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Although well-known for her bold movies and even bolder roles, Neha Dhupia is yet to make a place for herself in Bollywood. Appearing with Rajpal Yadav in her last film Rama Rama Kya Hai Drama, Neha has now made her audience speculate how long she would last in Bollywood. Undeterred by such reports and rumours, Neha has taken her career in Bollywood as a struggle and is determined to stay here. Currently, Neha is pinning her hopes on Rajat Kapoor's recently released film Mithya. We met the actress to know more about her, especially the unknown facets of her life. Here are the excerpts of the interview:
Q: First of all tell us about Mithya and your character in the film.
A: Mithya is the story about a person called P.K. who wants to be a hero, but cannot act. Nevertheless, he comes to Mumbai with dreams of becoming an actor and surprisingly lands in the role of a don in a film. Now how he gets the role, who offers it to him and that is the storyline of Mithya. In this film I am cast in the role of Sonam, who is the moll of the real don played by Naseeruddin Shah. Sonam is also a struggling heroine who dreams that some day the don will make a film with her or at least finance her film. But nothing such happens and when she meets Ranvir, Sonam realizes that her goals are not films, but love that Ranvir showers for her.
Q: Mithya director Rajat Kapoor says that your role is somewhat similar to Mona Darling in the Ajit films. What do you have to say on this?
A: I really don't know, at least Rajat has never said so to me. I am not 'Mona Darling', but of course the moll of a don. The character of 'Mona Darling' was very artificial, while Sonam is more life-like.
Q: We've heard that both Ranvir and Vinay used to pull your leg a lot on the sets and they had even made a 'jhandulal' crown for you?
A: No, this is not true. Actually, 'jhandulal' is a song and they had never made a crown by that name. I felt nice working with them and can't really express how happy I was while working with them. In fact, Ranvir and I used to fight so much on the sets that it often became difficult for Rajat to handle the situation. He used to often say that it was easier to handle kids, but not us!
Q: Naseeruddin is such a veteran actor that you've grown up watching him. How did it feel doing the role of his moll in the film? Were you hesitant?
A: You are absolutely right. Before going to the sets, I was really nervous and uneasy, but once on the sets, Naseeruddin made me feel so easy that I never felt that I was working with a great actor and a legend. I feel that the matter became much easier as Rajat was the director and he made me feel comfortable.
Q: On what basis do you select your roles?
A: When the story of a film makes me feel bore, I don't accept the film. And to a large extent, I depend on my experience while selecting films and roles. After all, I am also a human being who has learnt from her mistakes. I don't regret making mistakes as I have learnt a lot from them. I can assure one thing to the audience and that is from Mithya they would be seeing me in good and meaningful cinema only.
Q: Do you think that your last two films Sheesha and Julie has had a role in projecting you as a sexy actress?
A: No, I don"t think so. Today even if I wear a salwar-kameej people say that I look sexy. However, like many others, I don't take this as a compliment. I have received a compliment that is unique. During the question-answer session after Mithya was screened at the 'Osian Film Festival', a female critic came up to me and openly said, 'Neha, I have watched many of your films, but I feel that after this movie, you have emerged as an excellent actress'.
Q: On what basis did you choose your last film Rama Rama Kya Hai Drama?
A: Actually, when I had read the story of the film, it attracted me. Unfortunately, the final product did not turn out that way. Moreover, I am not responsible nor do I have a hand in a film being good or bad. There are many times when I have to accept films for friendship sake, but now I have realized that it is often wise to say 'no' to some offers.
Q: Which are your other films after Mithya?
A: After Mithya I am acting in Vipul Shah"s Singh is Kinng, Ashwin Nair's Maharathi, Rajat Kapoor's 'I am 24' and Raat Gayee Baat Gayee made by Pritish Nandy Communications. I have a very interesting role in Singh is King where my co-stars are Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif and Ranvir. In Maharathi I am working with Paresh Rawal, Boman Irani, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri. In 'I am 24' I have Rajat Kapoor and Ranvir opposite me, while Rajat Kapoor is again my co-star in Raat Gayee, Baat Gayee.
Q: What has been your experience so far while working with so many great actors in Maharathi?
A: In fact, I have been familiar with all these actors and since I had no problem whatsoever working with them. I have known Boman Irani since the days I won the Miss India crown. In those days Boman was my photographer. While I have worked with Om Puri in Delhi Heights, Paresh Rawal was my co-star in Chup Chupke. And as you know, Naseeruddin has been my co-star in the recently released film Mithya. I have a strong character in this film. My role is that of a tomboy who is not afraid of anyone.
Q: What kind of roles would you prefer to perform in the future?
A: First of all let me make one thing clear to all and that is I am not familiar with the past of Indian cinema. I don't even know the names of many olden days' heroines, so how can I say that I would like to do roles done by them. I can only talk about the films I have seen and the performance that I have watched. I would prefer some 'hot' roles done by Julia Roberts and Marilyn Monroe. In addition, I would also like to do a role done by Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met.
Q: We have noticed that you have shed a lot of weight. Is this makeover for your personal satisfaction or for any character in any film?
A: Losing weight is every woman's dream. Many a times our look on the screen is real, but there are times when the camera does the trick. My mother has inspired me to loose weight. At the age of 53, she has shed 13 kilos in four months. When I saw this I asked myself, if she can do this, why not me. I promise you that when you come to interview me next time you will find me even more slim and trim.
Q: Tell us something about your dream home that you purchased recently in Goa.....
A: That is not my dream home. Actually, my dream home is very costly, so I purchased a cheaper home. And as far as Goa is concerned, I love the place very much. If I had my way, I would have worked five days of the week in Mumbai and flown off to Goa for rest on Saturdays and Sundays. Anyways, now that Mithya is released, I will go to Goa for a break.
Q: Although your sense of humour is great, what is the reason that you have not been offered any comedy film?
A: Even I don't have an answer to this. Everyone, including you and I, know that I deserve a comedy role, but it hasn't happened so far. May be, people will realize my potentials after watching Mithya. I am yet not sure that when so many directors feel that my acting is good, why they don"t offer me good films and good roles. Anyways, my struggle is on and I am sure that some day I will surely emerge a winner.
Q: What is the reason that big banners are not making any offers to you?
A: I feel that people are still obsessed with my Julie image and cannot come out of it. Anyways, I am certain that like everyone, I too will have my share of the sun. My time will also come someday. I am also sure that Mithya will prove to be a landmark film in my career.