Dia Mirza is a good cook who can make both traditional and contemporary food
A look at the flawless complexion of Dia Mirza and one wonders if she speaks the truth when she says she has no routine for proper eating. "For long I didn't have breakfast. With the kind of busy schedule I have, I just eat anything that is readily available and rush for shooting. So by lunchtime, I am totally famished. The mid-day meal is the source of energy for me," avers Dia, just ready to take a bite of chocolate pastry at the residential lounge of InterContinental The Grand in New Delhi.With Dia, unlike many other film figures, it is easy to connect. She has little pretensions and takes even uncomfortable questions with grace. Even among the film fraternity, she is considered a compassionate and down-to-earth girl. The qualities that she also had to bring alive on screen in Aashu Trikha's film Alag, releasing this coming Friday. Enjoying her pastry, she speaks about the role, "I play a psychiatrist called Purva Rana in this film who chances upon a young boy called Tejas Rastogi who has lived in isolation for 18 years. This boy has some supernatural powers as he can create a magnetic field around him, has no eyebrows, eye lashes and so on. But he is extremely sensitive. Purva helps him to open up, teach him, support him and try to bring out the positive points in him. She is restrained, stable and not driven to quick-fix solutions. She learns from him more than she teaches him."
A good cook
This was about the teaching in reel life. In real life, she has taken many lessons from her mother on cooking. This Hyderabad-born girl can cook "everything". But if you ask what she can cook best, she takes no time retorting. "I love to cook traditional food more. I cook Hyderabadi biryani the best apart from vegetarian and non-vegetarian Italian food. I make very good pasta, many kinds of cakes, pastries and I am also a very good coffee maker." As good a cook as she is, she is a good eater too. "I love food. I am just not fussy about it. It should taste good. I avoid red meat though and love fish and chicken. All through the days of bird flu I kept eating chicken," she laughs as she heads for a glass of juice in the lounge where the green-beige décor gives it a youthful look.If on one hand she has fond memories of her mother's friend cooking a yummy dish called `khausu' for her, on the other, she shivers at the mere thought of the pressure cooker that blew up once when she went to cook. "Whenever, I remember `khausu' even in my dreams, I smack my lips, yum yum," she laughs as she has a mock helping of the sumptuous dish. "Some two years ago, I went to the kitchen to check the pressure cooker I had put some dal etc., for cooking. Its lid just gave way with the noise of a bombshell. I was scared. Good that I didn't see the dal imprinted on me," she smiles.Back to the film Alag, Dia refutes that the film is more about Tejas played by Akshay Kapoor. "I am virtually in every frame with him. The story too is original. It is not a `pick-up' from any Hollywood film as is rumoured. Else I wouldn't have worked in it," she declares rather vehemently. For now, she may not be quite satisfied with roles that justify her intelligence, yet she expects to find some contentment in the "ocean of change" that is happening in the Hindi filmdom. "Now there are bound scripts, time adherence, accountable people, less monopoly of actors belonging to only one community, more professional and well-read people there. The progress is slow but steady," she concludes.Is anyone reading between the lines?RANA SIDDIQUI