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Divya Dutta: I was at first hesitant to play a 60-year-old mother on screen


As her latest released Punjabi film ‘Maa’ is winning many hearts, the protagonist Divya Dutta says even though initially she refused to do the film, eventually she realised it would have been a big mistake to let go of a unique female-centric Punjabi film which is a rare opportunity. The story of the film revolves around Manjit Kaur and her journey from a young bride to a mother of two sons and a series of incidents, ups and downs in her life she deals with till the age of 65. In conversation with IANS, Divya shared why more than portraying a certain age bracket on-screen, the perspective of the narrative was important for her. Divya told IANS: “Honestly speaking, initially, I refused to play a mother, that too aged 65 with wrinkled skin and grey hair; but then Gippy (Grewal, producer and actor of the film) came in. He wanted me to hear the whole script before taking the decision. With 15 minutes of narration, I made up my mind to do the film.

“It was a complete story of the transformation of a young bride into an older lady and how the duty and love of a mother changed everything in her. It is her story. In a Punjabi film, a story entirely based on a woman’s journey does not happen often. Manjit Kaur (her character) is the face of the film.”

She went on adding, “That way we can say, this is the first time, in Punjabi cinema, a full-fledged woman-centric film is made and ‘Maa’ sets the milestone.” However, the actress shares how challenging it was for her to play the older version of the character because she believes that the experience of life that comes with time, is tougher to portray on-screen. “While I enjoyed the whole process of prosthetic, grey hair and everything on the surface to look like the character, bringing the feel, the nuances into the performance was tough. But I think, like the way in every difficult situation we look up to our mother, here, I did the same. Perhaps that is why after the release of the film, everyone, who knew my mother Dr Nalini Dutta, told me that they saw the reflection of my mother in the film. I took a risk and it was worthy because somewhere my Maa blessed me to win,” said Divya. The film also features Raghveer Boli, Babbal Rai, Simran Sehajpal, Gippy Grewal, directed by Baljit Singh Deo, and released in theatres on May 6.