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Dealing with her own parents’ separation as a four year old gave her the strength to move on from her own separation, says Dia Mirza, advising others in similar situations to have courage.
Dia Mirza will soon be seen in the role of Shivani Fonseca in Thappad, a character that she says, “is someone many women aspire to be because she has found who she is.” However, she has also been in the news for her separation from husband Sahil Sangha after five years of marriage, and in her own words she wishes the media would just “move on” from it, because she certainly has.
“Now every time people write about me, they mention I’m separated. I want to ask them to move on. My privilege as a celebrity doesn’t disallow me pain. I derived strength from my parents’ separation 34 years ago. I told myself that if I could handle it at four-and-a half, there’s no reason why, at 37, I wouldn’t be able to. Men and women hesitate to take certain decisions because they’re afraid, you have to find the courage to believe that this too shall pass,” she said in a recent interview.
For a lot of people, the fear is not just in their head. From not having the ability to be financially secure, to the threat of losing their children, to the realistic fear that a violent spouse will find them and attack them even if they leave, many things keep women (and men) in bad and abusive marriages. So, Dia Mirza’s statement does come at least a little bit from a place of privilege.
However, that doesn’t take anything away from her own struggle and we do applaud her courage and strength in stepping away from a relationship that wasn’t working for her.
Divorce and separation are still quite painful and overwhelming experiences, especially for women in our society. There is considerable stigma against being divorced, and women in particular are blamed for “breaking up the family.” Detractors of the growing divorce rate (which is still low as compared to other countries) blame couples today for not having the commitment and “values” of previous generations, conveniently forgetting that many “long-lasting” marriages were also unhappy marriages.
In such a scenario, many stay in a marriage simply for the fear of being criticized or shamed for leaving it. For them, Dia Mirza’s advice makes perfect sense. The judgements for leaving will, on balance, not be as hurtful or as enduring as the damage from staying in a toxic relationship.
In another interview, a few months ago, Dia had spoken about the struggle of recovering from her separation, saying, “Any major life change is challenging, painful and difficult but the work is cathartic. This is what helps you grow and keeps your pursuit of happiness alive.”
“I am fortunate that the kind of work that I do gives me the opportunity to deal with the pain better. I want to just go out there and keep finding my voice and keep empowering myself and others,” she added.
We certainly are looking forward to seeing more of this talented actor on screen, and in even better news she has also launched her own production company, One India Stories LLP. “I believe in the power of one and that we are all bound by the thread of oneness and humanity. One India Stories is formed with this thought,” she said.
“We want to create stories that will make you pause and think, stories that will remind us of our connection to each other and the planet, stories that will make us watch and reflect,” she said speaking about the vision for her production house.
In her most recent interview, referred to at the beginning of this piece, she said that when she set up her One India Stories, everyone told her she’d gone mad. She pointed out that male actors are not similarly discouraged, “No one says that to the actors. They are never too young to produce, no one tells them that your acting career will be over if you get into production.”
Looks like Dia Mirza is ready to smash the patriarchy in more ways than one, and we are cheering her on!
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Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a
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