By Harshikaa Udasi | Opening Doorz Editorial | December 09, 2016
Hello world! It’s Dia Mirza’s birthday today and while she is away on a surprise getaway with hubby Sahil Sangha, we caught up with her yesterday and fell in love with this beautiful human all over again. Why? Read on to find out.
Dia Mirza is on top of the world. Her Iranian film Salaam Mumbai with the country’s super star Reza Golzar has hit bull’s eye at the box office and has earned her critical acclaim too. “I think it’s the best birthday gift to receive! Iranians have showered me with their love and I can’t wait to see their reaction to the film in person,” says the ecstatic actor and producer. She leaves on December 20 for Iran to celebrate the success of the movie—an amalgamation of Indo-Iranian cultures.
But beyond the reel, Dia is known for her dedication and passion in pursuing social causes. She is associated with causes such as wildlife protection, environmental conservation, female infanticide and caring for cancer patients. “I really believe that everyone is born to make a difference and this belief has got strengthened through the years,” she says. “I was a child born out of prayers. My mom had been told she would never conceive and my parents were married for seven years before they had me. She always told me this thing: ‘Your existence is not separate from other people. We cannot work in isolation. So reserve your empathy for those who need it’. It is something that has stayed with me always.”
It’s this thought that keeps the lady motivated to keep pursuing these causes no matter what the pressure may be on time and resources. “Sometimes it gets terribly difficult to juggle work deadlines with my social commitments but then I sit and wonder what value would life have without a purpose. Like my mother used to say, ‘If you have access to people and the ability to make a difference, if you are special enough to receive the love of so many people, then you have to use it well’,” says Dia, adding, “There are so many issues. I can’t be apathetic.”
Save the environment…
For Dia, the pressing need of the hour is conserving the environment since development is synonymous with urbanisation. She strongly feels that it needs the involvement of every citizen of the country—right from a filmmaker to an actor to a dancer to an entrepreneur. “We can’t afford to sit on the fence any longer. Where is the country going in the name of development? We need to ask ourselves this and actively participate in helping our environment,” she says.
Dia may not wear a cape but she is Super-Woman when it comes to environment conservation. She has been busy promoting conservation by generating relevant content. This year, for instance, she was part of a film about the eco-friendly tree Ganeshas, which was followed by her directorial debut, a public service message film, #KidsForTigers, and the TV series Ganga—The Soul of India which she hosted.
Earlier, she had created vlogs on the Uttarakhand fires and her Kaziranga National park trip. “I am doing what I can, through media, through content; I am giving TED talks and speaking at universities,” says Dia, revealing that she is currently developing a web series titled Earth Heroes, based on Indians who are doing something to sustain nature. “There are so many people out there whose stories need to reach the masses. They are doing their bit for the environment and by making them household names what we hope to achieve is awareness.”
This year when the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan committee contacted her to be the ambassador, she was only too willing. “However, I told them that aside from the building of toilets which is the main cause of the programme, they must look seriously into the problem of waste management. To their credit, they gave me a free hand to handle the communication for the campaign,” says Dia. Now the lady is working with officials of the H-ward on making the Linking Road in Mumbai plastic free, offering a better waste management to restaurants and hospitals across all Mumbai wards and working closely with societies to make them completely waste-free.
Environmentalist Baba Dioum’s philosophy guides Dia Mirza all along – “In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.”
Besides nature conservation and environmental sustainability, Dia has been working closely with Genesis Foundation’s Save The Children to help critically-ill underprivileged children. Since the time Dia came on board, the foundation has saved the lives of approximately 1000 such kids. She is also working hard for the Right of Passage for elephants in the country. Reviving the 101 elephant corridors in India for the ease of movement of the tuskers is what Dia is striving for. “In fact, I am very happy that next year onward, we will have a lot of communication going across about Right of Passage. There will be videos, radio promotions and ‘live’ promotions by Bollywood stars, filmmakers, basically everyone with a fan following because we want to have as much awareness created about the passage. These Bollywood icons will speak about the importance of being a part of nature not apart from nature.”
Dia concludes saying, “India is very rich in its knowledge and culture. That’s why this country has attracted civilisations. It’s up to us now to keep the environment safe. Our lives depend in it.”