Former Miss Asia-Pacific Diya Mirza makes her debut with Vashu Bhagnani's Rehnaa Hain Tere Dil Mein, which hits the silver screen on October 19.

Diya is excited at the same time nervous about her first film. A dreamer, Diya loves dancing to Hindi film songs. Acting was not one of her serious career options.

Bharati Dubey caught up with the debutante who shyly admits, "Subconsciously, I always wanted to be an actress."

RHTDM releases tomorrow. Are you nervous?

I am. Extremely nervous. But the attention I have been receiving has been a high. I love it!

I hope people accept me as an actress. My parents, think I've done pretty well.

Tell us about your role.

I'm playing a character that very 'real'. In fact, my character is quite similar to me in real life. I can relate to her very well.

Why is it that after winning beauty pagents, girls usually opt for films?

That's not a fair question. I can't reply for the others.

I've always been a movie buff... I loved mimicking actresses. And after I won the Miss Asia-Pacific title, I was flooded by offers.

I was very apprehensive, but Anupam Kher was very keen that I do his film Om Jai Jagdish. Eventually he managed to convince me. Vashuji saw my work in OJJ and signed me for two films -- RHTDM and Deewanapan.

It sure looks like Vashu Bhagnani is your godfather?

He is not. He's a thorough businessman. People think that he is promoting me, but he really isn't. He signed me for his films because he was impressed by my work. He thought the actress in me had tremendous potential and he wanted to tap it.

I won't deny that he is my support in the industry today.

Are you under any contract with Vashu Bhagnani?

No. Vashuji didn't stop me from doing other films.

What was it like working with R Madhavan?

He is a fabulous co-star. Eventhough he's a superstar down South, he never looked down on me, even though I was a complete newcomer. I was his equal.

Madhavan helped me with a lot my scenes. He's a very sincere actor, he has no starry airs. He's a real down-to-earth guy.

You are already being compared to Kareena and Amisha...

It is not fair to compare a newcomer like me with them. They are my seniors. They have many films old. I'm far behind in the race today.

What of the rumours about your association with Salman Khan?

There's no truth to them. When I first read about them in the magazines, I was very upset. I cried the whole day.

But I later came to realise that these link-ups were professional hazards. Some people even wrote that since I look like Aishwarya, Salman developed a soft corner for me. How ridiculous!

I don't have any time for romance. I'm too busy focusing on my film career.

Speaking about Aishwarya, how does it feel when people say you resemble her?

I'm certainly not offended. It's a compliment. But I am certainly not aping her, as people seem to think. I have my own identity.

Design: Rajesh Karkera

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