Neena Gupta talks about her time she spent during this lockdown
To tell you frankly, this has been the best four and a half months in my life. Beautiful place, lovely house, my own house so comfortable, staff, driver, no restriction, sit out, walk out because it's a gated thing and everybody inside is already quarantined for four months. So we could meet them, we could eat with them, I could walk with them, so I found a new family and this is the first time, me and my husband stayed together for like four months. Otherwise, he lives in Delhi, I live in Bombay. So, this was the first time I enjoyed being with somebody in the same house kind of thing, although both were busy. So this has been the most amazing time of my life and I'm coming back here, I have to get used to it, it'll take me sometime, but it was the most beautiful time.
Neena Gupta opens up about teething problems with her husband this lockdown
Majorly, majorly (laughs). I've learned sign language because he is always busy on his conference calls. The adjustment took some time but it was very interesting that I let him be, he kind of tried to let me be, but he had no alternative. In any case, he didn't have time to interfere in my life, so it was fine, but whenever he got time, then he interfered which I decided I will not interfere. It was very interesting, it was very calming.
Neenaji's Insta game is on a roll! But what does she think?
Dekho kai baar na I don't post for a longer period of times. I post whenever something hits me, whenever I see something happening really. It is happening with me or around me, I want to post. Like the sign language, I posted because I was laughing at it because I was doing it every day. So everything I post, like I got the sweaters made from the local girls, so I put that. So it is all genuine and I don't post for the sake of posting. I post because I want to say something and what I'm saying is actually the truth which has happened to me and which is genuine and I think that's why maybe people like it. Because like I say such things which we all women go through, so suddenly if my husband says something to me like that and I say 'Shit aare yaar, yeh aise kyu bol raha he. Accha mein batati hu. Main sabko bata dungi'. It is like that.
No, the matter I do, I don't consult. Sometimes, initially even now I make a mistake of posting like I will post something wrong. I get a message from Masaba immediately, 'Mom, you've done it wrong', then I tell her to set it right. Then she sets it right.
So, once I had written a script, I don't why I never made it. I had written a short film ka script that mahina ka end aata he toh sabko salary baat te he, this woman she made a little khidki type of a thing, jese ticket lene jate he na aisa khidki. Sare bills ekhatte kiye hue he usne aur unn bills mein kuch bills bhi banaye he ki yeh bacche ka homework karaya, itte paise, uska yeh kiya. Sabji wala se sabji mein mene 100 rupee ka karaye, uska muche discount. Aase karke pura usne bola yeh mera mahine ka bill he, apne husband ko bill diya. That is what I wanted to make once.
Talks about breaking stereotypes and how things have changed
It's changed very recently, like past 2 years, only. For everyone, there are women, actresses, my age group are also getting some very interesting work. Otherwise it was very bad, after 40 also it was bad. There was nothing. And right now I feel that everybody, not just me is getting something, it's not like the younger people obviously. It is started a little bit and I have even this lockdown, 2-3 very good scripts I have read, very nice scripts. I have said yes to 2-3 things, I have said yes to but I'm not supposed to talk about it.
The PR scenario now and before
Ya, it is very irritating to me because you see this whole corporate business na, mereko samaj mein nahi aata. Ek kaam ke lia 10 aadmi rakhte he. Ab 10 aadmi ko jab they are paying salary, so 10 aadmiyo ko kuch na kuch toh kehna padega. Aur voh log jinko pata hi nahi he uss kam ke bara mein, jo kisi dusre chez se hokar aaye he, matlab unka talent kuch dusra he. Kahin log toh mujhe choti choti jo films hoti he, usme mujhe acting bhi sikhate he. Voh bolte he ki accha suno, isko na thoda sa esa kar dena, thoda iss line ko emote jada kar dena. Kyu bhai? Mujhe kyu le rahe ho?
On feeling out of place on a film set
Abhi abhi toh kya hua, I was doing Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan and my first day shoot and I had this dialogue and I was saying realistically and talking to like that. So our director Hitesh, he called me aside and he said, 'No, iska surr itna ocha hona chahiye. Oonche se shuru karna chahiye'. Toh mene kaha but why? Then he explained me the reason, I understood the reason because I am talking to somebody who is in a place on phone jaha bohot shorr he. Toh shorr wali jagah agar app bhi bolenge toh ooncha bolenge na, which I understood the logic. Jaisa unhone bola mene kara aur mein hotel wapas gayi and I said, 'shit yaar, yeh level pe meko kaam karayenge, yeh level pe'. I understood the whole film, so I read the script again, I understood that this film is going to be like this, it is not Badhaai Ho, you know what I mean. So I understood because I trusted the director and I understood his logic. Even if I had not understood, like there was a series called 'Srimaan Srimati', bohot pehle Archana Puran Singh was pregnant, so they took me for some time. Usme bhi director ne mujhe utna upar se shuru karwaya. It was that kind of comedy. Meko bohot taklif hoti thi but I understood ki bhaiya yeh comedy aise hi karni he. Aise nahi phasi ki bohot bura director, koi logic nahi he aur mujhe karna pade. Ha phasi hu ek do baar shuru shuru mein when I had to do roles which had no beginning, no middle, nothing, which had no logic, which had no sense. I have done many of those but then you needed money so it was okay.
Neena Gupta's advice to her younger self!
If you want to get better roles, more roles, you want to become a star, heroine, whatever is in your head, modesty is not a good policy. You cannot be shy. You have to go, call up people, they get irritated, which I never did and focus on work, not on men - two important things.
2020, ya, ek saal toh barbaad ho gaya humara, now I'm getting work so every day is important for me. So, I tell myself - very important to look after your health because you want to do more work. That's the most important thing. And, don't let even one moment of your day go waste, kuch karo, padho, kuch suno, baithna nahi, kuch na kuch karo. Apne kapde theek karo, matlab jo bhi karlo. Ek minute bhi waste nahi karna - Two things.
I think, they see you and they learn. There are certain things which are genetic like I know what she's got from me, what she's got from her father, what she's got from my father. So, I think it's all a combination. One day, I was, one day, she was shouting at me so I said 'Don't shout', she said I've learnt from you only. So, it's like, because she's seen me shouting at my dad also once or twice when he was living with me. They learn 40% from you and your behavior and 60% is genetics, DNA.
Masaba is very, very important thing she has, which I'm very happy she has, she can laugh at herself. Very important. And, I can do the same. I can be in great this thing and we will talk to the wall ki 'Bewakoof ladki, kya kar rahi hai tu', you know, it's like that. So, Masaba can, she's got this from me. She can laugh at herself. One bad thing she's got from me is taking immediate decisions, impulsive. But, the main, most interesting thing is that she realizes that she has that.
Neenaji's love story at 50!
We met in the plane. He was coming from London, I was coming from London to Bombay. He's based in Delhi but he was coming to Bombay for some work. And, just imagine, that is why I believe so much in destiny and fate. I was in business class - Air India, upstairs. He was somewhere behind, but, one lady wanted him to change his seat and that's how he came and sat besides me. My life would have been so different. He keeps telling me all the time you are the one, you are the one, ab main ladti nahi hoon uske bare mein. He says ki tune mujhe fasaya. Pehle main ladti thi, nahi maine kahan fasaya, tumne aisa kiya tumne aise kiya. Ab main ladti nahi, bola ha fasaya. Tum dukhi ho toh jao, tum sukhi ho toh raho.
Neena never gets the roles she auditions for!
Actually, most of my auditions, main fail ho jati hoon. Kabhi nahi milta mujhe. Badhai Ho mein audition nahi diya tha. Shubh Mangal mein audition nahi diya tha. Bahut si filmon ka, aur specially the foreign productions, I never get in, never ever get in. I don't know why. The Last Color - uska audition nahi diya tha. Ab kya bolu, ab jisko jo karna hai karega, because abhi mera audition dekho acting toh dekh liya aapne, shakal roz dekhte rehte ho Instagram mein, aur kya dekhna hai?
Neena's mother was against her acting and wanted her to be an IAS officer
Ya, ya. They were very much against. My mother used to look down upon Hindi cinema. She used to only watch English movies in the festivals and all. They were very shocked because my mother wanted me to do IAS so ya, she was very much against. But then, I said no, I have to go.
So, we have a big joke about it, these days, me and Masaba. Obviously, because Masaba is surrounded by all my friends who are connected to Film industry and all so, because you see the glamour na so she also wanted to go into acting. So, I said dekh, tereko main yeh nahi keh rahi ki tu acting shayad achi kar paye, nahi kar paye but because you're face is not a very traditional Indian face, you will not get all the heroines parts, all the main parts. Yeh tere ko hoga, ya toh phir tere ko karna hai toh you go abroad and you know struggle there and find some work there. Finally, she understood, I was very scared that she will say no. But, she understood and she went into a different direction. So now, this new series in which she's acting it's about her. And, when I saw the edit, I am her best critic and her worst critic. I mean, I toh criticize her all the time which is very bad thing and she was like this when I went to see ha what will mom say and I was so impressed by her acting. So, abhi hum jo karte hai, Masaba and me ke how much I told her no, no, no and then whatever has to happen has happened.
I was a little hesitant, I said I don't know, we both will be conscious doing a scene together but she was so good. She was so professional. Our scenes went off so well. It is not the real real thing, it's a little scripted thing but it is so real like, there's a scene you'll see in the trailer that when you see the scene, it's so real between the daughter and her mother. So, it is not that this had happened in our lives, it's not necessary but it is very real.
Very little. I did, but, very little. Maybe twice. Initially, when we were doing the readings, I told her to slow down her pace in the reading and one or twice more, I gave her a little thing while she was acting. Ya, she took it. She changed immediately. I thought darte d arte yeh bolegi ki Mom, I know.
How Badhaai Ho was a game-changer for Neenaji?
Badhaai Ho changed everything. It changed my life because people couldn't imagine me because meri image banayi thi media ne kuch aur, toh jaisi image hoti hai wiase hi aapko acting assignment milte haina, yeh actor ko koi nahi samajhta. So, Badhaai Ho just changed my life, changed my image, changed everything. Now I make calls with great confidence. I do, I still. Day before yesterday, I sent a message to a director that I heard you are making a film, is there any role for me? Now, I do. I have confidence now to do. Earlier, I could never do. But, Badhaai Ho has like, I tell Amit Sharma, who's the director, I said, aap jo bologe na, main aapke joote saaf karungi, kuch bhi karungi aapke liye because he's, he has changed my life. Woh bechara Neena Ma'am, Neena Ma'am karta hai aur main usko bolti hoon ki main kuch bhi karungi. I have so much gratitude and so much love for him. Because, also, I also love the film. It's not that film hit ho gayi, no. I think, it's one of the best films I have ever done and seen.
Aree nahi yaar. Ab Masaba ke bache paida hone ka time aa raha hai main kahan se bacha paida karu.
No, no, not at all. You know it was very gareebi mein bani hui film. There was no money. I used to take a auto rickshaw to go to the shoot, take my own food because I did not have a conveyance and NFDC ki film thi. There was very little budget. We had so much fun in the film. I was so new, I was getting to work with such good actors, first film and all. When I see, we never expected this to become like this.
Is there a remake to Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro?
They were planning to make Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro 2. I read the script also. It was a big, huge script and they were saying we will come back to you for the dates par who fizzle out ho gaya aur hua hi nahi. Kaafi saal pehle ki baat hai.
Recasting & Casting Game in 2020
Gajraj Rao in Badhaai Ho - Hrithik Roshan
Amar Akbar Anthony as three women - Three women! - Alia, Kareena, maybe Vidya Balan
Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff in Ram Lakhan - Jackie Shroff can still do it. For Anil Kapoor in Ram Lakhan, acha, I can't say Hrithik again na? Uh, Ayushmann
Sonam Kapoor in Veere Di Wedding - Anushka