Ira Dubey: Zaalim Dilli is not as quirky and edgy as Delhi Belly!

In a freewheeling chat with BollywoodLife, the petite theatre artist-turned-Bollywood actor talks about her upcoming movie Zaalim Dilli, her love for drama and how Hindi movies are changing for the better

Ira Dubey, the Aisha famed actor, is excited about her next, Zaalim Dilli. Contrary to what the title suggests, this small budget film by first time director (journalist-turned-filmmaker) Jaspinder Kaur Baweja is about friendship and standing up for what you believe in. We caught up with the effervescent Era on a cloudy afternoon to know more about this venture.

Zaalim Dilli, the title of your next movie sounds very intense…

Yes, it does. But the fact remains that it is a light-hearted take on a rather layered situation. The movie does not have a serious tone and neither are we trying to portray Delhi in a particular light. The city is just the backdrop of the story. Zaalim Dilli is about people who stand up for what they think is right. It is not a socio-political film and has no political undercurrents. It’s about three friends and their ups and downs. There is romance, there’s heartbreak and all that jazz. If you ask me to describe the genre, I would say it’s a comic caper. And it will certainly tickle your ribs.

The capital has been used as the backdrop in movies like Delhi 6 and Delhi Belly. And here’s yet another movie that has Delhi in the title..

Ya, our film is more along the lines of Delhi Belly, though it is not as quirky and edgy. It has a more realistic plot that is very Punjabi at the heart. Zaalim Dilli tells a story about the problems of three young people who stay in the city. Hence the name, as the city is very zaalim to them.

We have seen you play the chirpy, girl-next-door in your previous movies. Tell us about your role in this one.

I am playing a young girl yet again but this time around I am not as bubbly and giggly. My character hails from Punjabi baugh in Delhi. The place has specific kind of sensibilities, it has its own ethos and all of that will be reflected through my character. I am not playing the typical loud Punjabi character. Here’s a girl who is very tough on the outside. She looks self assured but beneath that facade is a woman who is very sensitive and she deals with her insecurities in her own unique ways.

Can portraying a realistic character become a bit of a deterrent as most of the young actors today want to start on a commercially successful note?

I think Indian cinema has really evolved. There’s Bollywood blockbuster drama which will always be there because the man on the street wants that. And you can’t really escape that reality. But what has also happened in the past few years is that people like you and me too want to make films. We all have so many different stories in our heads and we want to tell them to the world. When the actor is given a brief about these real stories they just have to adapt themselves as per the scripts demands. But you can’t ignore the fact that film is a visual medium. So even if you are portraying a real story, you have to show it aesthetically. It’s a fine line. If I want to be noticed as a star I want to look nice because at the end of the day it is perception. I may not look glamorous in all my movies even if I want to, but looking good on the screen could be as important as playing your character realistically.

Before breaking into movies you did a lot of theatre? Which medium draws the best out of you as a performer?

I think stage or theatre is more of an actor’s medium. Films, on the other hand, are more of a director’s medium. Director is the captain of a ship and it’s his vision. It is his story and he needs the entire machinery working with him to portray a story on the big screen. Writing is of huge importance in a movie. Since I come from theatre and plays, my style of acting is more real and natural and less equipped for the camera. I am very new in the film space and I have a lot to learn as I go along. In movies, you have to be subtler, you have got to know the magic of the camera and how it functions.