Having featured in fruitful movies, for example, ‘Mulk’ and ‘Badhaai Ho’, Bollywood veteran Neena Gupta had a fairly kickass 2018. Nor did the Ayushmann Khurrana starrer simply gain her, her first Filmfare grant yet it additionally brought the ’90s performing artist in the spotlight more than ever. The change came after she set up a post via web-based networking media in 2017 about her searching for work.
The 62-year-old performing artist had expressed, “I live in Mumbai and working am a decent on-screen character searching for good parts to play.” Her little girl, Masaba Gupta (with cricketer Vivian Richards) had reposted it alongside an inspiring message, “She gripes that she can’t do PR .. yet, says ‘I do great work, that is my PR'”
In an ongoing meeting with noted film writer Rajeev Masand, Neena talked finally about her battles and what propelled her to request chip away at web based life. Over the span of the meeting, she made some fascinating disclosures about Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar and Mahesh Bhatt, as well.
Here are a couple of passages from Neena Gupta’s meeting:
1. Neena Gupta on winning the first Filmfare Award of her life
Neena Gupta bowled the critics over with her performance in Amit Sharma’s ‘Badhaai Ho’, in which she played a middle-aged woman with two grown-up sons who discovers she is pregnant again.
‘Badhaai Ho’ is special to the actress for more reasons than one. Not only did the comedy enjoy a fantastic run at the box office and enter the coveted Rs 100-crore club, she won her first-ever Filmfare award – Critics’ Award for Best Actor (Female) – for it.
The veteran beat the likes of Tabu (Andhadhun), Taapsee Pannu (Mulk), Alia Bhatt (Raazi) and Anushka Sharma (Sui Dhaaga: Made In India) to win the award.
“I never thought in this janam I’ll get a Filmfare. Pehle toh role mile, phirr woh picture chale, phirr logo ko role pasand aaye, phirr competition mein kaun hai. I mean Alia (Bhatt) is like my daughter. And, me and Alia were nominated (for the same category). Patanai kya huya,” Neena told Rajeev Masand.
2. Neena shares how she kept herself motivated
“Even when I was working for Shyam’s (Benegal) films, I never got a main part. So, I was always looking for a break. When I came here in 1991, from then I was looking for a break. ‘The’ break. I think I have got ‘the’ break, now (at 60).”
“I used to be very frustrated. I used to very sad. But, I am very grateful for whatever god has given me. When I get frustrated, when ever I feel ‘Oh this woman has got this role, I should have gotten that’, I just tell myself ‘Just see God has given you so much. She doesn’t have it. You have it. You have got nice hair. You have nice skin. You have nice height. You have nice body. Phirr? Ek nahi hai toh koi baat nahi.’ That’s how I have survived and not become an alcoholic or given up or become fat. Otherwise it’s very easy to let yourself go.”
3. Neena Gupta is currently living in a long-distance relationship with her second husband, Vivek Mehra
On 15 July 2008, Neena married New Delhi-based Vivek Mehra, an ex chartered accountant and former partner with PwC India, in a secret ceremony in the United States.
When asked how and where did they first meet, Neena revealed, “I met him on the plane. I was coming back from London. He was coming back from London. He is based out of Delhi but he was coming back to Mumbai. You won’t believe it. I was in the business class, up stairs, Air India. I was in the front row. And, he was sitting somewhere else. One lady wanted him to exchange (his seat with her) because of her kid or something. So, he came and sat next to me. Rest is history.”
On being asked how do they make the long-distance marriage work, Neena said, “He is retired now. Earlier he was with PWC. Before retirement he used to work in Delhi and Mumbai, both. So, he was here quite often and I used to go to Delhi whenever I used to be free. Now, he is working on his own. And, his office is in Delhi. So now, I have told him, ‘I’m gonna work now. So bye, bye, tata’. So we meet sometimes… That day he was saying ‘Kya hai, milna nahi hota hai.” So, I said, ‘Jab main kaam nahi kar rahi thi tumne bola milenge, you were never free. So, I used to sit at home. Now, you sit at home.’ (laughs) So, I said, ‘You’re retired, I’m gonna work.'”
4. Neena on daughter Masaba Gupta and her ex husband Madhu Mantena’s separation
“Like any normal mother I said, ‘Don’t take any decision in a rush. Think about it’. Because both me and my husband love Madhu. Still love him. He’s a very nice man. Nahi bana toh nahi bana. Par aisa nahi hai ki immediate decision liya, they thought about it. But, it was a very big shock to me,” Gupta said.
5. Neena Gupta calls Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar ‘cheap and mean’
During the same interview, Rajeev Masand also asked Neena Gupta about the time when she met Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar on a plane and asked them to discourage her daughter Masaba from taking up acting as a career.
While the actress ofcourse explained the rationale behind her seemingly absurd demand, she also had a few tid bits to share about the two Bollywood stars.
Before Rajeev could even complete his question, Neena interrupted and jokingly said, “Yeah, so mean cheapy kind of people they are. They gave me their number and phir phone hi nahi uthate the.”
She added, “Yeah so, I had met them on the plane. I thought they would never remember it. So, I said ‘Isko samjhao bhaiyya’.”
6. Neena misses being a star
When asked if she believes that ‘Badhaai Ho’ has changed things for her, Neena replied, “Yes, it has. But, there is still something missing. We can’t be stars. It’s like people don’t dream of me, to marry me or to be with me in bed or something. That will not happen which happens with the younger generation. I miss that. I will be admired but not desired. This is the first time that I have said this but sometimes I feel, ‘What is it that I’m missing.’ That’s what I’m missing. But theek hai, whatever I have is fantastic.”
7. Neena says she holds a big grudge against Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan
Neena has been great friends with a lot of people in the film industry. She and her daughter Masaba are particularly close to the Bhatts. Despite that, she never got offered a role by Mahesh Bhatt.
When asked if she holds a grudge against her friends for never helping her professionally, Neena said, “Very big grudges. None of my friends gave me work. None of them. A very, very close friend who has been making movies, he was making one small movie. A theatre actor from my play suggested my name to him, toh woh bhoolgaya tha. Ek aur London mein kuch banaa raha tha. Maine pucha mereko kyun nahin diya woh role, he said, “Oh Shit! I forgot!” Mere apne logo ne mujhe kisine kaam nahi diya. I am so close to Soni (Razdan), Mahesh Bhatt. Mahesh ne mujhe kabhi kaam nahi diya. Kisine mujhe kaam nahi diya. I wonder why. And, I am too shy to ask, maybe that’s why.”
“I lost Shekhar Kapur’s film long time back. I was going to Delhi, and he said, ‘When you come back I’ll call you.’ When I came back, I didn’t call him because he said he will call me. And later on, when he met me, he said, ‘Idiot! You missed that role.’ So, I said, ‘But, you were supposed to call.’ He said, ‘Toh tum call karleti nah’.”
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