Monday, 10 June 2013

An Exclusive Interview with Dipannita Sharma

Dipannita Sharma is a Supermodel, Bollywood Actor & an Entrepreneur all rolled into one. Born and raised in the picturesque state of Assam in North East India, this 5’9 statuesque beauty came into the mainstream world of fashion after making it to the final five of the prestigious Miss India 1998 and even won the title of Miss. Photogenic in the same contest. From then on, there was no looking back for this Assamese beauty, as she went on to become the darling of the fashion industry. She became a muse for most of the top designers and  one of the much sought after models for best of the best fashion publication houses, ad-agencies and photographers, both nationally and internationally.Multi talented Dipannita forayed into Bollywood with varied genres of roles, which saw her being nominated for Best Female Debut Award for ‘December 16’ in 2002 and Best Supporting Actor Female category for ‘Ladies VS Ricky Bahl’ in 2011. In this exclusive interview with Stylefluid Trendz, she was gracious enough to give an insight into what it means to be Dipannita Sharma.
Stylefluid Trendz: Tell us something about your growing up days. How has your family shaped who you are today?

Dipannita:  The memories [Smiles] of my childhood always bring a smile to my face. Growing up in the environment & place I did, whether it was Guwahati or later Duliajan in Assam I think has a huge hand in defining me. My parents are two people who have had the most positive influence on me. Their encouragement & complete trust in me, I feel, are 2 of the most important reasons for me being able to follow my dreams. The fact that they believed in my choices is what gave me the strength to have clarity of thought in making my decisions. I know I’m lucky to have such parents, who have always been there by my side, never pushy but always there to hold my hand when I needed them. My mom always said you must give 100 percent to whatever you do  & my dad always said do what you do with honesty & dignity & that’s what I try to do everyday. They never gave me lessons on success & failure but just how to be my own person, be independent & respect myself as well as others, because for them these are the quaities that are most important in a person & today I can’t agree with them more. My sister has been my best buddy & my anchor since we were kids. Her advice is truly vauable to me & over time I’ve realised that I probably don’t trust anyone’s opinion as much as I trust hers  . We are each other's confidante & always will be. 
Having said that, I feel the industrial towns of Oil India Ltd. in Assam where I spent my growing up years, was one big happy family anyway. Everyone knew everyone & you never felt like you needed to be afraid of anyone or anything.We all felt so protected & sheltered, the world was a beautiful & happy place for us.  I am thankful for that, it’s probably that kind of growing up because of which I look at the good side of everything, try & see the good in a person that I meet instead of trying to see their faults first. I know that everything around me can be as happy & beautiful as it was in my childhood, if I just believe & want it to be. The cultural activities, the fun jam sessions, festivals such as children’s week which were such an important part of our lives were probably my intitiation into the world which I would later become part of. I still remember my first appearance on stage for a play that my mom directed & I acted in. And, I still remember that I thought of that day, before I stepped on the ramp for the first time. 
"In the current scenario the models might be looking like they are being ignored but trust me it's just a phase & at the end of it, a designer cannot do without a good model to showcase his/her clothes &  a fashion show cannot be done with just one film actor".
Stylefluid Trendz: How was Dipannita, the super model discovered? Is there anyone in particular who inspired or recommended you to get into modelling?
Dipannita:  [Laughs] I wish I knew the answer to the first part. I used to take part in the college fashion shows & realised that I really enjoyed it. There I won a few titles at an intercollege fashion show & a free portfolio. Although those picures were terrible - I didn’t know it at that time - [laughs]  the makeup artiste on the shoot was kind enough to recommend me to a few agnecies because she thought I had potential. So, I walked into one of them, to be told that my pictures were terrible but I could give an audition for a Ritu beri show which was going on that day, so I said yes. I gave the audition & they said they’ll pay me ony Rs.2000 but I was on for the show. I couldn’t believe my ears!!!  I jumped at the opportunity & got to walk the ramp with the biggest names of that time, Noyonika Chatterjee, Madhu Sapre, Ujjwala…all of whom I looked up to…you name it & they were there!  Post that I got booked for a few shows by  the top choreographers in Delhi, followed immediately  by Femina Miss India contest, where I was adjudged ‘Miss photogenic’ & I guess since then I just went with the flow. 
Well, when I was growing up everyone used to say that I could become a model because I was so tall! But as far as inspiration goes I think for me it was just a few fleeting thoughts off & on when I was a kid, whenever I would see a Madhu Sapre or a Mehr Jesia walk the ramp, that I could probably one day do that too but at that time it was too unreal a dream. 
" I think anyone who uses arrogance as an excuse to prove his creativity, is suffering from some kind of complex and/or insecurity ".
Stylefluid Trendz: You studied history majors in Indraprastha College, Delhi University. If not a model or an actor, then what would you have been? 
Dipannita:  If at all I would have chosen an alternate profession then it would probably have been copywriting or something to do with advertising/media because I had enrolled myself into an advertising course in Delhi, post my graduation, which I couldn’t complete when I started working. As a kid of course [smiles] I wanted to be a teacher just like my mother. 

Stylefluid Trendz: How did the transition from modelling to film happen?   Your choices of  roles are often unconventional.  Is this a conscious decision? 
Dipannita: I actually never gave up modelling to do films. When I did my first film I just did it for a lark & was very happy to go back to doing my shows, travelling to different countries & being the face of different brands.So it pretty much remained like that. I would do a film if it interested me but otherwise I was very happy with my modelling. My pattern of choosing roles & films hasn’t changed but I don’t model hectically anymore. I’m happier with doing selective shows with good designers, therefore I probably had two releases in last two years & going to start shooting for one more feature in this year, which is way more hectic than I can handle. When it comes to films [smiles] I’m happy in this space. 
I choose my roles as organically as I can. If I get a filmmaker, whose ideas appeal to me plus a script & a role that I probably havent tried before I’m game [smiles]. 
"I have enjoyed walking for almost all designers from India & abroad but my favourites from India are Suneet Verma, Shahab Durazi, Anita Dongre, Rohit Bal & Tarun Tahiliani". 
Stylefluid Trendz: What do you have to say to a particular school of thought that says that a good model can’t become a good actor? 
Dipannita: Honestly, I think there are enough of us who have proved that school of thought wrong over the year, hence those thoughts have just been pushed way behind & don’t think are goiing to be voiced anytime soon [smiles]. We have taken our time, worked hard & done this sincerely, hence I’m confident that such thoughts will soon die out. 

Stylefluid Trendz: What is your take on the idea of film stars replacing the models on the covers of fashion magazines or for that matter becoming show stoppers during the fashion weeks? Do you see this as a major challenge to the modelling world?  
Dipannita: Well, currently it’s all about the commerce when it comes to magazine covers & to a certain extent showstoppers. If it’s the brands pushing their faces or producers pushing there next big discovery, that’s totally understandable. I do agree that it gets a tad bit boring to see the same faces over & over again but I guess that’s working so why not? Everyone has their own place when it comes to the film/fashion world & that’s what each one has to realise. In the current scenario the models might be looking like they are being ignored but trust me it's just a phase & at the end of it, a designer cannot do without a good model to showcase his clothes &  a fashion show cannot be done with just one film actor . Fashion industry is incomplete without models as much as the fim industry without actors.

Stylefluid Trendz: With your multi dimensional roles as a model, actress, entrepreneur and a wife, how do you keep a balance in your personal and professional life? 
Dipannita : They are all equally important roles for me, alongwith the roles of being a daughter, sister & a friend, so priorotising one over the other is almost impossible. The trick for me I think is to play all of them, with utmost honesty & sincerity & give the hundred percent that is possible on my part.

Stylefluid Trendz: You come across as an extremely grounded person. In an industry plagued by superficial ego and arrogance, is it difficult for a person, not to let fame go to his/her head?  Do you think arrogance is a fine art that comes with creativity? 
Yes, what is important for me is to be focussed at what I’m doing, be firm in my ideals & not get pushed by other people to do what they want me to do. I respect people, their work and their space & hence I demand/earn the same for myself but ego & arrogance, two most futile things that ultimately only pull you down.

Stylefluid Trendz: You have worked with crème de la crème of the fashion industry – both nationally as well as internationally. Which one has been your favourite campaign/show so far and why? 
Dipannita:  My most favourite campaign is my international camapign for Breguet watches & later their jewellery line. I was their face for 5 years across the world. My Garnier skin care campaign in India, which was my first major campaign as a model is also very close to my heart.

I have enjoyed walking for almost all designers from India & abroad but my favourites from India are Suneet Verma, Shahab Durazi, Anita Dongre, Rohit Bal & Tarun Tahiliani. I loved walking for Fendi & Valentino when they had these mega shows in Mumbai & of course when I walked for Ravi Bajaj at the Moscow fashion week.I was one of the 2 models that were picked from India.

Stylefluid Trendz: You are a success story. What would be your advice to girls aspiring or trying to break into modelling industry? 
Dipannita: My foremost advise to aspiring youngsters is to know & believe that success is relative. Your success is very different from someone else’s, so never compare. If you are focussed, hard working & most importantly practical, you will have ‘YOUR’ success

Stylefluid Trendz:  As a known face and a celebrity, what is one social cause that is close to your heart? 
Dipannita: I have two actually. One is my belief in the importance of education in our country & I have spoken very vehemently & openly about it whenever I have had the opportunity to. It’s not just about educating the girl child, it’s about educating our country in the true sense of the word. Not just giving them a few books & free schooling but teaching basic lessons on respect.

The other is my drive with PETA against usage of anti exotic skin. I’m against bags, shoes & accessories for which an animal is tortured to death & then they are sold at exorbitant prices. There is enough leather out there for which an animal hasn’t had to go through atrocities & I’m urging people to be a caring consumer. The campaign that I shot for in support of that will be released soon.

Stylefluid Trendz: How do you keep fit and de-stress after a hectic schedule? Do you share an intense love affair with the gym? 
Dipannita: [laughs] Not at all, I’m not a gym person, I do my walks when ever I can or maybe swim once in a while but I don’t have a fitness regime. I have tried yoga in the past & have loved it, so probably going to start that again mainly because it makes you healthy & strong from inside. But I really don’t have a routine that I follow for fitness.
Quick fire
Stylefluid Trendz: What is the most overused phrase/word used in the fashion industry?
Dipannita: The most over used phrase in the industry is ‘the dos & dont's this season are….’

Stylefluid Trendz: If you have to define you style mantra in one sentence?
Dipannita: Casual or formal, I like my style to define me & that would be 'elegant chic' 
Stylefluid Trendz: Who is your style inspiration/icon?
Dipannita: Style is very individualistic so I don’t like anyone or anything influencing me but having said that I do admire Nicole kidman as a style diva a lot [smiles].
Stylefluid Trendz: According to you, who are the three - most stylish women- and - best dressed men in India?
Dipannita: I can name the men but I rather not name the women & offend some of the others [smiles] 1. Saif Ali Khan 2. Rahul Khanna 3. & the evergreen Danny Denzongapa

Stylefluid Trendz: What’s your favourite fragrance?
Dipannita : Romance by Ralph Lauren 
Stylefluid Trendz: Who is your favourite designer?
Dipannita: One name is impossible! I can give you my top favourites - Shahab Durazi, Masaba Gupta, Anita Dongre, Nachiket Barve, Gavin Miguel, Dior, Karen Millen
Stylefluid Trendz: Which are your all time favourite films?
Dipannita: Koka deuta nati aru hati (Assamese), Firingoti (Assamese), Half Ticket(Kishore Kumar), Satte pe Satta (Amitabh Bachchan), Jab we met, Munnabhai MBBS, Jo jeeta wohi Sikander, Untouchables, Legends of the fall, Love Actually, Inception, Lives of others (German), Underground(Serbo language), Gopi gain bagha bain ( Bengali)
Stylefluid Trendz: You are trained in Hindustani classical music. What’s your favourite music genre?
Dipannita: My favourite music genre is semi classical & retro commercial especially the hindi film classics.

Stylefluid Trendz: What’s your wardrobe staple?
Dipannita: Clutches & more clutches
Stylefluid Trendz: Which fashion and style sites do you visit regularly?
Dipannita : I browse the net all the time for fashion tips although style [pause] I would say I don’t like getting influenced… so one or two favourite sites would be tough. I guess the internet is my favourite place for fashion that’s all! But I’m beginning to keep a keen eye on Stylefluid Trendz [smiles].

Stylefluid Trendz: What’s next for you?
Dipannita : I’m going to start a new venture with my husband soon & going to start shooting for my next film after the monsoons.

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