Cocktail the quickest that has ever happened in my life-Diana Penty
Model-turned-actress Diana Penty on auditioning for Cocktail and bagging the role… all in a day’s work!
Garima Sharma (BOMBAY TIMES; July 7, 2012)
First impressions, especially those formed by watching movie promos, are usually deceptive. But, not in the case of model-turned-actress Diana Penty. She confesses to being a shy, reserved, regular Mumbai girl much like Meera, her character in her debut film Cocktail. But all that had to change when she joined tinseltown. In between giving us perfectly balanced answers, Diana talks about joining Bollywood, planning her travels around music concerts (she’s attended live concerts by U2, Eric Clapton, Cold Play, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sting and Bon Jovi), and being paranoid about having her hands clean all the time.
Little is known about you except that you followed the ramp-to-reel route to B-Town. Was that the destination you always had in mind?
I started modelling in college, but it was part time since I was kind of nerdy and wanted to finish my studies. I modelled for five years during which I was in New York for a bit and then Paris. But, it’s only two years ago that I started thinking about doing something more challenging professionally and that’s when Cocktail happened. Before that, I never believed or thought that I could become an actress.
Did you discover anything about yourself during the film?
This journey has been like a process of self discovery. I’ve learnt there’s nothing you can’t do. I danced, for instance. I am not as reserved as I used to be. I’ve been on the reserved side since I was growing up perhaps because I was an only child, but that changed. I am way more confident. I’m more expressive and vocal.
How easily did you slip into the character considering you are a true-blue Mumbai girl and Meera is a typical Delhi girl?
That’s why I was sent to Delhi for a couple of days — to ‘get’ the city, its culture, the mannerisms of a typical Punjabi girl from Khalsa College. But on a personal level, the real Diana and the reel Meera are very, very similar. When I first heard the script, I was like, ‘Hey, that girl could be me’. I related to her completely. I am not starry. I am your everyday girl, with not so everyday aspirations in life. And Meera seems like an extension of me in so many ways.
The character is like you, the movie is a romcom — a genre which usually works. Overall, it seems like you chose a very safe debut…
I wasn’t even thinking of it that way. I just heard the script and auditioned for it. I really liked the story and I loved the character. It was the perfect launchpad team for me — from the director to the producer, the actors, the script, et al. I didn’t have to think twice.
You happen to be making your debut in the same year as over a dozen star children. What are your chances like?
My not being from a film family helps me a lot because I come with a different perspective; I come from a regular world. Of course, there’s not always the help and assistance you’d get if you were from a filmi family, but I really didn’t miss that. Also, for the director, the fact that I didn’t have an acting background meant I came with no baggage. That’s why they wanted someone new like me.
How did you react when you bagged the film?
It literally happened within 24 hours. I auditioned in the evening and by the next evening, I was on. It still seems too ideal to be believed. My friends and family were super excited, but for the first 24 hours, I didn’t believe it. For a week it didn’t sink in. I was perplexed as it happened so quickly. This is the quickest anything has ever happened in my life! I was apprehensive about myself since I’ve never done anything like this before and I have no formal training. But the team worked on me a lot — from acting workshops to diction lessons, voice modulation, dance, everything you can think of and I’ve learned that.
Illuminati Films and Eros International’s Cocktail releases July 13.
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