After working with Akshay Kumar where she had to share screen space with two other leading ladies [Garam Masala], Madhur Bhandarkar who gave her a good opportunity in Traffic Signal where she was a part of an ensemble cast and with Suneil Shetty she got her comic timing unveiled as a Jat cop in One Two Three, Neetu Chandra is all set to romance 'Super Chor' Abhay Deol in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! Naturally a big project for her, especially since she plays one of the principal protagonists, Neetu Chandra has quite some hopes pined on OLLO.
After close to two years in the industry, you finally get to do a film which is entirely yours. Excited?
Well, you are forgetting Traffic Signal where I was the solo female lead. As for Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, it is not one of those frivolous films that may arrive Friday after Friday, It is a very important movie and same holds good for my character. Dibakar (Banerjee) has shown his faith in me and that's reassuring enough. He has himself agreed that mine was quite a difficult role to play and he is happy with the way I performed eventually. It was a lot of hard work but jaisa kehte hai naa ki anth bhala to sab bhala. If my director believes that I have done well, that's good enough for me since it means that all your hard work has paid.
One hears that the film is quite close to reality?
Indeed the story of OLLO is very-very close to reality. And before you jump on to asking me that whose real life story is the film based on, let me clarify that it has been inspired by a lot of characters that Dibakar knows of or has read about. Yes, the film takes it's germ from the actual story of a thief who is there in this world; everybody knows that he is from Delhi .
Tell me honestly, besides filling in the requirement of a leading lady in a Bollywood film, how do you really contribute to OLLO?
My contribution is that I play the role of a girl who again belongs to real life. She exists and is not a fictional character. No, I haven't met or spoken to her; in fact nobody has since she could not be traced. In fact she is not to be found even as per police records. Coming to the part I play, I was living this girl's life for so many months. There are multiple shades to her and I had to get into her mindset. Imagine being a girl who knows that her boyfriend is a thief even though she herself comes from a lower middle class background. She knows what she is getting into, how people would perceive her but she is still living that life. Wo dari hui, sehemi hui hai lekin phir bhi ek brave front rakhti hai.
Did you go completely as per the character sketch that Dibakar gave you about this girl?
More or less yes, though there were a couple of things which I generally said about the character and Dibakar thought that they made sense. He in fact included these thoughts into the script as well because he told me that 'Neetu, you are right. This is exactly how Sonal is'. To be able to let your point come across a National award winning director and having it accepted to is a good enough high for me.
Since the film is supposed to be true to life, there aren't any song and dance routines. Didn't you miss them?
Well, I am a part of the promotional music video of the title song but yes, there are hero-heroine gaanas. But let's look at it this way; today's audience has changed and you have to include those ingredients in the film which would go with its genre, setting and narrative. In this context, OLLO's narrative requires the songs to be played in the background and I am sure they have fitted in quite beautifully there. I may not have lip synched to the songs but for the film as a whole, the lyrics by themselves make a lot of meaning.
Paresh Rawal seems to be your favorite co-star. Except for Traffic Signal, you have shared screen space with him in three films now - Garam Masala, One Two Three and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!
He is my lucky mascot and quite a cool dude. Let me not berate him by saying that 'he is cool even at this age' since age has nothing to do with attitude. He is cool because he is a great actor and pretty chilled out, just like Abhay.
Talking of Abhay, there have been murmurs about that extra something between you and him. Want to confess?
What's there to confess? Media would still believe what it wants to believe. I don't even want to comment on anything so trivial as this because it is nobody's business. He is a fantastic actor and a great buddy; that's all I want to comment for now. As for chemistry, look out for that on the screen rather than off screen.
On a parting note, how confident you are about the prospects of OLLO?
Very confident and quite comfortable too. We all are very happy with the way the film has shaped up and looking forward to its release. A few screenings have already been held and just like Dibakar's Khosla Ka Ghosla, people have loved OLLO too. I wish the response is same once the film opens to entire audience out there. I am looking at getting some more good films after this and try to get better over my best. Touchwood!