Diana Penty was sitting snug in her room at The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat when we met her last Tuesday. What strikes you about her first is her cheerful laughter. And when we put the Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi actress in a bit of a spot, she won us over with the same!  

Diana, you chose gulab jamun over rosogolla! (‘@DianaPenty Rasgullaaa or gulab jamun? #AskDiana’ asked one of her fans on Twitter. ‘Gulab Jamun ??’ she had replied)… 

(Laughs) Damn! Got to be really careful with what I say now! (Laughs out loud) But I really like sandesh, and mishti doi. 

What’s your favourite sweet?

Anything that’s got chocolate in it… Dutch Truffle Cake, chocolate ice cream or a doughnut. I am generally a foodie, I like trying different things. Every time I travel to some place I haven’t been to before, I’ll try the cuisine or a speciality of the place. 

What’s your favourite food? 

One of my most favourites is Japanese, and I love my Indian ghar ka khana. What else? Chinese. 

Which food you don’t like that much?

Continental is not my most favourite… although Mediterranean might be the most healthy and it is probably the best thing to do on a regular basis, like salads, simple yet healthy eating. But for a passionate food lover, that’s not on your radar! (Laughs) I am into aloo-paratha, Butter Chicken, biryani… biryani is my favourite… mutton! The Lucknowi biryani is the best. Every time I travel to Lucknow, I parcel and take home biryani and kebabs… tunday kebab… too good! I find happiness in food. If I am having a terrible day, I am like I will get a really good lunch today and then I’ll be happy.    

Do you cook?

I cannot cook to save my life. I cannot stand the idea of it. I don’t have the patience for it and I just want things to happen fast because I am getting really hungry while I am cooking and it is not happening and then I want to eat it while it’s cooking… it’s just a disaster. I am also very clumsy. I can make Maggi and can get by with pasta, aglio e olio, which doesn’t require any ingredient. I can only make teabag tea! (Laughs)   

What else do you love?

I love travelling. That is something I try to do when I have some time off. Photography is a hobby as well, especially travel photography and wildlife photography. I remember six-seven years ago I had gone on a safari to Bandhavgarh to see tigers… that just inspired me. I wish I had a camera to capture those magnificent moments. 

After that trip, I remember going and buying my first SLR and I played around with lenses, started shooting on manual mode and played around with the settings, just to see what would come out of it. And, it became quite a passion. I have this hunger to see new places. It’s more about nature. Cities don’t call out to me as much as the mountains. I am a full mountain person. 

Have you gone trekking too?

I am lazy too! I will never probably go on with a full-on trekking agenda. My trips are usually no-agenda trips. I go with no plan and then take each day as it comes. I love Europe. Cape Town is also stunning. Parts of Canada as well, like the Niagara Falls, Toronto. London is one of those cities where I can just walk around and go to some good restaurants, spend time doing nothing. I am not that much of a beach person. 

Do you have a list of places in mind?

I want to go to Norway, Mongolia, Bolivia, Ladakh, Sikkim. 

Do you like travelling solo? 

I have done that also. When I used to model in Paris back in the day, every weekend I used to go somewhere. You can hop onto a train or bus and go see a new place. 

So, happy to be left alone?

I am an only child and have grown up with a lot of space around me. So, I am used to my space and I have no issues being on my own whether that means — sitting in a room alone, living alone or travelling alone. 

Alonetime is what? 

Sometimes I literally sit on my couch and stare into space and do nothing…. 

Diana Penty is synonymous with ‘happy’. Has your definition of happiness changed over the years?

I guess. As you get older, your priorities change. Spending time with family and friends makes me happy. My work makes me happy. When I am enjoying what I am doing, I want there to be more days like that. I know it sounds very silly, but that one cup of chai in the evening… with very little milk, really kadak… it looks almost like black tea and with normal sugar… if I have my tea exactly the way I like it, that makes me happy. 

What about Calcutta makes you smile?

Kathi rolls. I had it from Park Street a couple of years ago. 

Is there anything you have promised yourself this year?

I want to do a lot more work and I feel that I have been bitten by the bug. I feel like I have done a lot in the last year and I want to up that and keep the momentum going… keep doing more and more films because that makes me really happy.  

What can you tell us about Happy Phirr Bhag Jayegi?

It’s hilarious and promises to be an absolute laugh riot. I couldn’t keep a straight face during most of the scenes and we had to retake because somewhere in the background, you’d find me laughing! It’s a sweet family film… that’s what’s special about it. Mudassar (Aziz) has really outdone himself, especially with the dialogues. What’s funny about Happy Bhag Jayegi and the sequel are the dialogues. That’s how it all comes together. And, all these quirky characters coming together… the whole old cast along with Sonakshi (Sinha) and Jassi (Gill).

Saionee Chakraborty 
What’s the best thing about Diana Penty? Tell t2@abp.in

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