‘There is this hunger in me to do more and more films’

Debarati Palit Singh
Thursday, 23 August 2018

...says Diana Penty, whose film Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi  releases today. The actress adds that experimenting with her work is really important to her

It’s been an interesting year for Diana Penty. Early this year, her film Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran received both critical and commercial success at the box office and the television premiere of the film on Zee Cinema, on August 15, too got a positive response. The film will be screened again on August 26.

The actress is now gearing up for the release of Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi, the sequel of 2016 hit Happy Bhag Jayegi. Diana stars in the film along with Sonakshi Sinha, Jimmy Sheirgill. Ali Fazal, Jassi Gill and others. Releasing on August 24, the film is directed by Mudassar Aziz and produced by Aanand L Rai and Krishika Lulla. 

The actress sounds pretty excited about the release of the sequel. Here’s more from her:    
Congratulations, Parmanu has gone on to become one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful films of 2018. 
Thank you! It’s so satisfying to hear people say nice things about the film. The audience’s reactions were amazing and we couldn’t have asked for more. When I first heard the story, I knew immediately that this was a film I wanted to be part of. It was a story that had to be told and one that I wanted to share with every Indian out there. 

I did wonder how we were going to tell a story about India’s nuclear tests while keeping it interesting. Kudos to the writers (Saiwyn Quadras, Sanyuktha Chawla Sheikh and Abhishek Sharma) for taking a subject as complex as this one and turning it into a commercial, edge-of-the-seat thriller, simple enough for everyone to understand.

After a realistic drama subject like Parmanu, we will see you in Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi. Two films in a year... is it because you promised that you are not going to take another long break in your career?
I definitely don’t want to take any long breaks in my career. I never have! For some reason, people just assumed that I was on a sabbatical even though I wasn’t. Yes, it took me a while to sign my second film, but that’s because I wanted it to be the right film. After HBJ, I did Lucknow Central followed by Parmanu and then HPBJ and I definitely want to keep that momentum going. There is this hunger in me to do more and more films, explore different genres and play interesting characters. I love what I do, so I’m going to keep at it!

As an individual, how different is the experience of working in a light-hearted film Happy... compared to a realistic film like Parmanu?
The two were quite different in many ways, right from the prep stage to the actual shooting. Working on a comedy involves being spontaneous, improvising,  playing with the character and having fun with it. There are no hard and fast rules, you kind of just go with the flow and make it your own. There was a happy, jovial vibe on the set as everyone was always laughing between the shots. 

A film like Parmanu, on the other hand, given the subject and the genre, is a little more serious. I feel prepping for a film of this nature is really important. As an actor, I like doing a lot of research when it comes to real-life subjects or characters. While shooting, especially for a film like Parmanu which involves action that is time bound, it is important to discuss the scenes in advance so that everyone is on the same page, and the director can set the right mood and pace of the scene.

How important is it for you to experiment not just with your character but different genres of films?
Extremely important. It is something I’ve consciously tried to do with each film so far — from the quiet, shy Meera in Cocktail to the loud, vivacious Happy in HBJ to the level-headed Gayatri in Lucknow Central and finally the strong, intelligent Amballika in Parmanu. 

Not only are these characters diverse, the genres of films are different too — from a rom-com to a comedy to a drama and finally action. As an actor, I feel that experimenting with your work is really important, as it teaches you a lot, helps you discover new likes and dislikes, helps you hone your skills and improve your craft.

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