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Last Updated 23.06.2024 | 10:12 PM IST
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EXCLUSIVE: Divya Dutta speaks about a rocking 2022; opens up about her love for Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan while growing up: “I had a huge crush on both Salman and Shah Rukh. I don’t know how I handled both of them in Karan Arjun. Like how can I decide who is HOTTER?”

en Bollywood News EXCLUSIVE: Divya Dutta speaks about a rocking 2022; opens up about her love for Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan while growing up: “I had a huge crush on both Salman and Shah Rukh. I don’t know how I handled both of them in Karan Arjun. Like how can I decide who is HOTTER?”

The talented and charming Divya Dutta was at her wittiest and funniest best as she exclusively spoke to Bollywood Hungama about the year gone by and her upcoming projects. She also went down memory lane and remembered her co-stars Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan.

EXCLUSIVE: Divya Dutta speaks about a rocking 2022; opens up about her love for Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan while growing up: “I had a huge crush on both Salman and Shah Rukh. I don’t know how I handled both of them in Karan Arjun. Like how can I decide who is HOTTER?”

How was 2022 for you?
It was a very gratifying year. I shot for some really interesting films which saw a release in 2022. I started the year with the Punjabi film Maa where I play a woman from the age of 30 to 65. That was an amazing experience. I was sceptical to take up the part, especially about getting the body language right of a 60-year-old. Thankfully, doing this film was satisfying and the kind of love I received was unprecedented. The moment the screening finished, people cried, hugged me, touched my feet and gave me shagun! When experiences like this happen, your journey as an actor becomes more beautiful.

2 weeks later, Dhaakad was released. It’s one of my very favourite roles for the simple fact that it’s nothing like me. I used to be very surprised getting the mean streak out and I really enjoyed bringing alive the look and the sauciness of the character.

Sheer Qorma, meanwhile, is a beautiful film and wherever it’s gone, it has received a lot of love as well as awards. It’ll be released soon on a digital platform. The last release was Nazar Andaaz, which was a slice-of-life flick. So, I had 4 films of different genres this year. For a female actor, to be offered such a distinct variety of roles even in terms of physicality and looks feels lovely.

Your role in Dhaakad is very close to your heart. In your new house, you have even put up a portrait of yourself in the Dhaakad avatar. Hence, did it hurt when it didn’t work at the box office and didn’t get the love despite the scale and action in it?
It was a grandly made film and of course, it was made with a lot of love. Nevertheless, it has been very well watched on Zee5. It’s also about people going to the cinemas and what drives them to do so in the first place. So, yeah (Dhaakad not doing well) was painful but what came out of it was the positive feedback that I got for the role.

What can we expect from you in 2023?
Yet again, a lot of different stuff! I am already shooting for three diverse projects. I am going to play a cop in File No 323. This is the first time strangely that I am doing such a role in my career. I’ll be seen in a slice-of-life film by Tahira Kashyap called Sharmaji Ki Beti. It’s a beautiful film; something I am very proud of. There’s Dibakar Banerjee’s Tees, which should come on Netflix very soon. Then I have a film with Anubhav Sinha, Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai, three more films and a show with Amazon Prime Video.

 

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A post shared by Sheer Qorma (@sheerqorma.thefilm)

It’s often said that you have great comic timing but we have rarely seen that in films. Would you like to explore more comedy in future?
Yes. Lekin log mujhe bahut seriously lete hai. Main itni serious hoon nahin (laughs)! Everyone has different sides to their personalities. One side is serious and the other is extremely funny. The serious side has been taken care of really well. Har koi mujhe strong-woman-in-the-anvil bana deta hai. But my comic side is very well appreciated in my house especially by my niece and nephew. They claim I am the funniest woman ever and I am sure they are the best judges of it! I showed my flair for comedy with Welcome To Sajjanpur (2008) as well. For those who know me really feel, they say my role in Nazar Andaaz was totally me. At times, we are asked ‘how much of you did you find in this role?’. Nazar Andaaz, for me, is that film as it shows a clear, distinct another side of me – crazy, mad and lazy! I immensely enjoyed doing the film as I shot for the film immediately after I lost my pet, Sakhi. I was quite down; I guess, everything has its divine timing. We went for the outdoor shoot and it was so nice to laugh it off and be in a lighter film setup. It helped me to face situations head-on.

In your second book, 'The Stars In My Sky: Those Who Brightened My Film Journey', you revealed how Shabana Azmi readily agreed to write the foreword of your first book, 'Me And Ma'. Amitabh Bachchan meanwhile wrote the foreword of your second book. Could you tell us how he agreed to do so? Is there any interesting story behind it?
No there isn’t, as it happened quite simply (smiles). If I am asked who are my two most favourite people, I’d mention Amitabh Bachchan and Shabana ji. For my first book, Shabana ji wrote the foreword and Mr Bachchan inaugurated the book. For the second book, Shabana ji did the inauguration while Mr Bachchan wrote the foreword. It is very simple – you just write a message and a heartfelt note. And they are very generous enough to write some kind words for you. I feel very lucky and fortunate!

Speaking of Amitabh Bachchan, you worked with him in Baghban (2003). Though the film is one of the most loved films of all time, nowadays, many people feel it unfairly showed the younger generation in quite a poor light. Have you come across this different point of view?
Not at all. I think it is a cult film. Wherever I go, I ask people ‘Aapne Baghban dekhi hai?’. And unfortunately, sab ne hi dekhi hoti hai and they all have seen me playing a nasty character! On a serious note, the phase during which that film was released was the time when saas-bahu serials were running very successfully. I don’t know how a film like this would perform today but the relevance of parent-child emotion will always be significant. And if you want to highlight the beauty of it, you also have to highlight the nastiness of it.

 

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A post shared by Divya Dutta (@divyadutta25)

In fact, people have mentioned that your character was justified in asking Amitabh’s character to not type at night and disturb everyone in the house. A few stand-up gags are also based on this aspect…
Really? I had never heard this before. The only feedback I have got is that in the film, my character is a b***h! And anyway, if a character doesn’t treat Mr Bachchan well in a film, even I would consider that person nasty!

A year after Baghban, you were seen in Veer-Zaara (2004). When I see the film, I often wonder…was your character Shabbo in love with Veer (played by Shah Rukh Khan)? Or was it that Shabbo simply had too much admiration for Veer for leaving his country for the sake of his love?
If you are talking about real life, then yes, I was in love with Shah Rukh (laughs)! On a serious note, Shabbo’s loyalty was so strong to Zaara that this question would have never arisen. When Zaara keeps her head on Shabbo’s chest and cries, I think Shabbo knows that she would do anything and cross any line to ensure Zaara is happy. So there was no question of Shabbo falling for Veer though you have given it a very interesting angle. But in the real-life scenario, I would have said, ‘Zaara, get aside’ as I would have definitely loved to fall in love with Shah Rukh (laughs)!

In your book 'The Stars In My Sky: Those Who Brightened My Film Journey', you have written about your craze for both Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan while growing up. Did it ever happen that one of the two became more favourite than the other? Or did you love both of them equally?
I have mentioned in the book that I had a huge crush on both Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan. I don’t know how I handled both of them in Karan Arjun (1995)! Like how can I decide who is hotter? But they are both great in their own amazing ways. Like Shah Rukh is very charming. You cannot not fall for his charm and he’s one of the finest co-actors one can have. Salman is full of life. He really looks over you. For me, these two people will always be very special and infatuations aside that I had equally on both of them, I really admire these two Khans.

In your chapter on Sonu Nigam, you reveal how he made you throw darts and tomatoes at the photograph of your ex-boyfriend after you had an ugly break-up with him. It was very similar to the scene in Jab We Met (2007). Did you think about it when you saw the film?

Jo achhe directors hote hai, unki khasiyat hi yeh hoti hai ki woh asli zindagi se inspiration lete hai. It’s not like it just happened in Jab We Met or it just happened with me. I am sure many good films must have given this as a catharsis theory to do it. It’s anger management I guess. Now that you say it, yes, it’s true (that there are similarities). I am fortunate to have friends like Sonu in my life. You don’t meet them everyday but you know they are there for you.

What are your plans for December 31? Will you be joining Rajit Kapur for a trip to the jungles, like you do every year?
This time, we are taking a break from the jungles as we all are busy with work. I’ll be in Mumbai this time and will be partying somewhere for sure. I won’t be sitting at home. Before that, I am going to Shimla where I’ll bring my New Year in advance!

 

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A post shared by Divya Dutta (@divyadutta25)

Also Read: Nazar Andaaz starring Kumud Mishra, Divya Dutta and Abhishek Banerjee to release on October 7, 2022


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