Bollywood actress, Mirza stars in ‘Hello Mumbai’, an Indian and Iranian co-production that brings India and Iran’s film industry together for the first time.
Alongside the wonderful talent Mirza is one of Iran’s biggest actors, Mohammad-Reza Golzar.
Below are some excerpts from the interview:
How did you get involved with the Iranian/Bollywood co-production ‘Hello Mumbai’?
Dia Mirza: For this cinematic confluence, I was approached by the director Mohammadpour and was later introduced to the producer from Iran, Mr. Javad Norouzbeigi.
Tell us a little about your character in the film?
Dia Mirza: I play Karishma, the daughter of a businessman who has promised her hand in marriage to a business partner. A simple girl who is stuck in a situation that she cannot seem to find an escape from. Despite finding true love she has to let it go, unable to go against her family. I personally don’t have much in common with the character. The only interest that I share with the character is our love for the poet Hafiz and her deep abiding respect for the people she loves. My thoughts, ideals and social values are different from the social construct my character comes from.
What attracted you to the script of the film?
Dia Mirza: I have always been an ardent admirer of Iranian cinema. ‘Hello Mumbai’ was a wonderful opportunity and I am glad it came along when it did! In this film what was one of the most beautiful aspects was seeking and discovering a nuance that went beyond physical expression. Love expressed through intonation, through the eyes, the pause or smile…
How was it working with your Iranian co-star Mohammad-Reza Golzar?
Dia Mirza: Reza Golzar is considered to be the Shahrukh Khan of Iranian cinema, and through him and ‘Hello Mumbai’, I thought it would be interesting to be exposed to a new audience of 80 million Iranians. He was a thorough gentleman and an absolute delight to work with!
Are there many differences between working on a Bollywood film to an Iranian film?
Dia Mirza:There are many differences between Bollywood and the Iranian cinema, which made working on this project a truly unique experience for me. It was my first English speaking part; their grammar of storytelling is very different from ours. The way the scenes are staged, the meter of performance is very honest and organic in its approach. While we tend to heighten experiences, they choose to underplay them.
You’ve mentioned that you’re a fan of Iranian films. What do you like about Iranian cinema?
Dia Mirza: I feel connected to the Iranian cinema and the people of Iran. The Iranian cinema that I have seen were films made by Majid Majidi and Abbas Kiarostami. So naturally I have a great respect for the cinema and I share a sense of deep human connection with the Iranian people. This connection was established not just by the cinema I was exposed to but also the fact that my father had done a road trip from Germany to India in the 1970s, and spent time in Iran holding exhibitions of his art works. I grew up with a connection that was so personal to Iran because of the stories my father had shared with me.
What do you hope will come from this collaboration between Iran and India?
Dia Mirza: I am delighted for the success the film is enjoying in Iran. It was deeply gratifying to be embraced and loved by the people of Iran. And I truly hope this leads to many more substantive collaborations!
‘Hello Mumbai’ has been a huge success after releasing in Iran at the beginning of December 2016. The film broke all box office records in the country. Dia even visited the country for film promotions.