Bengaluru | Dia Mirza says she chose to be a "part-time actor" so that she can devote more energy towards conservation and environmental causes.
The actor, also a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said she feels a certain sense of responsibility in making the world a better place.
"I was recently telling the head of UNEP in India that I act part time. Most of my time and energy is spent in conservation efforts and environmental action in the country.
"I do it because I feel responsible, I feel a sense of urgency. I feel that the only way I can safeguard my children's present and future is if I contribute to solutions that make a difference," Mirza told PTI in an interview here.
On Saturday evening, the 41-year-old delivered a keynote speech on sustainable living at a three-day nature and wildlife festival, 'Nature in Focus 2023', held in Bengaluru from July 28 to July 30.
But Mirza, known for films such as "Rehnaa Hai Terre Dil Mein", "Parineeta", and "Bheed", agrees that cinema is a powerful instrument of social change.
Citing the example of Oscar-winning documentary short "The Elephant Whisperers", the actor said, "I think conservation efforts in cinema can be far reaching. There is no greater medium to impact change than the medium of storytelling." Mirza said she wants to help in conservation efforts and spread advocacy through her filmmaking ventures and photography. The former Miss Asia Pacific International said the first film she directed is called "Kids for Tiger".
"It was about eight years ago. It was actually a poem written by Cara Tejpal and Sahil Sangha. It is available on YouTube; it is free to view. It is basically kids talking about why the tiger is a metaphor for all nature. I had the most fun directing the children," she said.
Mirza added filmmakers can do their bit even if they do not have a perfect story that weaves conservation efforts into its narrative.
"By just improving sustainable practices in the process of filmmaking, the way we tell stories can also be a big contributor to that change," she said.
The Hyderabad-born actor also batted for the practical implementation of sustainability.
"Whenever we produce, we try to ensure that we are sustainable. I am grateful that those values are now percolating. It is spreading far and wide now. More and more filmmakers are choosing to make films sustainable," added Mirza.
At the festival, she talked about how individual choices have an impact on the environment in the long run.
"You can belong to any walk of life. You could be anyone. But the first and the most important understanding is that we are citizens of earth. and we can all do our bit to impact change." Appreciating the works of award-winning photographers, which were on display at the three-day festival, Mirza said they did their bit through photography in spreading a message about the need for conservation.
She also reiterated that change can come from making smart choices in everyday life too.
"In a sense every one of us is a changemaker and we are capable of bringing the change that this planet needs," added Mirza.
Talking about her upcoming film projects, the actor said she is awaiting the release of "Dhak Dhak", produced by Taapsee Pannu and a Prime Video project.
"I have a beautiful film coming up later this year called 'Dhak Dhak'. It is special because it is a female-led narrative. It is about four incredible women who choose to make a journey from Delhi to Khardung La on bikes. I am excited about it; I can't wait for its release. And, very soon there will be something coming up on Amazon as well," she said.