By: Reshma S Kulkarni
Monday, April 02, 2007
From being recognized only as a hot bimbette to now getting roles like those in Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local and Delhii Heights that seek to bring out the actress in her, Neha Dhupia has made a steady progress in filmdom, a fact that she is very happy about, as she confesses in this taste-ae-taste:
From dare-bare skin-flicks like Julie and Sheesha to sombre, real roles like those in Delhii Heights and Ek Chaalis Ki Last Local - how would you evaluate the journey?
It's been a satisfactory journey so far. Even though I started out with bold roles like those in Julie, I do not regret them at all. That is how most actresses begin their journey, in varying degrees. And irrespective of the flak that I had received at that time, I'm proud of every project that I have done till date. I am happy with the way filmmakers believed that I was going from strength to strength so as to offer me projects, each better and different from the other, be it a demure lover in Qayamat or a psychiatrist in Kya Kool Hain Hum to now, these films.
But are you now consciously making an effort to move towards deglamorous or real-kind of roles as it seems from the kind of films you are doing now?
Not really. Like I said, it's the film-makers who are discovering enough potential in me to offer me such kind of roles. It is not as if I have decided to become a prude who will not do bold roles henceforth. Nothing of that sort! I'm an actress looking at doing a variety of stuff; I won't reject something just because it requires me to expose. Only thing is that the exposure should be relevant to the story and not merely for public titillation. So, it's not a conscious move or anything! I'm just accepting stuff that sounds interesting and novel to me.
Tell us about your characters in Ek Chaalis... and Delhii Heights
In Delhii Heights, I'm playing a modern, career-oriented girl called Suhana who is trying to seek a balance between her personal life and professional ambitions. I identify with Suhana to a large extent in terms of her Delhi background, her views about life etc. and hence the film is quite close to my heart. As for Ek Chaalis... in that I'm playing Madhu, a call-centre executive who misses the last local train to her home and gets stuck with Nilesh, a young man who faces the similar predicament. Circumstances bring them into a strange situation, which is what the film is all about. This role was diametrically opposite Suhana's, in terms of the look, accent, et al! I had to work a lot to cultivate the Bambaiyya accent especially!
Which do you find more challenging to play - the larger-than-life roles or the real ones like you are presently doing?
The real ones are more difficult to play because you can't mess around with reality. It's a tough job to convince the audience when you are playing real characters.
But what made you take up a totally dismal project like Nehle Pe Dehla?
Actually, it is not my project at all, although the publicity has been done in that way. I am in the film only for one song and that too, I accepted due to some personal equations that I share with the makers.
You also have two more interesting projects in the pipeline. Tell us about them.
Oh yes. I am playing Sanjay Dutt's wife in Apoorva Lakhia's Shootout at Lokhandwala and am paired with none other than Naseeruddin Shah in Rajat Kapoor's Mithya. I was very nervous about doing these roles initially but both my co-stars were such great supports that I just can't explain. I remember, after the first shot for Shootout... where I had to berate Sanjay, I kept on apologizing to him for screaming at him and the sweetheart that he is, Sanju kept on telling me 'Don't be silly; it was a fantastic shot!
You have recently shifted into a new house. How does it feel to be a proud owner of your first house?
It's an indescribable feeling - somewhat akin to becoming a mother for the first time! I am absolutely in love with my house which is done up in a minimalistic manner, completely in white! We have so much of colour around us while shooting, that it feels like one has gone to heaven when one steps into the serene, white havens of my home. Now, I can't wait to rush home from the shoots everyday.
Is this new house, any indication of you planning to settle down with 'good friend' Ritwik Bhattacharya?
Oh no! Not again please! It's really not funny anymore. We have been childhood buddies for eleven years and hence are very fond of each other and love to be in each other's company. But our relationship is utterly platonic. Earlier, we used to laugh these gossips off but when, the other day after reading a newspaper report, my parents begun asking me to come clean about our relationship, that was when I decided that I've had enough! Once and for all, I'm not seeing Ritwik. I'm yet to find the right guy to get married to; and also, I have just about begun a positive phase in my career. Marriage is nowhere on my scheme of things for the next three-four years at least.