Model, pageant winner, actor, producer, humanitarian—meet DIA MIRZA, our beneficent cover girl who plans on bettering the world she won over years ago
An advocate for planet earth, Dia Mirza makes a statement with her beauty, intelligence and compassion. Today, she comfortably balances her professional life with her work as a campaigner for the environment. While one job demands her creative energy, the other commands her heart and soul. Her pursuit for a wholesome life on the silver screen and off it is inspiring. Take, for instance, her latest creative endeavour—a web series that she claims has changed her completely as a human being and an artist. “Kaafir is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ve deeply admired Bhavani Iyer’s writing. It means so much to be able to tell stories that truly matter and make a difference. It’s important to focus on narratives that expunge prejudices—towards ourselves, others, religions, countries or even cultures. The sensitivity, gravitas and premise of the series are what I hope to embody as a human being. So when such a piece of writing finds you, it’s impossible to let it go,” she shares. The fact that the project was led by Sonam Nair helped seal the deal. Speaking of her director, Dia observes, “It’s a sad statistic, that in my 18-year-long movie career, I’ve been directed by a woman only twice! [Clearly] we don’t have enough women storytellers.”
Earrings and ring: Pinkcity by Anita Dongre, Bracelet: Jet Gems, Chair: Magnolia
After all, compelling story is the bedrock of a good film, as Dia highlights, “Stories should take precedence over all else, and I think they did—once upon a time, but somewhere along the way we lost sight of that. I joined the industry at a time when there was no method to the madness. It was all project-driven with a focus on the star cast and scale of the song and dance sequence. But the reason cinema, as an art form, has survived is because it has an incredible ability to make human beings think and feel and act and respond. A good story binds us together.”
This fact, coupled with the growth of digital broadcasting has gotten Dia excited. The platform has broadened the canvas and is giving artists an opportunity to do what they truly believe in. As a consequence, there’s more scope today to tell a good story— and that’s a big win for Dia. “As a producer, curating content for the digital platform is so liberating—from the writing to the promotion and release. Also, I feel that there was an unspoken hierarchy between television and film, which has been negated by the digital platform. You’re an artist irrespective of the platform you perform on,” she insists.
Ring: Jet Gems, Earrings: Pinkcity by Anita Dongre
That said, Dia’s pursuit of making a meaningful contribution isn’t limited to cinema and the creative arts. She is the embodiment of the ‘beauty with a purpose’ programme established by the pageant that put her on the world map. Today, she wisely uses her celebrity status to fulfil her philanthropic passions. “It’s empowering to be in a place where your life choices can help influence the choices of others. It’s important to share what you’re doing and hope that somebody somewhere will be inspired. It would be a missed opportunity to have this platform, the access and attention of the people, and not put it to good use,” she feels.
Bracelet and ring: Jet Gems, Earrings: Pinkcity by Anita Dongre
When it comes to the big fat Indian celebration, too, Dia is hoping to see a shift in mindsets. “More people are slowly discovering how their consumption patterns and lifestyles impact the environment. If you look at the traditional forms of Indian weddings across the board, there was never a desire for pomp and show. It was always about beauty, ethnicity, simplicity and grace. The big fat Indian wedding is a product of Bollywood and I reckon now is a great time for filmmakers to change the way they represent these festivities on the silver screen. As long as the shift happens within us, we can find ways to bring that change into everything else we do,” she deems. A woman of substance, Dia is dedicated to bettering herself and the world around her. And this will always be her crowning glory.
Photographs: Rohan Shrestha, Hair & Make-Up: Harry Rajput, Outfits & Styling: Anita Dongre, Location: Jade Garden, Mumbai