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'Bollywood had not accepted me'

By RAJUL HEGDE
July 30, 2021 13:20 IST
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'But today I feel proud of my choices because it has given me longevity.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Dipannita Sharma/Instagram

Model-turned-actress Dipannita Sharma is enjoying this phase in her career.

She has completed as many as six projects during and post the lockdown, including Love in the Times of Corona, an anthology of three short films directed by Indrani Ray. Dipannita is seen in A Short Hello, a silent segment, where she is the only actor.

She explains to Rediff.com Senior Contributor Rajul Hegde, "My film doesn't have words because it doesn't need any. When you are by yourself at home, who are you going to talk to?"

Love in the Times of Corona was shot during the first lockdown?

Yes. Indrani directed me remotely through video calls because she was in Mumbai and I was stuck in Gurgaon.

She managed to put together a couple of her team members and transform a portion of my home into the set of the film.

The house was dressed up in the manner Indrani had visualised.

There are lots of firsts with this film, so it will remain special to me.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Dipannita Sharma/Instagram

Is it a silent film, given that you are the only actor in A Short Hello?

My film doesn't have words because it doesn't need any.

When you are by yourself at home, who are you going to talk to?

It is about your thoughts and how you feel. It is about how you convey your feelings at that time.

It is so beautifully written that you don't need words.

It is about how you communicate with the outside world when you are by yourself at home.

You are seen on multiple platforms. Is this the best phase of your career?

During and post the lockdown, I have completed about six projects.

Yes, it has been a good year for me for sure.

OTT is giving many actors a new lease of life. There is plenty of work going around.

I did one of the first shows on OTT called Bewafaa Sii Wafaa in 2016. I won a Best Supporting Award for that.

Then I did Untag, which also won several awards.

I am one of those few people who put faith in digital content and today, when I look at the scenario, I feel it's the future. Not just in COVID times but also because it gives you freedom for varied concepts.

OTT is here to stay and it has revolutionised the way we consume content.

IMAGE: A scene from Pepper Chicken.

You acted and co-produced the Hindi film thriller Pepper Chicken, which was released on OTT.

There were multiple reasons why I got associated with the film as a producer.

We wanted to represent Assam in mainstream media and as a co-producer, this has been a driving force.

This is one of the few Hindi films entirely shot in the jungles of Assam.

We generated employment for the film in Assam.

We got mixed reviews for the film and our performances were appreciated.

It was unprecedented, so we got a pat on the back.

Thrillers seems to be your favourite genre.

Yes. I love it and I am not complaining.

I hope to do different shades of thriller films.

I haven't tried the comedy space. I would like to explore that genre.

You have done many small roles in films.

I don't see roles as big or small.

For me, what I add to the plot of the film will always remain more important than just the time.

I can confidently say that none of my roles have been insignificant.

In a future project, I am playing the lead. It is as important as the small roles I have done.

IMAGE: Anushka Sharma, Aditi Sharma, Dipannita and Parineeti Chopra in Ladies vs Ricky Bahl.

How content are you with the kind of work you are getting?

I like doing out-of-the-box roles.

After Ladies vs Ricky Bahl, what happened was nobody had seen a character like that, so people didn't know where to fit me in.

So suddenly I was getting similar kinds of roles, or two-three scenes of a boss role, which wasn't matching up to Ladies.

And there were certain things I was not comfortable in.

There are only a few casting directors that I like working with.

Eventually, Untag happened. Though it was a similar type of character, it had more weight.

I was trying to break that mould.

If I have come into this profession, then I have to create my own path and figure it out.

My first film, 16 December, was a sleeper hit even though there were no stars.

After that film, my modeling didn't take a backseat.

Bollywood had not accepted me, as I had not made my debut in a quintessential role.

But today, I feel proud of my choices because it has given me longevity.

I am happy that I have had a good run in the last few years.

IMAGE: Gulshan Grover, Danny Denzongpa, Milind Soman, Sushant Singh and Dipannita in 16 December.

Who has been your favourite co-stars?

I have worked with so many, it's difficult to name one.

I like all of them.

I really enjoyed working with Anushka Sharma (Ladies vs Ricky Bahl) because we were models and had done fashion shows together. She was my junior.

She is a sweet girl and all heart.

Ranveer (Singh) is completely crazy, but so much fun to work with. He is so focused and passionate. His energy is addictive.

Victor Banerjee is a legend and I did my first Assamese film Xhoixobote Dhemalite with him. He played my father and I won my first Best Actress Award at the LA film festival. He is from a different era, full of knowledge and amazing to talk to. 

I would love to work with actresses like Shabanaji (Azmi) and Vidya Balan.

I love Vidya as a person; I have met her a couple of times. She is so warm and wonderful.

I would love to share screen space with Adil (Hussain) sir. Though we have worked in a couple of short films, we haven't shared screen space.

Both of us are from Assam and it would be wonderful to work with him.

When I was a part of War, I didn't get to share screen space with Hrithik Roshan. That was heartbreaking. I hope to work with him in future.

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RAJUL HEGDE / Rediff.com