Movies

All eyes on Neha Dhupia

Films, talk shows, podcasts, reality TV and now Netflix. The actor has a finger in every pie of show business

You have seen her in recent Bollywood hits like Tumhari Sulu and Hindi Medium. She has just wrapped up shooting for MTV’s reality show Roadies 2018, completed a season of her talk show, BFFs with Vogue, and two seasons as a podcast host on #NoFilterNeha.

Unlike many in the industry, Neha Dhupia continues to experiment across mediums and remains strongly relevant even today. “I’m not going to lie to you. It’s been a rollercoaster ride,” says Dhupia, on a call from the mountains of Arunachal Pradesh where she has spent the last month living in tents and trekking every morning for the final season of Roadies.

All eyes on Neha Dhupia

The 37-year-old actor — who will next be seen in Pradeep Sarkar’s upcoming film Eela, starring Kajol, and in Karan Johar’s short film, Lust Stories (Netflix’s collection of four short films by Indian auteurs) — is quite candid about not being the leading lady anymore. “You don’t know what you’re good or bad at until you try it. In a business like mine, it is okay if you try doing something and don’t get enough visibility. Today, the world is the size of a dot, and if I create content and put it out there, I can be sure that someone will consume it,” says Dhupia, who has consciously worked on reinventing herself over her 24-year-long career.

Going social

Having comfortably juggled films alongside her social media projects, working across mediums has been a well-thought out decision for her. “You have to move ahead with time and make sure that you work with people who understand where film, television and the digital world are going,” she says, explaining how a chance encounter at the valet booth of a restaurant with the founder of Saavn, Rishi Malhotra, led to her becoming a podcast host and launching her show #NoFilterNeha. For two seasons, she interviewed famous Indian personalities such as Sania Mirza, Karan Johar and Sonam Kapoor. “My idea was just to have fun conversations with my friends who are famous. It’s the simple ideas that make for great shows,” she says.

All eyes on Neha Dhupia

With over two million followers on Twitter, and 1.8 million on Instagram, Dhupia is aware of the wonders that a strong social media presence can do for a career. “Being in people’s minds is very important because everybody has short term memory, and people are remembered by their social media handles,” she says, adding, “We’re heading towards this crazy dystopian world and we’re consuming pocket content to get to know people. So we need to talk to the gallery and give them what they’re looking for. For me, it’s not hard because I don’t stress about it. Social media is a part of my job and I feel like it’s the only place where I can be real,” she says.

Movies and more

Known for offbeat films such as Qarib Qarib Single (2017), Moh Maya Money (2016) and more mainstream ones like Singh is King (2008) and Action Replay (2010), she has a lot lined up in Bollywood.

All eyes on Neha Dhupia

Dhupia is looking forward to start work on Pradeep Sarkar’s Eela alongside Kajol in a few months. “I am very excited that Sarkar offered me the part and was keen that I do it. I don’t over intellectualise on film sets. I am not the brooding person who will go into a corner and stress about method acting. I respect people who do that, but I am not one of them,” she explains. Dhupia, who is tight-lipped about the film, only reveals she will be essaying the role of Padma, a drama teacher. “Eela is a nostalgic film as it is produced by Ajay Devgn, who also starred in my Bollywood debut, Qayamat,” she says.

What’s next

Dhupia’s mind is brimming with ideas for future projects. “Maybe a web series. I would also really like to do my own stand-up comic piece at some point. There’s a lot of funny stuff that goes down in my life and I have a way of attracting trouble,” says the actor, adding, “Humour is very important to me. If anybody asks me what kind of a man I want — I am still single, and I don’t know why — I would tell them I want a funny man; I can compromise on a lot of things, but not humour. That would be death.”

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 6:11:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/in-conversation-with-neha-dhupia/article23455251.ece

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