Motoring

The car, for me, was a necessity: Neena Gupta

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Bollywood actress Neena Gupta goes down memory lane with her first car, a green Padmini Standard

My first car was a second-hand Padmini Standard that I bought for ₹25,000 in 1985. It was a lot of money for me. The Padmini Standard was one of those small cars which was very popular during that time. However, I never drove the car and still don’t drive one. I was compelled to buy the car to use it for my commute to work. This was the time I was shooting for the popular serial Khandaan for Doordarshan (DD).

Earlier, I would take a bus or train to get to work, but when my popularity as an actress grew, taking public transport to the studio became difficult. Our pay then was ₹1,000 per episode, since it was a weekly episode. I made ₹4,000 every month from Khandaan. I pooled all the money I had and went looking for a car. Since I was desperate for one, I wasn’t even looking at any particular colour. My goal was to buy one that fit my budget. Finally, I found a green Padmini Standard and purchased it immediately.

I remember being excited to go on the test-drive. I was driven to the place where the Worli Sea Link turn is now. For some reason, that drive is still clear in my memory, and even now, when I take a ride on the Worli Sea Link route, I feel extremely nostalgic. It brings back memories of my young days as an actor.

The car, for me, was a necessity. Even though I didn’t get the time or have the means to go out more often, as youngsters these days do, I felt content getting driven to and from home for work. My ultimate luxury and happiness was that I was able to take my own home-cooked food in my dabbas, keep it in the car and eat it bilkul aram se (comfortably).

The car remained with me for a long time and the person who drove the car was a very good driver.

The car made me comfortable about going for shoots in different locations. It was a sense of independence for me. I didn’t have to wait for anyone to drop me nor did I have to depend on anyone to pick me up for any outing. I sometimes wonder where the car is or whether any part of that car still exists.

Mechanically, it must have not have had any problem, because the driver never complained or maybe he was kind enough not to.

Even today I don’t drive, I don’t even have a licence. Recently, I bought a Toyota Camry and I am happy with the car. I think I don’t complain much about cars because I don’t drive.

As told to Prabalika M Borah

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 8:50:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/motoring/the-car-for-me-was-a-necessity/article25880795.ece

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