Birthday Special: Revisiting some of Divya Dutta’s most remarkable performances

Divya Dutta, who has been acting in Indian films for more than 25 years, celebrates her 44th birthday today. She`s one of the finest actors we have and has delivered some searing performances, particularly post the Millennium.

Just like anyone else, Divya Dutta too dabbled with the modelling world before foraying into the world of cinema. She modelled for regional television commercials in her hometown, Punjab. And the journey to Bollywood wasn`t far away, given her blazing talent.

There cannot be a better occasion to revisit her best performances, which include Veer-Zaara and Special 26. Here they are:

1. Veer-Zaara (2004)

In Yash Chopra`s saga, Veer-Zaara, Dutta played the best friend of Zaara, played by Preity Zinta. No love story in Hindi cinema can be complete without a conflict, and Veer (Shah Rukh Khan) and Zaara`s romance was divided on the grounds of their respective nations and religions, as the moniker suggests. Dutta was Shabnam, fondly addressed as Shabbo, who`s one of the only characters that understands the unrequited passion Veer and Zaara have for each other. This drama showcased how cross-border romance can exist even in tumultuous times and why both the nations need more people like Shabnam. And Dutta infused the right dose of emotions and depth to make us not only root for her but even the love story of Veer and Zaara.

2. Delhi-6 (2009)

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra`s Delhi-6 is a highly misunderstood film. It became about the fear of Kala Bandar that looms large in the capital. There was a lot more to this charming film that never got its due. It had an array of some delightfully idiosyncratic characters that stayed with you even after the film ended. One of them was Jalebi, played by Dutta. She was an untouchable, and had to face the embarrassment at social functions and public places. The film touched upon socio-political issues and raised some burning questions about superstitions and religious beliefs. And as always, the actress sank her teeth into her part, making her anguish and agony fully palpable.

3. Special 26 (2013)

Neeraj Pandey is one of the only filmmakers after Anurag Kashyap and Ram Gopal Varma who knows how to breathe humour into a dense subject. Special 26, arguably the only respectable heist film Bollywood has made, at least in these last two decades, saw Dutta as a police constable who precisely has one line that she says on repeat mode. And even when the subtext is the same every time, she nails every scene with those deadpan expressions that perfectly complement her miseries. It may have been a short part, but a good actor knows how to own even a minuscule screen time with her prowess and understanding of the craft; Dutta did that with Special 26.

4. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013)

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra`s Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biopic on Milkha Singh, was a class apart. Farhan Akhtar essayed the titular part and Dutta essayed the role of his sister, Ishri Kaur. She wasn`t just the backbone of her brother but also this drama. What would Milkha and this film have been without Dutta? A blank slate!

5. Blackmail (2018)

Not many people have seen this Abhinay Deo directorial. It was the story of surreptitious romance, subterfuge and a chain of blackmails that made this dark comedy a roller coaster ride. Dutta played a motor-mouth and a wife who treated her husband like a dog, and even addressed him as Tommy. Deep down, she loved him passionately and upon discovering his secret affair with another woman, she`s expectedly jilted and scorned. The actress nailed the part, and even when the character was loud and loutish, she made Dolly her own.

Also Read: Dhaakad: Divya Dutta`s rustic look from the film is out; see it now

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