Four years ago, when Diana Penty made an impressive debut in ‘Cocktail’, one thought that she would be spoilt for choices for her next project. And while that was the case, she chose to be mindful rather than give in to the audiences’ expectations, unlike most of her contemporaries.
The dainty actress is now back with her second movie, ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’. When we meet her, the first thing that strikes us about her is her unassuming demeanour and calm confidence. In a no-holds-barred interview, she looks back at her journey from being a runway model to a runaway bride and reveals why she is ‘happy’ with the path she has chalked out for herself.
Why did it take you four years to land your second film?
Though I was meeting people and reading scripts, nothing really clicked. During this time, I met director Mudassar Aziz who narrated ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi ‘(HBJ)’s story to me. I must have interacted with him at least a year- and-a-half ago, so that also counts in those four years that I was away. It just took me a little longer than most other people to land my second film. I took an unconventional route when it came to choosing a role. I didn’t stress myself, thinking, ‘Oh! I’m not doing anything or I haven’t signed anything over the past six months’. I never had that agenda or time to fret over this issue. There were many things that kept me busy during this time — modelling, television commercials and travelling. I was always clear that I would take up something only if I liked it. If I didn’t, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Competition has never featured in my scheme of things. As for people telling me that this is my comeback film, I would like to say that I never really left to make a comeback.
What excited you about the script?
Most scripts that were narrated to me had the same old plot about a boy meeting a girl and I found that boring. When I heard HBJ’s story, which was about a girl landing up in an unknown place, I realised it was a comedy of errors and I was convinced about it. To say that the script is different might sound like a cliche, but that is indeed true. It’s not something I’ve seen or heard before. Being a runaway bride is just one aspect of it; there’s so much more to the story. It’s quirky and interesting, not to mention the character. Also, it’s flattering to be flanked by three good-looking actors.
Are you a bit like Happy in real life?
Happy is loud, impulsive and assertive, all of which I’m not. I think before I do and say things. I find myself closer to Meera (my character in ‘Cocktail’). I’m introverted and reserved just as she is but I’m also independent and have strong opinions like Happy.Were you nervous when you faced the camera after all this while?
I expected it to be difficult, but surprisingly, it wasn’t so bad. While filming ‘Cocktail’, I was apprehensive before each scene as every day was a new day for me. I know a lot of time has gone by, but since I was meeting a lot of people in the interim, it helped me build my self-confidence. I have managed to overcome my inhibitions and feel more confident now.
Who did you bond with the best off screen?
All of us shared a great rapport, especially when we were in the same frame. Each one of us is crazier than the other, but Jimmy Sheirgill is the quietest. I got along well with Momal Sheikh. She is down to earth and has no hang-ups, so it was easy to work with her.
What kind of projects would you like to take up now?
I don’t want to get typecast. Ideally, I would want to take up something completely different again. A thriller or an action movie would entice me. A sportsperson or a musician’s biopic sounds exciting, too.