Nice to not follow cliche norm of belonging to a box: Divya Dutta

Nice to not follow cliche norm of belonging to a box: Divya Dutta

Panaji, Nov 24 (PTI) Actors don't need to be categorised in boxes, says Divya Dutta, a versatile performer who is happy that female artistes are finally getting the space to experiment without being pigeonholed. In a career spanning over 25 years, Dutta has delivered critically-praised performance in films such as 'Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh', 'Veer-Zaara,' 'Delhi-6,' 'Bhaag Milkha Bhaag' and 'Badlapur' to name a few.

The actor believes that earlier the industry standards were different for male actors when they would venture out of their comfort zone and try something new with their characters.

'I have seen that male actors are still given that leeway of being called actors whatever they might do. If you have Nawaz, you had Irrfan (Khan), Manoj (Bajpayee) and now it is Vijay Sethupathi, they can just cross over, do any role and then come back to what they were doing and do it so brilliantly. But with women, it was a little less when you had a woman doing a different role, especially the pre-OTT era,' Dutta told PTI in an interview.

The 46-year-old actor said when she tried to experiment with her roles, people would find different labels to describe her.

'For female actors, I think that gradually happened. Now I'm called an actor. But I do feel it's nice to not follow that cliché norm of belonging to a box. We don't belong in any boxes. We make our own skies, we shine and just star in them,' Dutta said.

The actor recalled that someone used the term 'unconventional' to describe her as an artiste and she now owns it.

'When OTT wasn't there and when I was doing only feature films, people didn't know where to place me because I wasn't really romancing the hero but I had the best role in the film. So they didn't know what to call me. So they started calling me the unconventional heroine. And I just loved it because it's nice to carve your own path rather than just follow something that's there.' Dutta said she is glad to have a career where she 'can cross the images and the roles that are given'.

'I love to play a villain, I love to do comedy, I love to romance my hero. I'm doing all three of those and yet I don't have an image. So I'm happy about that,' she said.

The Ludhiana-born actor currently serves as a jury member for the best web series (OTT) award at the ongoing International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here.

The award category, incorporated at the festival with the current edition, will be presented to a show for its “artistic merit, storytelling excellence, technical prowess and overall impact”.

The jury is headed by filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani and also includes Bengali superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee, filmmakers Krishna DK and Utpal Borpujari.

'It's first a matter of great honour. It's the first time this kind of award has been inculcated... It is also a huge responsibility because what I'm advised to watch as an audience is different, but when you watch as a jury, then you have such a wide diversity of shows and they're all so good.

'So it becomes difficult, but I think it's a process which when you sit with like minded people will come to a conclusion.' Dutta has been part of two OTT shows -- 'Special OPS' and 'Hostages' -- which premiered on streaming service Disney+ Hotstar.

She said she has worked on two-three more projects that will be released in the coming year.

'For an actor, it doesn't really make much of a difference, except that there is an increase in the number of dates. But then it's a role and you play it in a different medium, it's just that. I think things have changed for the production, for directors and writers more so than for actors,' Dutta said. PTI RB BK BK

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