She played the undercover cop in ’16 December’, who effortlessly spies on criminals and tackles them during hard times.
She was also the charming and confident businesswoman Raina Parulekar in ‘Lady Vs Ricky Behl’ who teamed up with fellow ladies to con back the super con Ranveer Singh.
She is Dipannita Sharma, the Assamese beauty who started as a model and made a name and niche in both the world of Bollywood and the Assamese film industry.
The Voice of Woman connected with Dipannita Sharma recently to bring her journey and her experiences in life to the readers.
Tell us about Dipannita Sharma from being a model and then your debut into films?
My interest in modeling began in my 1st year at the Indraprastha College for women when I was chosen for the college fashion show team!
Eventually, I started auditioning for professional fashion shows and landed a few top designer shows in Delhi to walk as a new model.
But my career as a model actually kick-started after I took part in Miss India 1998 and won the title of Miss Photogenic and was placed 4th in the contest.
After that, I started getting regular work and was signed by a significant international skincare brand as the face of India.
That’s when I decided to shift base from Delhi to Mumbai because, in Mumbai, I had the opportunity to balance both fashion and commercial/advertising work.
While I was establishing myself as a model in Mumbai, I started getting acting offers.
Initially, I wasn’t interested because I just wanted to concentrate on my first chosen career of modeling, but after much deliberation, I realized that it was possible to balance both if I chose carefully.
That’s when I auditioned and was signed on for my first television show called ‘Life Nahin Hai Laddoo’ for Star Plus. I continued modeling and at the same time managed dates for the show.
In the meantime, I began getting audition calls for films. Once again I was skeptical! I thought that as I already had a TV show and a full-time modeling career, I didn’t want to jump at the first film offer I got. So for a very long time, I kept avoiding film auditions.
Then one fine day I got a call for a film that sounded a little ‘different’ from what was being made or offered to me at that time. I thought of giving it a try. I went for the audition for this feature film.
There were many girls before me from different parts of the country. Though I appeared for the audition and gave my best, I thought I didn’t have a chance as many other experienced actresses were giving audition there who had done at least one film before.
I signed on for a spate of shows across the country and abroad and meanwhile completely forgot about the audition.
When I got back into the country, I had frantic voicemails from the agent who had booked the audition for me.
He said that I was one of the 3 shortlisted girls & I had to appear for another round of audition before the producers finalize. The two other actresses had done films before, so I was like ‘Okay let me do this for a lark’.
I appeared for the final audition and once again laughed it off because I thought like ‘what are the chances!’ About a week or 10 days later, I got a call from the producer telling me that I had been chosen for the film. That’s how I signed my first feature film in Hindi named ’16 December.’
What made you choose to model? Was it always your first career choice?
Through my growing up years in Assam, I always stood out because of my height. I was also poked fun by a lot of people because of that.
The fact that I was taller than most boys became a topic of discussion amongst the neighborhood. I went through a phase when I was extremely conscious of the fact that I was tall.
I used to walk with a hunch, and at that time, my mom always tried to convince me that its fortunate to be tall. She said I should make that my strength and walk with my head high.
I used to love going through the magazines my mom subscribed to and see these tall people who walked in heels with so much confidence.
I saw the same women on TV walking the ramp, and these girls became my inspiration to embrace myself the way I am.
Although I never thought I’d become a professional model at that time because I thought it was too a faraway dream for me, perhaps it was the beginning of something that would later take shape.
I graduated in History from Indraprastha College for Women and was looking at a course in Advertising.
But around that time, due to my active participation in college fashion shows, I began getting calls to audition for professional fashion shows of prominent designers in Delhi.
At the same time, I decided to participate in Miss India 1998. That changed the course of my life, and I chose to pursue modeling as a career.
What inspires Dipannita Sharma?
Kindness inspires me. Stories of belief in oneself and not giving up on something inspire me. Humanity inspires me.
You have also worked in the Assamese film industry. What striking difference do you see in the Assamese and Bollywood film industry?
Well, so far, I have done only one Assamese film, and I must say it was an incredible experience. It was so rewarding for me since I learned so much from it.
I think there is a lot of heart, hard work, and talent in the Assamese film industry. The biggest and most honest difference between the two industries is the budget or the economics of it and the scale of the project.
Otherwise, when it comes to talent and hard work, both the film industries have no dearth of it. I’m glad I have had the privilege of working in both Bollywood & the Assamese film industry.
Tell us about your recent/upcoming projects.
Currently, in lockdown, everything is on hold, but I have two feature films that are in the post-production stage.
My last release as an actor was ‘War’ by Yash Raj Films in 2019 where I had a special appearance. There are a few more things about to unveil, which I shall talk about when the time is right and once we get back to normal or the new normal.
How do you divide your time between work and family?
Once you decide that you want to give your 100% to whatever you do, especially since I want both work and family, then everything falls into place. You figure it out along the way.
There is no one particular way of dividing time but striking a balance is essential. My husband and I are equally responsible for helping each other. As a working married couple, we strike this balance very well between professional and personal life.
What are the challenges you face in your work if any?
The biggest challenge for me, whether it was in the modeling world or later as an actor was to create my path and to do what I wanted to do in a manner that I was most comfortable.
So far, I have managed that, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to pursue my dreams. I believe it’s only my determination and hard work which has got me this far.
We don’t know about the future, but as long as we dare to dream and take the necessary steps, a part of our challenge is conquered already.
You have an awesome height, and you are a fashionista in your way. How would you describe your style and what fashion attracts you?
I think my style is individualistic, as I feel it should be for everyone. For me it’s essential to be ‘me’ in whatever I do, it has to be ‘real’, and that’s what style is!
As far as fashion is concerned, it changes every season, and that is as difficult to keep up for me as it is for everyone else.
So when it comes to trends, I stick to the ones that are convenient, long-lasting, and that makes sense to me.
Tell us about your interests other than movies and modeling.
I love music; that’s my constant companion. I enjoy reading when I’m stuck at home (like we are right now) and on long journeys. I immensely enjoy baking, and it’s truly therapeutic for me.
Traveling and food are my passions but it looks like traveling is going to take a back seat for a while now, which breaks my heart a little bit but there are bigger things to worry about as we all know. So I’m concentrating on my other passion- food!
How are you spending time at the present state of countrywide lockdown?
I’m spending my time with my husband & family in Gurgaon. I’ve been meditating and baking quite a bit. I have been watching a lot of content on digital platforms and sleeping very long hours.
I’ve also been involved in certain mass awareness videos, discussions on pertinent topics, and helping out in whatever way I can in this situation, from home.
How do you keep yourself fit? Are you an avid gym person?
During the lockdown, I am walking inside the house, mostly after dinner. Because our colony is completely cordoned off. Still sometimes I just step out and walk inside the colony.
But I am not doing anything special to stay fit. For wellness, I meditate a little bit about 10-15 minutes. And no, I am not an avid gym person, ‘I have never been‘, a lot of people ask me this question.
If I need to train myself for a particular project, then I do that accordingly as per the role. Other than that, I just keep doing my walks.
In the past also I have tried to do Tai Chi, that is something that I have enjoyed. I like swimming, but I don’t have a particularly strict regime for workouts and fitness.
Even though society has become progressive, there is still a notion that no matter how established a career a woman has, people still comment about a woman’s role being constricted to the kitchen. And many women still today are stopped from pursuing their dreams. What are your thoughts on that?
I think the fundamental problem lies in conditioning and especially the way society looks at a woman’s role even today.
And this is what eventually leads to the people thinking that a woman can be as successful as they want in their careers, but they are not truly successful in their life unless and until they are good in the kitchen, or married, or have children.
That somehow is perceived as a success story of a woman.
Even today, social norms haven’t changed! These are the things that I mostly see around and I’m talking about a lot of girls and women I know who are from the same field as me who I have worked with, and I have noticed that notion exists! Which is why I’m using this as an example.
How many people congratulate a woman when they achieve a lot of highs in their careers? And how many people congratulate her when she gets married and has children? That’s where the difference lies; the congratulations are so big when a woman has a child ‘oh my God, finally you have a child’, or when she gets married, ‘O my God, you’ve married; finally you have found your man.’
And the same woman who worked all her life, earned accolades in her work, won awards for her career will still be met with a little bit of pessimism.
They will be like ‘congratulations we are very happy for you, but when are you getting married, when are you having a child’. This has happened to me, so I know that.
And for the longest time, because in technical terms I got married late. So whenever I get an award or accolade, people will be like ‘Congratulations on your award, when are you getting married.’
And finally, I got married, and now when I want to share something with my family and friends about my achievements at work, the question would be “oh great when are you having a baby?’
I think as a person or as a woman, we must build each other well. We should be happy for each other if we prosper in our personal lives and professional front too. And I think we must start doing that!
As women, we must begin to pull each other up, and that is when I think we will be successful in dispelling the societal norms which will make a woman successful in all aspects.
All these things are important too, the marriage and the child, but I think it’s a matter of choice. People can have extraordinary lives even if they don’t marry or don’t have children, and some people have extraordinary lives when they have a marriage, children, and career.
And then some women have extraordinary lives too who have only marriage and kids.
So these should be a matter of choices, of one or the other or both. I think we as women must support each other in the fact that whatever you choose, you are successful! We should be there for each other and not let the world decide what is right for us.
And I think the onus lies on us to make this an example for the women out there so that they can open up and join the tribe.
I think we as a society and people must show the same enthusiasm to a woman when she excels in her career as we show the amount of enthusiasm when we see her personal life going great.
The same enthusiasm for her success in personal life like marriage and kids should be shown for her success in her professional life too.
Tell us about your favourite co-star till date.
This is difficult to answer because all my co-stars have been great. But I did enjoy working with Victor Banerjee Sir when I did my first Assamese film’ Xoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields)’ which won International awards.
It’s just the amount of things you learn when you see an actor of his stature, of his caliber. And the conversations you have with him, every little thing is a learning experience, while on set, or between shots.
The way he perceives his character, all of it I think and the journey he has had. And it is just a really beautiful experience.
Apart from that, I believe that I have been fortunate to have good co-actors, who are bright, intelligent, are energetic on sets and who are very positive.
From Ranveer Singh in ‘Ladies VS Ricky Behl’, and Milind Sonam in ’16 December’ to Sanjay Suri in ‘My Brother Nikhil’! All of them were great.
Recently when I did a digital show called ‘Untagged’, all the co-actors were wonderful, from Meiyang Chang to Anjali, Dinesh Anand to Navin Polishetty! The interactions are memories for life.
Tell us about a dream co-star you wish to work with someday.
My dream co-actor, I haven’t thought about that. There are many actors I want to work with. Today I was watching this film called ‘Kamyaab’ on Netflix, and it is about the unsung heroes where they paid tribute to the warriors of Indian history.
I was thinking that I have grown up watching so many films and it’s always the performance that grabbed my attention rather than who was playing the part.
For me, that has always been important. So I think I would love and want to work with amazing actors and I think it will be great if I can work with some of the greatest actors from our industry because we owe a lot to them.
So when I’m asked this question, I say that I want to work with talented, good actors and actors with whom there is mutual respect as I think that is very important.
Which is Dipannita Sharma favourite hideout in the globe?
We are in lockdown, and so I can’t even think of International travel! But I do love Goa as a holiday destination. I love going back home to Assam as and when I can. Other than that, I do love traveling the world and anywhere in the globe if I have set my heart on traveling there, then that becomes my favourite hideout.
I am an ardent traveler. The world is an oyster if I decide on traveling to a certain destination and I would more often than not fall in love with the destination.
But currently, I would stay put at home until this COVID thing is sorted out, and even when it opens, I don’t think I’m going to travel outside for a long time, and I plan to explore my country more than I already have.
‘Home is where the heart is’- which place does this hold true for you, Mumbai or Assam?
‘Mumbai or Assam’ is a tough question to answer for me! I love both, and my heart is in both places. I always say Assam is my Janambhumi and Mumbai is my Karambhumi.
And there is no choice between the two locations, it is almost going to be impossible to choose. So yeah, I love both.
Any message that you want to convey to the women and your fans reading this?
For the women who are reading this, I want to say that please always believe in yourself, that’s where it all begins. Don’t allow the opinions of others to affect you, how you think how you feel.
And don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t, because you can. Dream big, Set your goals and Work hard!
Remember you are lucky to have the opportunity to pursue your dreams, so hold onto it
~ Dipannita Sharma