If Bihar is the flavor of the season with ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ so is a Bihari actress, who has completed a rare golden jubilee in films. She is a mysterious yet mystical rustic actress, who came from nowhere and yet made her mark in the film capitals of India. She acted in 50 Indian language films (Hindi, Bhojpuri, Tamil, etc), many more plays and television shows but actress Divyaa Dwivedi feels that her best work is yet to come despite a golden jubilee in films! The Bihari actress feels that today the film industry doesn’t have a Meena Kumari or a Madhu Bala and she wants to pay homage to them by doing a role like the ones they attempted.
Divyaa is sad that Indian filmmakers haven’t truly exploited her potential even though she has a lot to give. She says, “Now I want to work with the Top 20 Hindi filmmakers to get a wider audience for my talent. I have never tried to be part of any big Groups and have remained independent because I want to work with one and all. I’m flexible and I will give my 200% to any role that is given to me. I am looking for a wide range right from an impactful item number to a full fledged performance oriented role. I have a flair for glamour and comedies even though people feel my emotional drama talent hasn’t been fully utilized. I want to do work that makes me happy and fulfilled.”
Lamenting the desperation that other actresses are showing in terms of stirring up controversy, Divyaa avers, “I have never been publicity hungry and created controversies even when I could! I have always let my work-talent speak for me. I believe that I have been honest and truthful with this industry and want to stamp my mark in it forever. The opportunity can present itself through a big budget film or banner or through a niche talented filmmaker.”
Talking about Bhojpuri film industry, Divya feels that the Bhojpuri film industry has blossomed and has become bigger than even before. “However, filmmakers have to be more creative and original. They have to be experimental and try new themes to change the mindsets of the audiences, who are used to a particular style of story telling. Also, there is tremendous scope to saw the depth and variety of Bhojpuri culture and traditions. And enhance the technical aspects of the filmmaking! Bhojpuri audiences are still in their infancy curve and there is tremendous opportunity to take them through an evolutionary curve,” she adds.
Born as Rekha Kumari Dwivedi in Patna, Divyaa, the eldest of 3 sisters and a brother, was eyeing a medical career after finishing her 10 + 2 from JD’s Women’s College. However, on an impulse, the daughter of an army officer decided to express her creative side in terms of the 500 poems she had written under the encouragement of her school principal. She walked into All India Radio’s studio and met the Station Director. She was asked to participate in a show along with stalwart poets and she ended up reciting 3 of her best poems. She got a cheque of Rs. 150 at a time when she didn’t even have a bank account. And the rest, as they say, is history! She went on to host a radio show on children and their hair raising feats – ‘Nanhe Munne’. She also honed her skills in theatre with Neelakamal Kala Parishad acting in plays such as Gunghroo, Show Must Go On, Aashad Ka Ek Din, Maans Ka Bilap, Hum Panchi Ek Daal Ke and Rajnigandha amongst others. The budding actress realized that she had a flair for learning pages and pages of dialogues by heart and expressing them effortlessly.
Divyaa moved on to Doordarshan and then did what truly marked her debut and foray into tinsel town. She played Rajeshwari, the lead role on a Doordarshan TV serial, where she metamorphosed from a 16 year old girl to a 70 year old girl. Then followed another award winning Lekh Tandon serial ‘Bikhri Aas Nikhri preet” (DD1) where she did the role of Chandrika – a dream role as it was initially offered to her idol Meena Kumariji. The story of this serial is of a young girl who has lot of aspirations in her life but what happens is something quite different. Divyaa earned a lot of popularity across Indian households but she wanted to do something more.
Divyaa came to Mumbai and pitching for feature films, ads and music video shoots. She also started learning dancing from dancing maestros such as Saroj Khan, Shakur Master and Vijay Oscar. She started doing music videos for Venus and T-Series. She got her first feature film break in Tushar Kapoor’s film ‘Yeh Dil’ and Arbaaz Khan’s ‘Alibaba Aur Chhalis Chor’. She also did ‘Khanjhar’ with Sunil Shetty and Tabu; Kuch Kaha Aapne and Campus (Tamil). She moved into big league with a film ‘Jahaan Jayega Humein Paayega’ with Govinda and Krishna. She became a producer of a play at a very young age and presented ‘The Grieving Soul’ at IskCon theatre in Mumbai. Ahead of her times, she experimented with Internet TV playing Savita Bhabhi character in Jay Hind, India’s 1st internet based comedy show.
When asked about her change in name, Divyaa says, “There was already a Rekha in the film industry at that point of time. In the initial days of my career, film producers kept my name ‘Divy..’, which means divine. And it was good from the numerology point of view.”
“My father always took the name of Shah Rukh Khan and his achievements. He also wrote several inspirational letters to me telling me that no work is too small. He helped build my mental strength and also maintain my equilibrium with his friend, philosopher and guide stance. Many a times, people tell me that I am not cut out for this industry because of my innocent, frank and straight-forward behavior. I have been hurt many times in the past but my burning desire to leave my footprints in the sands of Indian film history keeps me going,” avers Divyaa.
“Well, it’s true that I don’t have any Godfather but several good Samaritans and angels have come into my life at various points of time and helped me. I believe that my pure open hearted approach and crystal clear frank attitude has helped me appeal to the good aspects of different people in the industry,” adds Divyaa.
Talking about Bhojpuri films, Divyaa says, “I have done more than 20 Bhojpuri films till date. It happened by chance. In many ways, I didn’t imagine I would do well in Bhojpuri films because I was slim and not very well endowed! I was happy doing Hindi films but was still getting several Bhojpuri offers because of my Patna origins. I didn’t accept any of them till I got an offer for a film ‘Ganga Jaisan Paawan’ to be directed by Govind Moonis (Nadiya Ke Paar fame) and produced by Sadhana Singh. I was cast opposite Ravi Kishen and then started a spate of offers with all superstars such as Ravi (Kishen), Manoj (Tiwari) and Dinesh (Yadav).”
Divyaa has done "Saawariya I Love You" with Eon Films under Shambhu Pandey Productions and was cast opposite Deepka Dubey. Her sizzling number "San san sehre mor badanva.." got her more accolades in the movie from the audience inspite of Seema Singh having done an item number in it and Mandira Koiralaa doing a mujra..
Divyaa has submitted a pilot of a comedy show called ‘Saath Saaliyan’ to Doordarshan. She believes that DD doesn’t have many comedy shows and there is tremendous potential to have a good comedy on air.