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What a soldier!

SURABH SINGH
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In Conversation Neha Dhupia talks about her growing-up days and off-beat ways

Razor Sharp! Neha Dhupia Photo: AP
Razor Sharp! Neha Dhupia Photo: AP

A thing of beauty is a joy forever. But they say beauty itself is a fragile gift. Add to it, confidence, courage, integrity, camaraderie and grooming, a pinch of luck, and wonders can happen. That is what Neha Dhupia believes in. Though she does not boast a truckload of hits to her credit, you can tell she is happy with the way her career has shaped up. In New Delhi recently, to unveil Gillette's special soldier range of shaving accessories, Neha says there's a soldier in each one of us. “It's about having integrity, which is something really deep down inside us. It's in service 24X7 and guides us. Whether you're an actor or a soldier you have to have camaraderie, confidence, courage, and most importantly grooming to succeed. I'll definitely look at someone who is well groomed as opposed to someone who is not.”

Cantonment girl

Talking about growing up in the refined environment of cantonment, Neha says it wasn't strict. “My parents' biggest strength was that they let me be me. For the first few years, of course, till I was in school and college, it was about doing things the right way, becoming the person I should be, or they thought I should be. Whether its integrity, confidence, courage or grooming, as a child, I always saw these things in my dad and so I have these qualities deep seated in me as well. That's why I think there's half a soldier inside me! My parents allowed me the freedom of becoming the person I wanted to become. So I don't have any scary stories to tell.”

Neha created ripples by dubbing in her own voice for the Telugu movie “Param Veer Chakra”. “It was hard. But I wrote it down in Devnagiri. It needed a lot of work, trust me, shooting for the film was far easier than dubbing. Dubbing, by itself, is a very hard process, as far as an actor is concerned because you are enhancing, recreating and reliving the moments that you have shot without costumes, stage and settings. You're sitting in a closed room, looking at yourself, and redoing everything. My director somehow persuaded me into it, saying I have a very deep voice and so I took up the challenge. And then I realised I had kind of axed my own foot. It took a while, but I did it!

Of late, she is seen more in offbeat films, but Neha says she doesn't understand the word off beat. “It's something like maybe left of centre, if that means anything! For me, everything where there is money involved is commercial. What you're talking about is smaller films, where the budget is not much. I think it's harder to do such films. I don't know why people don't get it! It's harder because the only reason why someone is going to come and watch the non-glossed film or the locales they haven't been to,is because it has the right message, soul and story! Whether it's a brand or movie that I select, I think the message is something that stands out. I have been here for long enough. I don't want to fool myself or my audience with something I don't believe in.”

Interacting with audience and performing live is fast becoming a part of promotions. Neha says, “My take is that if it's your film, it should reach the farthest point. Anywhere where there's an audience, the reach should be there and everybody should be looking forward to watching it. After that, whether they like it or not — it's something that is not in our control. Selling a movie is not different from selling a product. We are in a business that has an audience, so why not reach each and every one, why leave anyone?”

SURABH SINGH

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