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No one quite like her...

To her Miss Asia Pacific crown, Bollywood has so far only added thorns. But Dia Mirza takes it in her stride

Photo: Sandeep Saxena

THE CYNICAL might attribute her lack of airs to her dearth of hits. But even before acquiring the flop tag, Dia Mirza came across as polite, spontaneous, intelligent, warm and enduring, during her debut in Rehna Hai Tere Dil Main. She dismisses all the snide remarks about her latest role as Jiya the bar girl and stripper - in the just-released Tum Sa Nahin Dekha - as a sign of the skin show route to success. And says she constantly reminds herself she is portraying not herself, but a character in every film. It is when she is convinced such people exist, that she accepts a role.

"Jiya is not a born bar girl. She works as one due to necessity. But morally she is very strong. Yes, there is skin show through the stripping scene in a song, but that does not make it an item number. Without this song, the character cannot be justified. It is such a convincing story. Its character has given me so much confidence that I would be a failure if I am not able to convince my audience through my role," asserts Dia.

Author-backed roles

Countering charges she accepted the role out of desperation for a hit, she is easy. "If I have survived six flops, I will survive such accusations too. The film industry is a very tough place to work in. People are queued up to throw you out. My films didn't work but I got to explore diverse roles. How many times do you get to lead such a diverse life? It is only because of this I am now getting author-backed roles in three films, Naam Gum Jayega, Pratiksha and Sena, which so far only actresses like Tabu used to get."

Not that portraying such a character is easy. "God uses weird ways to deal with you. Through characters you play, He tells you that they exist, yet playing them on screen needs a lot of self convincing," comments Dia, saying such roles put her through a lot.

"In Naam Gum Jaygea I am playing a psychological patient. In a hypnosis scene I am made to go through the age group of two, five, 14, 17 and then 21. Here I had to convey the pain process through my closed eyes. It was emotionally very draining. Whenever I do such roles, I always go home with acute headache. But such nights give me nice sleep too, for a feeling of artistic satisfaction prevails over the pain."

The spineless redeemed

And she knows that spoilt brats like Emraan's character in Tum Sa... too exist. "Most men are usually spineless when it comes to money and emotions. But since Emraan is the hero of this film, he has the capability to realise his mistakes, which men otherwise do not have," she sums up.

Despite the Miss Asia Pacific crown, Dia comes across as sensitive, down-to-earth and knowledgeable. For this she gives credit to her parents, who saw her through a "very traumatic childhood".

"I lost my natural father. My mother got remarried. Adjustment problem with a new father was distressing. But he was a wonderful human being. I inherited his surname. My mother is my strength. She keeps me well informed of all current issues. It is such a revelation to wake up to an educated mother when I see others who aren't blessed with one."


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