So, how different is Alag?
I think Alag is a deeply sensitive story about a boy whose only struggle in life is to fine acceptance. It could be anyone, acceptance at home, with our families or at the workplace.
What kind of character are you playing in this film?
I play a character called Apoorva Rana who is a psychologist. She is instrumental in introducing this man Tejas Rastogi to the world, in helping him to understand the world. At the end of the film she learns more from him. The philosophy that ‘You teach best when most people learn’ is apt for the film.
How difficult was it to romantically relate with a man who was bald and with no eyelashes?
The most endearing thing about this film is that the romance is not typical. The love that they share for each other is very subliminal, and not in-you-face. There’s not a single scene in the film where we go “Main Tumse Pyaar Karti Hoon”. Akshay is a newcomer, a young boy but he has done a really very fine job of playing such an unconventional character.
You’ve been hosting lots of award shows, participating as celebrity judge in the Great Indian Laughter Challenge etc. Is it a conscious effort to project yourself more in the public memory?
I think it is important for people to discover the real me. For a long time people didn’t know what Diya Mirza was all about. I had completely restricted myself to going to the sets, doing my job and going back home. My PR levels were pathetic. Yes, I have made a conscious effort to go out there and let people know the real me. And it’s really helped a lot. It has given people the opportunity to discover the person within me. People have responded very very positively.
You made an impressive beginning with Rehna Hai Mere Dil Mein. And after that you did several films where you were not exactly the main lead. Do you think it was the right move at the part of your career?
It was the only move I could have made at that time because the kind of solo films that were being offered to me were not the sensibility I wanted to be associated with. And the kind of sensibility I did choose to be associated with didn’t have me being projected as the solo lead. But having said that I think I have broken the bridge. I have reached where I wanted to because all those people with whom I desperately wanted to work with, have come back and signed me for films where I play more than a small part. I don’t want to follow the norms. I don’t want to do films because Hindi Film actresses are required to do a certain kind of cinema. I just want to do what I feel like doing. And that’s exactly what I am doing.
What are the films that you are doing?
There’s Munnabhai Part 2, Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd., Familywala, a special appearance in Phir Hera Pheri, I’ve signed Anant Mahadevan’s next and I am doing Raja Mukherjee’s film which is my first regional film. I am having fun.
Who are the directors you’d like to work with?
Well, there are lots. The directors who’ve come in to picture in the last three or four years I find incredibly exciting. Vishal Bharadwaj, Raju Hirani who is my greatest dream to work with and I am working with him in Munnabhai, Reema Karte who is absolutely brilliant in Honeymoon Travels, Farhan is another very exciting director, Zoya Akhtar is again new blood, new generation, new approach to Hindi cinema. These are the kind of people I want to be associated with.
Actors you admire
I’ve always admired Naseeruddin Shah, Nana Patekar, Aamir Khan, Hrithik is a huge inspiration. I was very lazy till I saw his zest and energy. His sheer will to succeed and to make a difference. He is a good dancer but he still works so hard at it. I’ve learnt a lot from a lot of people and I hope I get an opportunity to work with them.