Pinkvilla Exclusive: Everytime I watched Deepika act,I was wowed - Diana Penty
After Katrina Kaif, Nargis Fakhri and Deepika Padukone the dainty damsel Diana Penty is the next supermodel to make way into Bollywood. In an exclusive to pinkvilla.com, Ms. Penty spoke to Mauli Singh about her transition from modeling to acting and making a dream debut opposite Saif Ali Khan.
Two things that people don’t know about you…
I love to travel. My job makes it easier for me to travel. I love to take photographs. I carry a camera, a SLR wherever I go. It’s a very new hobby. I am experimenting with my SLR and trying it with different modes.
How do you remain so thin? You must be living on air?
Not at all. I am a big foodie. I love food. There is a street in Hyderabad which is called eat street. One day when we had an off I went there and ate almost everything. I love Indian food. I can’t do without dal and roti and veggies. I love home cooked food. It’s my staple diet.
And what is your favourite cocktail?
I like mocktails.
From a supermodel to being an actress, how easy was the transition for you?
It has taken a lot out of me. I did have to work a lot on myself. It didn’t happen overnight. I had to ease into the character. The Cocktail team is so good. They had a certain amount of confidence in me which helped me perform better.
How would you compare modeling with acting?
The biggest difference is the level of involvement that both the jobs demand. Also as a model you are done in a couple of hours or days, but if you are working on a movie, it’s a long process. It can easily take a year. So you are involved a lot more in terms of time and emotional,mental and physical involvement is much more. The nature of the job is completely different. As a model in India, even though you are out there but the level scrutiny is not as much.
There is a preconceived notion about models that they can’t act and are wooden. Comment.
It’s unfair. How would you really know unless you give the person a chance? The job of mode demands her to just be that. It’s not being objective. The model doesn’t have to act out or be expressive. It’s only about showcasing clothes or looking her best. You cant compare the two.
Will you be able to break the notion?
I really hope that people like the film and what I have done in the film. I feel if you put in your hard work into anything and put your best foot forward, then it shouldn’t matter what background you come from.
Did you always dream of being an actor or was it destiny?
It was about being at the right place at the right time and life being really good to me.
How did you get the role?
When I decided that’s what I wanted to do I started meeting people. Before I knew it the role of Meera came my way. I was called for the audition and the next day I was confirmed.
Yes that was really quick. In fact I remember asking them ‘are you sure you don’t want to take more time’ (laughs). I couldn’t believe it.
Do you think it was a good decision to make a debut in a film which already has an established actress? Were you not scared of comparisons?
I never saw it that way. For me it was story and character that I had to play. I just focused on both those elements and went for it.
People say you resemble Deepika?
Really? Maybe because we both are models and tall. I take it as a complement.
You look taller than Deepika.
Really. I guess we are the same height.
But certainly taller than Saif…
Yes. Just a bit.
While in modeling height is a boon do you think it can be a bane in Bollywood?
I don’t see why it should be a problem. A lot of girls these days are pretty tall.
We heard that Imtiaz recommended you for the film?
Though I have met him but as far as I know they just called me for the audition and liked me.
The buzz is that both the girls in the film are based on the popular characters from Archies—Veronica and Betty. True?
That you will have to ask the writer. I am not very familiar with Archies so I wouldn’t know. But generally it could be. It wasn’t intentionally done. People will always draw parallels. But there is something very original about the script and characters.
Deepika Padukone said she was offered both the roles and she picked Veronica. What role out of the two would you pick?
Undoubtedly, Meera. I related with her. I am a lot like Meera in real life. I am also shy and conservative like her.
Will see a bolder and wilder Diana in future?
Right now my focus is on Cocktail. I haven’t planned so far ahead.
Saif Ali Khan said the Veronica needed an experienced actor like Deepika. Do you think it would have been more challenging for you?
Definitely. It is out of my comfort zone. I would have to prepare very hard on that. Deepika has done such a fantastic job. Every time I watched her acting I would be wowed. She is very spontaneous which helped me a lot as a newcomer to react well. I felt that I wasn’t acting but just reacting. That’s why it came out so natural.
Deepika and Saif Ali Khan have already worked together before and share a good rapport. How difficult was it for you to break the ice?
The first time we met for script reading with Homi (Adjania) before we started shooting. He wanted the whole team. That’s when I met all of them for the first time. It was a very effortless process. We just got along very well. It was very easy and cool. Soon after was the first schedule in London. It just happened naturally. It came naturally to us. We were all actually having fun. I felt like our camaraderie shows in the film. We all gelled well.
How was it working with Homi?
He is amazing. I loved Being Cyrus. This is the first time Homi is making a commercial film. That is one of the reasons that drew me to this project. I wanted to be a part of a typical Bollywood love story but with a difference. What Homi brings on board in terms of visual is one of the most interesting aspects of this project.
How would you describe Saif as a co-star?
Saif is hilarious. He can make a situation light at any point of time. If he is around everyone cant stop laughing. He brings great energy to sets which helps in bonding. He is such a spontaneous actor. He brings something new to every take. If you do five takes with them, each time would be different. That is amazing. As a newcomer to absorb that and watch and learn was something. I loved him in Omkara.
Who are the sexiest khans?
I have only worked with one.
If you were the director who would you want Saif to go with in the end- Veronica or Meera?
I am not the director. What is there is a completely third element in the story. Maybe there is a twist to the tale.
As shown in the film, is it possible to fall for friend?
Why not. Absolutely.
And is it also possible to be in love with two people at the same time?
I wouldn’t know that.
Recently Ekta Kapoor made a dig on your surname. Did it bother you? Would you consider dropping your surname ever to get rid of such digs?
Not at all. I don’t react to such people. And I won’t change my surname. That’s my identity. Only because some people see it differently, I can’t change my life around them.
Have you been a Bollywood buff?
I missed out on watching Bollywood films as a kid. I am catching up on it now.
Have you ever acted onstage?
Yes. In school I did do plays and act. I was somehow part all the performances. But I don’t have any formal training in acting.
What kind of a guy would sweep Diana off the feet?
(Laughs) I don’t know. It’s the matter of clicking.
And what is a turn off in a man?
I don’t like people who try too hard to be cool. That’s a put off. Just be who you are. I appreciate that instead of guys who are the cool macho dudes.