What I am today as an actor is thanks to LSR: Divya Arora
Divya Arora is an actor, writer, director, painter, entrepreneur, social activist, linguist and more. She also has cerebral palsy since she was a child. But that has not stopped her from achieving her goals. She has a Bachelors degree in Sociology along with a Masters degree in World Cinema and French and has translated a French play into English. She has performed this play, 'The Melody of Love' with theater veteran Tom Alter and noted RJ Mantra across the country. She also heads 'Ahead' an NGO and is the force behind the 'Boundless 2012' project. Divya has also trained Hrithik Roshan for the role of a paraplegic in the Bollywood movie, 'Guzaarish'. She was recently awarded the Dr. Batra Positive Health Award. Here she is, the multifaceted and inspirational Divya Arora, in conversation with CoolAge.
1. Tell us about Divya, the child.
I can only tell you from the moment I remember. I have a beautiful canvas of pictures and my childhood was superb. I was the first baby in the house and everybody was pampering me. I still am pampered. My family did not treat me any different. My disability started at 3.5 years but even after that I did everyting that any baby or any child would do. So in that sense, I was never deprived of childhood fun. I enjoyed picknicking, singing, playing in the water. My favourite memories are those of my visit back home to UK, all the trips to the zoo and making friends with the animals and horse riding.
2. How was it studying at Lady Shri Ram College? Was Delhi University different then than it is now? What do you cherish most about your time there?
LSR is no doubt the best college in Asia for women and I say this with great pride. It is the people who make the place and I think that it goes true for even the faculty at LSR because education is not in books only. It has to be outside as well. You may not learn everything by taking exams. You have to learn from what life offers you. And I think LSR trains you to face the world, to face life, and makes you the woman of substance. LSR has been very supportive, very inclusive and it has played a major part in developing my abilities and making me confident.
Every moment spent there was special. I think what I am today as an actor is thanks to LSR because that was the first proscenium experience for me. LSR gave me the opportunity to act in a production and I was bitten by the bug.
3. An actor, director, writer, poet, lyricist, painter, activist, model and linguist - how do you manage so many roles?
I think variety is the spice of life. And I do not believe in the fact that putting you feet in too many boats will make you fall. It is all about balancing. It gives you freedom from boredom. Doing one thing all the time is sometimes monotonous. To increase your productivity, giving it various shades is wonderful. That's what I do.
4. How was the experience working with Tom Alter for "the Melody of Love" and your latest play, "Dr. Khanna"?
Well, it was lovely. It was very memorable and every time I talk about it it is very nostalgic. We want to do it over and over again. And I think "The melody of love" has done over a golden jubilee performances. We will be doing more shows and now with "Dr. Khanna" being the latest play, I have my hands full through the year. Tom is extremely brilliant as an actor and as a human being. Well, I would not miss out my main actor Mantra who is an actor, VJ, RJ also now also on TV. Everybody coming together brings out the best in me.
5. How was your experience of training Hrithik Roshan for Guzaarish?
Absolutely wonderful. But I would say learning happens from both sides. It was a lesson for me as well. Because he is "The Hrithik Roshan". Because he is somebody who is talented and that is what makes us actors powerful. I've never been a star-struck person. To me they are also human beings and they are not coming from another planet. There's no need to put them in the spot light.