Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)


- Rishabh Suri Juhi Chakrabort­y Titas Chowdhury

Divyanka Tripathi Dahiya doesn’t believe in mincing words, and a troll had to learn that the hard way recently. The actor, who hosted a crime-based show on television, was questioned by a user on social media, “Crime petrol me aap dupataa kyu nahi pahanati hai”, to which she replied, “Taaki aap jaise bin dupatte ki ladkiyon ko bhi izzat se dekhne ki aadat dalein!”

She tells us that celebs are always under scrutiny, so it wasn’t something new for her. “As celebritie­s, we are constantly under the radar. However, I’ve always been against trolls, specifical­ly those who target women. I believe in equal treatment for men and women,” she says.

Dahiya, 36, who became a household name with shows Yeh Hain Mohabbatei­n and Banoo Main Teri Dulhann, shares what made her respond to this tweet sternly. “It triggered me because what I was preaching on the show was an absolute opposite of it,” she adds, asserting that a woman’s dressing should be according to her choice and not how people want to see them.

She continues, “Social norms differ according to regions and surroundin­gs. So, no one can truly say what dress or behaviour is right or wrong. The world is grey that way.”

Dahiya is also unhappy about the way women are attacked every time there’s a talk about Indian culture. “It annoys me that women are the first target for correction. If a person finds a dress inappropri­ate, they must get some world exposure,” says the actor, who’s currently shooting for a reality show abroad.

As the second wave of the pandemic eases its grip with Covid-19 cases on a decline, people are heaving a sigh of relief. However, actor Neena Gupta is still anxious as she feels that people should not let their guard down just yet. Currently in Mukteshwar, Uttarakhan­d, with her husband Vivek Mehra, she says that even after getting vaccinated, she is being very cautious.

“I keep hearing that people got Covid-19 even after vaccinatio­n, and I remind myself that even if I get it, it will be a milder infection. I tell myself to be positive. But when I go out and even for walks, I wear my masks at all times. I’m not so relieved even after the two vaccine doses,” the Mulk and Badhaai Ho (both 2018) actor shares.

Gupta, 66, tells us that the last couple of months have not been that easy for her, and she even fell sick due to the stress.

“I started having stomach issues. It was very troublesom­e. I called my doctor and he asked me if I was tensed, because stress affects your digestive system. And I said I wasn’t, because everything is okay here...,”

Tshe shares, quick to confess, “But then I realised that I have been sad. As I read and saw things, the fear that I might get the virus or that someone close to me can die, is still there. That stress continues.”

That said, the National Film Award winner is trying her best by staying occupied to keep bad thoughts at bay. “I cook a lot these days, so my mind is occupied. I don’t sit idle for a second so that I don’t [get the time to] think of the crisis. There’s a lot of stress we all have right now, but we have to deal with it and we have to be very careful,” she adds.

Another thing that’s keeping Gupta positive and adding to her happiness, is the response to her latest web film, Sardar Ka Grandson, and Gupta is lapping all the appreciati­on up.

“It was a very challengin­g role for me to play and I’m happy that people are appreciati­ng it. Initially, when I was told I have to play a 90-year-old woman, I said no to the makers. I said I don’t want to play a nonagenari­an right now. But when I heard the script, I got very excited, and I was like, ‘I want to shoot now’. It was a very beautiful script and my role is so nice, so there were no second thoughts,” says the actor, who co-stars with Arjun Kapoor in the film. he pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone, especially for parents as they need to ensure that their kids feel safe, calm, and keep healthy routines in this unpreceden­ted situation. Taking note of this, actor-producer Lakshmi Manchu has put together a series on parenting amid Covid-19 on her social media, the first two episodes of which have already released.

Mother to a six-year-old, she believes it’s imperative to reach out to other parents and spread awareness on child psychology, nutrition and wellness. “With this parenting channel, a lot of parents have reached out to me to talk about these subjects. So, I thought, why not get experts and deal with a few common problems we struggle with daily? The areas I’ve chosen broadly cover a lot of questions we have about our children,” she shares.

Manchu stresses on the importance of making children understand the magnitude of the current health crisis rather than keeping them in the dark. “Like any other child, Nirvana (her daughter) is curious. She wants to know how serious this is. I tell her the triumph stories of people we know, who’ve come out of it and are doing well,” says the actor, who predominan­tly works in the Telugu film industry.

The Pitta Kathalu actor adds, “When I do my live sessions and talk to people over the phone about the virus or explain to my staff about what the pandemic means, she hears me and picks up words. Kids can understand a lot more than they are ready for. It’s important to keep the conversati­on alive for them.”

The south film industries continued shoots and production work even during the second wave. As a producer, Manchu feels that the show had to go on. “We took a risk and we’ll continue to take it for as long as the virus continues to be there. After being vaccinated, we’re going to come out and resume shoots,” she concludes.

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