2018 was a turnaround year for Neena Gupta. She starred Veere Di Wedding, Mulk and Badhaai Ho and the year ended on a high note for her winning a string of awards. And looks like she is quite enjoying this attention and especially attending awards show, something that she hasn’t done since her hit TV show, Saans (1999). The veteran actor says throughout her career she would only get to play “sidey” roles so there was never a question of her winning any award. Neena, 59, also rued how male actors her age still get to play the hero in their films and also opens about how her image as a strong and bold woman played havoc on her career. Excerpts:
Your career seems to have taken a complete flip post Badhaai Ho?
I feel happy and little anxious because after all that, now I can’t do just anything. I only want to grow up now, so, I’m waiting for good and better work, and that’s a little frustrating.
You’ve already won two awards this season. How are you taking it all in?
It’s nice to attend awards’ shows. The last time I used to be busy with awards was during the Saans days. Of course I never got awards for my films because I never got roles. I got very ‘sidey’, supporting and small parts in films. I was just there in the films but had nothing to perform. So, yes I am enjoying it now.
How does it feel to get nominated alongside younger female actors such as Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt?
Alia is like my child. Of course it is a strange feeling. But there is still a taboo about female actors. Men my age still get to play the hero but I won’t get that so easily. That will take more time to change. Pata nahi main tab tak zinda bhi rahoongi ya nahi. There has to be more stories around women. That is the only way.
You are also now very active on social media and you regularly share pictures from your daily life. Are you enjoying the space?
Earlier I used to think that you should not post personal pictures. I still am very shy and not very pro active and make mistakes. I have a feeling that people are getting to know more about me this way, which is different from the image which was created about me. And because of that I had to suffer a lot in my professional life. I have a feeling that it is helping me change that and I needed to change that.
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What kind image are you referring to?
“Well that of a bold, strong woman who does things according to what she wants to do. And a strong woman means a negative woman in our films. I used to get all negative roles like a dominating woman in the household but I told them that I want a bechari woman role. Also, discussions about having a child out of wedlock (referring to her daughter Masaba) went on and on and on. Wo child to woman ho gayi abhi bhi child hi bol rahe hain.
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