Divyanka Tripathi on family, heartbreaks and stardom



Divyanka Tripathi comes from Bhopal. Success and celebrity status have not changed her - she still retains her intrinsic simplicity and spontaneous smile. She arrived for the shoot dot on time. Her mother (currently in tinsel town to seek treatment for her foot pain), accompanied her. Clearly, 30-year-old Divyanka inherited her good looks from her mother. Even though clad in jeans and a shirt, Divyanka looks every bit of Dr Ishita (her character in Yeh Hai Mohabbatein) wrapped in a Kanjeevaram saree on the television screen. Barring dress and makeup, her demeanour during the chat was the same as the popular character she is playing - gentle, polite, happy and practical. She comes across as a bit of an introvert in the first go, but once she gets talking, she opens up and how!


ACTOR IN, ARMY OUT
As a student in Bhopal, Divyanka was big time into sports. She wanted to be an army officer and was even enrolled in the Bhopal Rifle Academy where she won a gold medal in rifle shooting. Before she got close to donning a military uniform, she got an opportunity to anchor some shows, and that changed the course of her life and career. Her natural flair for acting (not to forget glowing skin and lustrous locks) caught eyes from the moment she stepped in the limelight. In 2003, she won the crown of Miss Beautiful Skin in Miss Teen Contest organised by a leading entertainment television channel. Two years later, she won the Miss Bhopal contest. And a few years later, a talent hunt competition opened up the gates of the small screen for her. Even though she did not win the contest, Divyanka believes it gave her the confidence to overcome stage and camera fright. Post the contest, she began anchoring television and radio shows in Bhopal. She got her first break in a telefilm that was aired on Sahara One. Next, she bagged Zee TV's Banu Main Teri Dulhan (on the basis of her role in the telefilm), which turned her into a small screen star overnight. Divyanka went on to star in Ye Hai Mohabbatein with some comedy shows thrown in between... as they say, rest is history.

STARDOM CAME EASY
When she was invited to Mumbai to audition for the role of Vidhya, her first thought, in her own words, was that 'it's a prank', but she followed through and arrived in Mumbai with her parents. Once in Mumbai, she was pleasantly surprised to find people responding well to her - 'If you are good to people, they reciprocate with good behaviour', says Divyanka. Ofcourse, she had to slog it out as everything was new to her. Success came through sheer determination but she only grasped the fact that she had become a big star when she went to London for a programme; she was overwhelmed to see thousands of excited fans. Her elder sister, Priyanka, who was with her, had to pinch her to make her believe that stardom has really happened. Divyanka considers herself fortunate that she got to play good characters one after 2015another. Bored with emotional dramas, Divyanka turned to comedy shows after Banu Main Teri Dulhan (2009) was over. She thinks comic roles have helped her become a better actor: 'No actor can be a complete artist without trying his/her hand at comic roles.' This is perhaps one of the reasons for the popularity of her character as Dr Ishita.'
As far as Dr Ishita is concerned, she worked hard to get herself into this character. For the Tamil character, she listened to the Tamil diction attentively and adopted the style in her spoken Hindi. This character required her to play the step mother to 8-year-old Roohi (Ruhanika Dhawan). To do full justice to the role, she became friends with Roohi before the shoot - she played video games with her and worked on their bonding. Ishita treats Roohi like her daughter and ensures that she has no problems on the sets and that no one smokes near her. She also guides and helps Roohi with her script. This tuning between them is the reason why they seem so emotionally connected on screen.

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES
Gentle and demure Divyanka claims that as a child she was a tomboy. No one had imagined that she would ever become so 'ladylike'. Being the second daughter of the family, she was treated like a boy and she in turn adapted the same attitude. 'There was nothing girlish about me. I wore clothes hand-stitched by my mothe... I had only one ear pierced and preferred loose shirts and trousers. I think I was imitating my father!' she shares. Divyanka's father was associated with NCC, so she joined it too. Not much has changed. She still harbours a love for adventurous activities. She divulges one more thing: 'My lies would always get caught. During school days, I went on a date with a friend and made some lame excuse for being late but my mother was not fooled one bit! I apologised even before I had stopped lying! It helped - I didn't get punished.' Her mother, in turn, reveals more: 'Divyanka was hyper active and she never liked to be idle. Both of them are connected so well that they understand by their each other's tone if something is wrong. The mother-daughter duo likes to go on long drives and watch movies together. Divyanka's mom is happy that her star daughter likes the food she cooks and that she asks her to design her special dresses. Even though she is 50, Divyanka's mom is learning Bharatanatyam.








HER PARENTS, HER FIRST LOVE
Divyanka shares everything with her parents. She agrees with her sister that right or wrong should be decided on the basis of whether you can share that thing with your parents or not. She credits her parents for supporting her wholeheartedly: 'Though many close relatives taunted my parents, even warned them about the consequences of giving me so much freedom but my parents were not affected and allowed me the space I needed... I in turn have never betrayed them.'

Divyanka's sister, Priyanka, five years older, has always been like an elder brother and guide - 'she can fight anyone for my sake' - says the younger sibling. Divyanka's brother, Aishwarya, is nine years younger to her and is her best friend. She respects his opinion on her work. However, there is one grudge: 'He never took me for a ride on his bike in Bhopal.'

HANDLING HEARTBREAKS
Divyanka admits without batting an eyelid that she has had three boyfriends till date and was very serious with all three, especially her last relationship with her first co-star Sharad Malhotra (lasted for about nine years). She wanted to marry him, but gradually when she realised that there was no love left in the relationship, she persuaded Sharad to end it. They then jointly issued a statement about their separation. 'It still hurts and I don't fully understand where things went wrong. I even consulted astrologers to see where my life was headed... I was so lost but I now know that the pain will subside eventually...It already feels as if a burden is off my heart.' Despite it all, Divyanka has full faith in love and marriage: 'I look forward to a life partner who can look after me and respect me. Giving each other space is the key, as is being friends. There shouldn't be any ego and one should not hesitate to retreat in a fight.' She wants her would-be husband to understand her job as she often arrives home late. 'But I too will have to do my best for the relationship to succeed - I won't let anything ruin it, if and when I find the right person,' says this true Sagittarian.