling through Union Square Park on his first trip to New York

The actor cycling through Union Square Park on his first trip to New York

Romance in the air …?

I was a bit conservative and shy at the time and started dating when I was 23. The relationship was sweet and fun, and pretty filmed too. Even though it only lasted a few months, it was definitely a lesson learned.

Did all of this have an impact on your state of mind?

It has never been stable. Sometimes I wanted to come home to Ludhiana and there were times when I would call my mom and want her to be with me in Mumbai. She continued to encourage and motivate me.

Divya's first trip with her mother and brother to Mahabaleshwar, 2001

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

What were you focusing on?

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

And your biggest dream at the time …?

Work with the best directors, the biggest stars. Little by little, I realized that it’s never the destination, it’s the journey that counts. I think I found roles that weren’t what I thought I was playing, but they were the kind that got me where I never imagined myself to be.

First outdoor shoot of Divya at Aksa beach

First outdoor shoot of Divya at Aksa beach

What was your fashion sense?

Atrocious! I would wear anything that was asked of me, including some very blingy clothes.

What about your most precious possession?

My first cell 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 have you done for fitness?

When I joined the movies I was a bit plump but lost a lot of weight. I was never a gym-goer but would go Zumba, take walks, swim etc.

Finally, if you could go back and change one thing, what would it be?

That I was very naive and easily believed people. I took silly roles in the hopes of getting a great movie, but I guess those are lessons you learn. Looking back, I’m proud of who I was and wouldn’t want to change that.

From HT Brunch, November 22, 2020

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