People Had Different Impression Earlier, They're Getting to Know the Real Me Now, Says Neena Gupta

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Neena Gupta is self-quarantining in Uttarakhand’s hill station Mukteshwar. The actress went up there for a short break, but is continuing to stay there during the lockdown period. She has been posting videos from her house up in the mountains - from sewing up curtains to finding innovative ways of colouring her hair in absence of a parlour.

In the meantime, her new web series Panchayat has dropped on Amazon Prime Video. Co-starring with Raghuvbir Yadav and Jitendra Kumar, she plays the role of a village pradhan in the show. After a cameo in Made in Heaven, this is her first full-fledged web outing.

In a freewheeling chat, she spoke about her role, co-stars and why she loves sharing her life with her fans.

What made you take up the role in Panchayat?

I always like these kinds of projects where the narrative is very simple, and by the end you say something very important. My role is not a very long one as such, but it's a very important role to the story and it says a lot.

How was it reuniting with your Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan co-star Jitendra Kumar?

We actually shot Panchayat before that film. I didn't have many scenes with him and he was very shy. We were staying in the same place but he would not meet me. Raghubir Yadav and I have known each other for ages. So we’d go for dinner in the evening to the restaurant, but Jitendra would eat in his room. He was a very shy, introvert kind of a person during this series, but then he opened up during Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and we became good friends.

You actively share your life and thoughts on Instagram...

People had a very different impression of me as a human being, as a woman. So it's very nice that they are getting to know me now. This is my style. I have always been like this but people never knew me. The roles I play on screen are not me. I am liking this appreciation from people. So I'm okay with sharing. I know there is a limit. I have realised that certain things you can't say, you have to be very careful. But I'm really enjoying sharing my life with them.

Is it also a way to reach out to younger audiences?

I don’t know what youngsters think of me, but I'm really friendly. And I don't feel that I'm much older than them. I mean, I feel like I'm their age sometimes (laughs).

Do you wish classic shows like Buniyaad and Saans were revived now?

I wish that kind of content would be made now so that people like me would get beautiful parts in them. But I think times have changed. I've been trying to do Saans 2 for a long time, I did a pilot also, but it didn't work. Channels think that ‘purana hai nahi chalega,’ I think the opposite, but what to do? So I am still trying to do something like that. But yeah, there were some beautiful serials like Buniyaad, Kotra Kaagaz, Nukkad, Humlog, amazing shows.

How is the self-quarantining going in Mukteshwar?

Initially, we came to know that till 31st March all shoots and meetings are canceled. Last year I did not have much time to come to my holiday home in Mukteshwar. So I reached Delhi on the 17th and came to Mukteshwar on 20th, thinking that I’ll go back after the 30th. But things went differently and now we are stuck here.

We are very lucky that we are here. It's great. We have a garden, we have a huge area around us where we can walk, we can sit in the sun in the garden. We also have our dog here and our house help from Delhi. So it's been very nice. Because I have come after a long time I've been doing things like repairing that curtain ka dori, cleaning up and throwing things, etc.

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