Divya Seth Shah is a respected Indian actor known for her remarkable performances in film and television. She has appeared in several popular shows and movies and has established herself as a versatile and talented actor. From her early career in the '90s till now, she is well-known for her roles in popular TV series such as 'Hum Log', 'Dekh Bhai Dekh', and recent web series like 'Duranga' and several others. She has also acted in films like 'Veer Zaara', 'Jab We Met', 'Dil Dhadakne Do', 'Sir' and more.
"I'm so proud to see my country's people doing so well here. It has been an amazing experience so far working and rehearsing with the Rifco Theatre. Everyone involved in this play is such wonderful people, and they're putting in so much effort to make me feel comfortable and at home. I'm truly delighted to be here," Seth Shah said.
Currently in the UK for her role in Rifco Theatre's 'Happy Birthday Sunita,' which opens on May 5, iGlobal caught up with the versatile actor to discuss her experiences in the entertainment industry, her approach to acting, and get a closer look at the life and career of this accomplished artist.
Tell us a little about your character in 'Happy Birthday Sunita'.
I can't give away the ending (laughs). Well, like most Indian women, my character Tejpal puts herself on hold until her children grow up and her family is ready to do things for themselves. But just like most Indian women, she also doesn't let her children go, and her children don't let go of her. But a big part of her also wants to live a very different life. And she says, now I'm doing it, do what you like – which is so amazing, I think all the ladies in the audience will get up and clap! Really, guilt plays such a big part in most women's lives, especially Indian women!
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You have played diverse roles in both television and film. What is your preparation process for a character, and how do you approach different parts?
I always believe that most of us have everything in us. We are the good and the bad. We are different people with different relationships and in different relationships. When I'm reading a part or when someone narrates a part to me, I can start visualising which part of me needs to come out for that particular role. We all have every bit in us. Every emotion is also ingrained in us. We are different people with different people. So I don't find that very difficult.
Of course, there are exceptions. Just before coming to England, I did a role where I couldn't identify with her (the character) because she was so evil and complicated. But then I connected with her because she was a mother and didn't want to lose her child. So I believe we all be everything, and I always find that very easy to delve into. Also, I often watch people – how they behave, react, walk, talk, and look and I pick up many things.
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Please take us through your journey as an actor.
I've always wanted to be an actor. My mother was an actor, and I was a part of her children's creative theatre. I did theatre in school, college, and amateur theatre in Delhi, and then the natural progression was to move to Bombay (Mumbai), where all the work was. I was a part of India's first soap opera! So because of that, I came to Bombay with work in hand. And at that time, the television boom was beginning. So I did a lot of work on television for ten years. And then, after I had my daughter, I moved to Pune, where my husband works. And now I commute to Mumbai to work.
Films have taken precedence in the last ten years because I really don't want to give television that kind of time, which is about 25 days a month for the Indian daily soaps. But whatever medium it might be, whether it's the theatre from where I came, television, the web, YouTube films, or short films, I just want to act. I'm an actor. Hire me, give me a script, pay my fees, and I will work for you. And I'll make sure an audience sees it. That's all my target and logic is about this. I want to act as long as I can. I want to be part of this field for as long as I can, and after that, I'll just be at home and take care of my dog. (laughs)
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Apart from 'Happy Birthday Sunita', what are other projects in the pipeline?
I finished the three films I was working on before coming to the UK. There is 'Vaccine War', which will be released on August 15. There is 'Douranga 2', which comes out in July. And there is 'City of Dreams 2', which should be out, I think, by May end. And all three Directors were favourites of mine, from Rohan Sippy to Nagesh Kukunoor to Vivek Agnihotri.