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Comeback queen: Neena Gupta

Colour me bright Neena Gupta

Colour me bright Neena Gupta  

Back on screen after a long hiatus, Neena Gupta says now is the best time for actors

Neena Gupta is still basking in the Badhai Ho glory and gearing up for the release of Vikas Khanna’s directorial debut — The Last Colour. The teaser of the movie was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. The actor feels she has every right to bask in the glory because that is what actors work for. “We all want to be appreciated. Don’t we? Apart from the money actors earn, it is the love and appreciation that keeps everyone looking forward to do more,” says Neena Gupta.

As an actor who appeared on screen after a long hiatus, Neena considers Badhai Ho as her comeback film, which has given her a break in the industry all over again. “This is the break that all actors would want. Bas ek break mil jaye toh sab set (one break will set everything right). For me, it happened quite late in life, but I am not complaining. People are still watching Badhai Ho and it is a great feeling,” says the national award-winning actor.

Colour me bright Neena Gupta in a still from ‘The Last Colour’

Colour me bright Neena Gupta in a still from ‘The Last Colour’  

Neena’s next one, The Last Colour, that’s based on Vikas Khanna’s novel, promises yet another challenging role for her. Neena plays Noor, a widow in Vrindavan who wishes to play Holi but is forbidden by tradition. Noor meets a young tightrope walker, Chhoti (played by Aqsa Siddiqui), and the film traces their impact on each other’s lives. Talking about her long hiatus, she says it was not of her making. Apart from taking care of her daughter and family, she got tired playing the second or fourth fiddle and decided to wait till she found something more exciting and suitable. “My husband does well enough, so me not earning was not an issue. Since films gave me no good option then, I switched to television. Soon TV too had no projects that tempted me. I found it easy to not do projects that were not according to my taste,” adds Neena Gupta.

Neena however, admits to being restless when not acting. “I gave up acting and settled in Delhi. People just decided to think of me as a retired actor. Which was not the fact. I was looking for work, work that was good enough for me. Something that had substance and meaning,” she says.

So the actor decided to do a very social media savvy thing, “I posted something on Instagram saying I am looking for meaningful work. At that time, I was sure my daughter Masaba would be angry. She however, reposted it and wrote another beautiful post. She is a very good writer. That post almost changed things for me. I am glad I did what I did,” says Neena.

With the availability of many platforms and formats, actors can pick and choose their projects these days, says Neena.

Vikas Khanna had contacted her while she was shooting for Badhai Ho. “Vikas said he had seen my movie Threshold and had me in his mind. Later that evening, he came over to my house and narrated the script. He described one scene which made me agree to do the movie,” adds Neena.

Did she have second thoughts about a chef wanting to direct a movie? “I am not that kind of a person. I can never doubt anyone’s capabilities. I feel everyone has a talent which takes time to come out. Vikas is an excellent chef and a good director as well. On the sets I realised he was more than a director. He was the art director, writer, director everything rolled in one,” adds Neena.

Since the movie was shot on a low budget, they didn’t have the luxury of putting up a set. The small team went to Vrindavan and “The crew took the best care of me in whatever was possible in the town. Each day as I went to shoot, I saw a new creative side of Vikas. He used the best available natural backgrounds as props and added lots of colour and beauty to every scene,” she says.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 7:00:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/neena-gupta-vikas-khanna-the-last-colour-bollywood/article25788900.ece

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