MUMBAI,: When Cocktail released in 2012, debutante Diana Penty was immediately accepted. But she had other plans. She nixed all offers. Any other actress would have taken advantage of the situation and consolidated her position. Diana, however, did no film for the next four years. Now, she is back on screen with Happy Bhaag Jayegi in a role that’s diametrically opposite to Cocktail’s Meera. Here she talks about the long break, her next film and what she is really like. Read on…
Why the long break after Cocktail?
There wasn’t any plan or agenda on my mind. Even Cocktail wasn’t planned. My life, in terms of the work I have done so far, wasn’t planned. I was doing advertising and mass media in college. I was studious and wanted to do my Master’s when modelling just happened. I got signed on by an agency. I was one of the few people in college, who was earning while studying. I could pay for my own expenses and I was financially independent. Then the film came… unplanned. I was modelling in the US and then I came, auditioned and the next day, I was on.
You must’ve had a lot of offers…
Mine was a very unconventional journey for a debutante. I guess I am the unconventional Bollywood heroine because I waited it out. It wasn’t like I completely disappeared from the scene. I was doing modelling, endorsing and making appearances. At the same time, I was meeting people and reading scripts. I just had no hurry or pressure like other newcomers to sign projects. Then, three years later, I started shooting for Happy Bhaag Jayegi.
Didn’t you like anything offered to you at that time?
Nothing really excited me. For me, I decide things instantly. If a script I read, connects with me and I have a gut feeling that I should do it, I will do it. Happy Bhaag Jayegi was that film. Unfortunately, nothing else that was offered to me were anything substantial enough for me to say yes to. My gut wasn’t saying yes to anything and I don’t like forcing myself to do anything because it will just be for the heck of it. I cannot do a film for the wrong reasons or because people want me to do a film.
Do you regret losing out on that much time?
No. It’s not such a bad thing. It’s possibly a very bad business plan because I didn’t take the advantage of my debut film.
Most debutants’ second film come after a gap of two years anyway…
I haven’t ever kept a tab on what’s going on and who’s coming up with a film after how many months. But now that you said it, it’s fine. Mine came after four years. Big deal!
At least now, you won’t wait that long anymore. Right?
No, I think I would like it to be faster this time round. I will do a film only if I want to do one. But if it takes a little while, it’s fine. I’m trying to work on it quicker for sure. I have met more people this time. You get the ball rolling and it kind of makes it quicker. But I am very particular about enjoying and being sure of what I’m doing. Otherwise, I know I would not be giving my 100 percent to the film.
Happy Bhag Jayegi looks like quirky film.
I haven’t heard of anything or even seen anyone attempting a film like this in Bollywood. So that appealed to me. I wanted to do this because it is so new to me. I was like ‘Wow, this is a crazy chick who runs away from her wedding and ends up in an unknown place where she doesn’t know anybody’. It’s a situational comedy of errors and I wanted to do this. Happy is totally the other extreme of Meera and that’s also another reason I took this up.
Who are you more like in real — Meera or Happy?
I have some characteristics of both. But I’m probably closer to Meera as a person. I’m more measured and practical. I think 500 times before I say or do anything. I am quite reserved in my own way. But I do have some characteristics of Happy as well. I am quite stubborn, independent and I don’t take things lying down. You just can’t get me to change my mind (smiles). I live my life on my own terms, but I am not a loudmouth. I can’t be a drama queen.
One public perception about you that you don’t agree with?
People generally feel I am measured and boring. When I meet someone for the first time, I don’t say much and it takes me some time to gel with anyone. It comes across as somebody who is unfriendly. People think I’m bitchy because of that. But it’s not that. I am just more reserved. I have friends who now tell me that they thought I had an attitude problem when they met me for the first time. But then again, now everything’s so different because they know me. So that’s a misconception because it’s just a personality type. I’m an introvert.
Any friends from the industry?
I take really long to make friends and I guess I haven’t been here long enough to have friends in the industry. But I have good working relationships with whoever I have worked with so far. I take time to open up to people and get comfortable with them. I can’t make friends just like that, especially at this stage of life.
Are you doing the Atithi sequel?
I was offered the film, but I am not doing it.