Actress Dia Mirza believes that ageism was something women had to contend with in the industry. She says it is “empowering” to see that now roles are being written for actors of her age. The actress, who was last seen in the 2020 film ‘Thappad’ alongside Taapsee Pannu, said she is glad to challenge the status quo where women characters are still very much stereotyped.
"Ageism is something that we have to contend with and I am glad the opportunities that are coming my way today in so many ways have fixed this problem. Every time I get to play a powerful character in a good film, I am challenging that norm, resetting the big gap and divide that the industry had created for women post the age of 35 and limited them only to playing certain kinds of parts," Mirza told PTI in an interview.
Before foraying into the film industry in 2001 with the romantic-drama ‘Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein’, the Hyderabad-born actor was a successful model and won the Miss Asia Pacific title a year before. Over the years, she has made a mark for herself as an actor with roles in ‘Parineeta’, ‘Lage Raho Munna Bhai’, and ‘Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd.’.
Expressing gratitude to filmmakers for writing parts for older female actors, Mirza said she is thrilled she is getting the opportunity to essay well-rounded roles at the age of 40.
“It is a powerful recognition and intervention that I am playing the best parts of my life now when I am 40. This is just so amazing, liberating, empowering and wonderful. It is a reflection of the fact that there are individuals in the industry that are evolving. And it is proof of the fact that you have to remain persistent, consistent and want to continue to push boundaries as a performer as opportunities will open up for you,” she said.
Mirza also dipped her toes in the digital medium with the 2019 ZEE5 series ‘Kaafir’. Each role contributed to more interest and understanding of the kind of work she wants, she said.
“I see a definitive shift and also the way the stories are being treated. I would not have imagined the love, respect and recognition that ‘Thappad’ gave me because it was an underwritten part, it was not the one of the more prominent parts in terms of writing,” she added.
Next for the actor is the upcoming sociopolitical drama ‘Bheed’, which reunites her with ‘Thappad’ director Anubhav Sinha, and Taapsee Pannu's production ‘Dhak Dhak’, a road trip film alongside Ratna Pathak Shah, Fatima Sana Shaikh, and Sanjana Sanghi.
“I am glad we connected and we did ‘Thappad’ together. I am grateful to be part of ‘Bheed’. It is a kind of story that needs to be told. It is pertinent, poignant. It is a privilege to be part of this story,” Mirza, who has also worked with Sinha on ‘Dus’ and ‘Cash’, added.
About ‘Dhak Dhak’, she said she always had the desire to ride a bike and her wish finally came true through the movie. Mirza is currently shooting for the film.
"We have four women from different age groups, different milieu of society on a journey together. It opens up space for so much conversation,” she added.
[With Inputs From PTI]