Diana Penty on her journey in Bollywood: “Took me a while to find my feet”

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In a recent interview, Diana Penty talks about her journey in Bollywood so far and how it’s great to see women taking on more central roles.

Reported on Mid-day, Penty made her debut with ‘Cocktail’ (2013), but explains that thereafter she felt a particular pressure to choose her next film wisely, without any guidance. “I didn’t know too many people and didn’t have anyone to really guide me. It took me a while to figure out how to proceed, what direction to take – whether I should be doing a small part in a big film or an interesting role in a smaller film. Whether to follow my intuition or blindly follow what people were telling me to do, whether to stick to stories I genuinely believed in, or do everything that came my way. It was indeed a confusing time.”

Fast forward four years and Penty landed herself a role in ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’ (2017), in complete contrast to her debut film, but looking back now, Penty definitely feels she has found her feet in Bollywood.

“When I came across ‘Happy Bhag Jayegi’, I knew it would be the perfect second film for me. It was a funny, yet sweet story and it gave me the opportunity to play a character that was remarkably different from Meera. Since people had already labelled me as the shy, girl next door, I thought this would be a great way to give them something they weren’t expecting. When I look back now, I realise that though it took me a while to find my feet, I eventually managed to chart my own course and find a space I’m happy in.”

With the sequel ‘Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi’ releasing next month, Penty shares her excitement of how the industry is going through a “remarkable” change for women in film.

“Women are playing more and more central characters and what’s even more encouraging is that the audience is beginning to appreciate women centric films – whether it’s Tanu Weds Manu, Piku, Queen, or Happy Bhag Jayegi. All these are stories centred around female characters and they all did well at the box office. So it definitely is an exciting time for women in films, with so many options of roles and genres of films to experiment with.”

Penty further adds how stories have come a long way too. “They’re evolving and becoming more real – from biopics to stories inspired by true events or even slice of life films. Of course, there will continue to be the out-and-out commercial entertainers as well. Those will always do well and for good reason. After all, who wouldn’t want to watch a light, funny film at the end of a long day? But what’s great is that there is now a healthy balance between both kinds of cinema, which gives the audience a wider range of films to choose from.”

‘Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi’ will also feature Sonakshi Sinha along with Jimmy Sheirgill, Jassi Gill and Abhay Deol. The film is slated to release on the 24th August.

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