Depending on which films you’ve seen, you may remember Divya Dutta as Preity Zinta’s devoted friend in Veer-Zaara, the strong-headed village belle in Welcome to Sajjanpur, the foul-mouthed sweeper with a heart of gold in Delhi-6, or even the motormouth on the mobile in the Aircel advertisement that’s on air now. Whatever the role, you can’t miss her.
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At home, though, she’s quite unlike the roles she essays: that of a loud Punjabi woman. Dutta is simple and understated and lives with her mother, brother, and three-month-old Lhasa Apso pup Sakhi in a two-bedroom flat in Juhu, Mumbai. The home is her sanctuary, and its location allows her to walk across to the beach at night for a run. “When I saw this flat, I felt intuitively that it should be mine,” says Dutta. But she knocked down a few walls, opted for an open kitchen, and sought the help of an interior designer. “I told her that I wanted different colours in each room except the living room, which I wanted white. She would kidnap me from the sets and we would scout around at stores and myriad exhibitions.” Dutta also made a trip to Bangkok, from where she purchased several artefacts.
Keep it simple: (clockwise from top left) This sleeper wood windowside bench in Dutta’s living room is her ‘wine corner’; Dutta picked up this horse from an exhibition and added a bowl and a coconut lamp from Tresorie, a design store in Mumbai; this mirror was picked up at Inorbit mall, Mumbai; and the living room has stencilled walls and a rugged leather sofa bought at a Mumbai store.
Her bedroom is vibrant with yellow and orange walls, and a neat little pooja khana taken in from the balcony. “I have a very strong connect with God and I sit there and chat with him. I also chat with my friends there.” Her mum’s room is pink and purple and a niche between the two, which houses a massive Ganapati, is bright red, Dutta’s favourite shade.
Very keen on getting the right lights for her house, Dutta trawled Mumbai for interesting lamps to add to her collection. “I am a very lamp person. I feel a lamp can really change the look of a corner or place.” A big brass lantern greets you at the entrance to her home, which also bears several warding off symbols—a Turkish eye, a horseshoe, a swastika, and the traditional lemon-chilli.
It’s served her well. “In the two-and-a-half years that we’ve been here, this house has got a lot of love and appreciation from everyone,” says Dutta, who often spends Sundays having the house thoroughly cleaned. “When you make something with love, you want it to stay that way,” she says.
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