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Divyanka Tripathi: Only svelte women perceived as fit for action roles

Updated on: 07 May,2024 05:48 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Priyanka Sharma | priyanka.sharma@mid-day.com

Thrilled to attempt action with Adrishyam, Divyanka on how producers wouldn’t consider her for tough roles before because of her curvaceous body

Divyanka Tripathi: Only svelte women perceived as fit for action roles

Divyanka Tripathi

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Her smile lit up the screen and tears broke viewers’ hearts. But that was in the past. Divyanka Tripathi showcases her tough side in Adrishyam: The Invisible Heroes, especially as she attempts action for the first time in the Sony LIV series. In conversation with mid-day, the popular actor breaks down her action-packed role and reacts to the disheartening and unrealistic beauty standards in the industry.


Edited excerpts from the interview.



Adrishyam features you in an action role for the first time. Did that attract you to the show?
Absolutely. I have wanted to do action for sometime now. After I did Khatron Ke Khiladi [11 and 13], I felt I would enjoy doing action on screen. So, when Adrishyam came my way, I lapped it up. It was also an opportunity to play an undercover intelligence officer. I got to show the human and realistic side to an intelligence officer.


The role is at odds with the soft characters you’ve played before. Do you feel in the past, creators were unable to imagine you in an action role given your image?
There has been a perception that svelte women are fit for action roles. I don’t have that body type, so it was difficult for producers to think that I could pull it off. In the past, whenever I showed interest in doing action, I would be told, ‘Not really. We don’t think that would work.’ People used to think of me as a delicate, domesticated person. That perception changed after Khatron Ke Khiladi. People suddenly saw that I had the agility and spirit to take on physical challenges.

Did the reality show help you prep for your stunts in Adrishyam?
(Laughs) Khatron helped me in building mental strength. [It taught me] to overcome my fears in tough situations. For Adrishyam, I had separate physical prep. At that time, I was recovering from a leg injury. The prospect of doing the show motivated me to recover faster. I also did a bit of combat training. I wanted to be fully equipped before the shoot.

You’ve completed 20 years in the industry. Over the years, it must’ve been liberating to see a progressive shift in the industry’s treatment of female actors across age groups.
OTT is to be credited for that. There are many more opportunities for women across ages, and they aren’t being sidelined just because they aren’t of a certain age. It’s empowering.

You mentioned how your body type prevented makers from seeing you in different roles. Wasn’t it difficult to not fall prey to the industry’s unrealistic body standards?
Of course. I wasn’t born with the wisdom that I have today [laughs]. I have come into my own and I respect my body a lot. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had bad days, or that I didn’t feel lesser because I didn’t have the stereotypical heroine body. I remember I was rejected for a role because I wasn’t able to fit in a lehenga. These things can make you feel [bad] about your body. But something shifted in my perspective during the pandemic. At that time, I realised it was sad that we took our bodies for granted. Our bodies help us function, enable us to perform from the smallest to the biggest tasks. How can we feel bad about it? We need to be more grateful for it. That thought helped me. Now, I am into physical fitness, but not chasing anything else.

One thing that has often been spoken about you is your politeness. People have strangely deemed it pretence. Do you find that amusing?
I have been used to it since childhood. In school, people used to think I was being fake. The same thing happened after I joined the industry. They would call me ‘meethi chhuri’ because it was hard for them to digest that somebody could be sweet and polite! Some people told me to change my behaviour so that no one could take undue advantage of me. I remember being shocked. People are generally asked to change their rude behaviour, and here, I was asked to change something good about me. There was no sense focusing on it. I am happy the way I am.

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