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Giving company to Jassi

This Tuesday, Neena Gupta would be seen in "Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin". SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY talks to the fine actress about her return to TV, first for a little while with "Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand" on Star Plus and now a full-fledged show on Sony TV.

Photo: R.V. Moorthy.

In new shades... Neena Gupta in New Delhi.

VERSATILE IS the word when we talk of Neena Gupta. An actress primarily who gave us commendable entertainment be it in plays, films, TV serials. Either in front of camera or sitting on the director's chair. Writing her own rules, she has always led a life with oozing aplomb and sheen. Missing her for quite sometime on TV screens after such fine serials like Saans, Palchin, Dhund, Junoon, Khandan and even Kamzor Kadi Kaun, her recent re-entry into the tube with Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand on Star Plus, came as a welcome move. Never mind, if the lady who had told the world that she was going back to theatre because TV has only saas-bahu roles, was back to the tube in the role of a saas. At least, if nothing else, there was some fine acting happening on TV. And then, she went off air as unexpectedly as she came.

But here is some good news. This Tuesday, the performer shall re-visit us. In the role of Nandini Sharma in Sony TV's flagship serial Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin.

Donning the character of Nandini, a public relations consultant, who joins the fashion house Gulmohar, she comes in immediate contact with dear Jassi, ending up in a good friendship by and by. "I am one of those successful, confident women who gets to understand Jassi, her emotional trauma, her problems in life. So, we end up being friendly to each other," describes Neena, laced with that known laugh.

Back from Lahore

Just back from performing to applause at the World Theatre Festival in Lahore with her play sponsored by Star Plus, "Suraj Ki Antim Kiran Se Suraj Ki Pehli Kiran Tak", Neena meanwhile, is also shooting for Siddharth Srinivasan's Amavaas with co-stars Victor Banerji, Konkona Sen Sharma and Tara Sharma. "The film would be released early next year," this is all the actress says. Also, she has just finished shooting in London for Raju Kher's film Wao. "There is some little patchwork to be done in the film, so I don't know when is it getting released," she states.

Beginning with the superb comedy Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron way back in 1984, Neena was seen in great films like Trikaal, Sooraj Ka Satwan Ghoda, Cotton Mary, Utsav, Gandhi.

Not saying no to even the so-called item numbers, she did one along side Madhuri Dikshit in Khalnayak. "And now, I am doing another in a Sony Razdan film. If you ask me, why I said yes to her at a time of item number girls, I would suggest you to have a look at it when it gets released. I am not supposed to talk about it and so I am not," she makes it clear. And laughs again.

All excited about getting back to producing tele-serials after she gave audience successful ones like Saans, Sonpari and Kyun Hota Hai Pyar among others, Neena says, she will be able to roll out one in April next year. "It will be called Mr and Mrs Mathur. I am doing it for Star Plus. I will play the role of Mrs Mathur in search of a Mr. Mathur,' she explains. Interesting to see this shade of a woman above 35 on television getting a little adventurous. And, if you scan it a little more, you would see that she has always been doing that.

"Even in Saans, I tried to bring to the fore the emotions of a middle-aged married woman, In Palchin, I wanted to show the mind of a girl who has crossed her marriageable age. Even in my upcoming serial, I would be doing a similar thing. What I want to say here is, in a way, it is a conscious attempt because I want to break this social convention that a woman after 35 is worthless and be seen only as a mother or a sister," now Neena shows the fangs she is well known for. A real woman of substance, she compares it with the Western TV soaps: "There, only senior women get the glamorous roles and here, it is the opposite. Why is this?"

Well, an interesting question. It would be nice to see the reactions on TV.

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