Neena is back in news, again for her pregnancy on screen life in well appreciated family drama on getting pregnant later in life when kids are grown up. It is a fun, entertaining movie that comments on situations like these and reactions from others around, states Rupa. A Different Truths exclusive.
My visit to the hot spot of artistes, intellectuals in “City of Stars” was when I was completing my MBA there. Few friends decided to visit Prithvi theatre for its famous Irish coffee which was pricey by student standards. Energy of the vibrant, quaint, charming, lovely setting reeked of ton-loads of talent from past present and future, was infectious. There were people we were in awe of and fascinated by. I saw a vision in white silk sari, lot of metal bangles, and dark silky hair in a chignon with white jasmine gajra sitting with few famous names from art films, selling tickets for a play at the door of Prithvi theatre. She was ethereal and prettier than how she looked on screen (small or big), young Neena Gupta.
The artistes were busy for us to approach them for an autograph, we pretended we were not star gazing. Neena was talking to others in her group, likes of Pankaj Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah. Then there were Sanjana Kapoor, model Karan Kapoor within arm’s reach. Shabana Azmi’s parental home was across the place that I had visited with my hostel mates when visiting parents from college. she was scrubbed of makeup, in casual check shirt and jeans in a bamboo arm chair with high back. We had approached her for an autograph, on asking her to sign something different she said “I am not smart enough to.” I must have that yellow stick’em somewhere by the that of Raj Babbar, Deepak Parasher.
Neena was later in the news with her dating; pregnancy and daring out of wedlock child with cricket big from Indies. Gossip magazines, well known writers had field day writing, talking about it. She was called all kind of names; some attributed her with boldness, strength, independence, guts, and balls in addition to the disgusting comments from many.
For me she was an impressive actor, lovelier looking in person and a trail blazer of her times.
She came in films in some roles; none did justice to her prowess and potential despite recognition with a national Filmfare Award for her “Woh Chokri” and “Bazaar Sitaram”. She has done some good work with great film personalities – actors, directors; but she did not get her due.
Fast forward and she married at mature age defying norms, her daughter Masaba is a successful designer who tried her hand and is good at many things e.g. Writing; sports; Tennis; Music, etc.
What came across and stood out for me about her were:
· Her boldness did not come from design nor choice, but things unfolded that way
· She embodies her Gandhian mother’s qualities and strength, she is outspoken and honest
· She holds a Masters and MPhil in Sanskrit, and is from NSD
· She comes from a conservative Old Delhi family
· She is fine with her choices, yet not an advocate of live in relationships and kid out of wedlock
· She advised her daughter to get married and not drag the live-in relationship
· Her experience is – society was and is tough on out of wedlock child and unmarried mother
· She found ample acceptance and support from film fraternity
· Male dominated film fraternity is a reflection of real society we live in
· Roles for women of certain age are limited because our society has limited roles for them
Neena is back in news, again for her pregnancy on screen life in well appreciated family drama on getting pregnant later in life when kids are grown up. It is a fun, entertaining movie that comments on situations like these and reactions from others around. Society being judgmental all over again though on celluloid and treated with humour makes it better. I cannot wait for a new lease to her film career giving us this fabulous actor portraying meaningful, fun or serious characters. Neena, welcome back to your second innings.
Photos sourced by the author
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