People who are used to watching Bollywood movies and Hindi television must know this name. Neena Gupta is an actress and television director known to break all stereotypical boundaries like a boss. This amazing personality was born on 4th May 1959, in Delhi. She has made appearances in many movies such as Gandhi (1982), The deceivers (1988), Mirza Galib (1989), Cotton Mary (1999), etc. She also put her step in Indian parallel cinema by featuring in movies like Mandi (1983), Rihaee ( 1988), Dristi (1990), etc. this legendary actress never had a big commercial hit but she was featured in the historical song “Choli Ke Peeche” from the movie ‘Khalnayak’ along with Madhuri Dixit.
She also won the National award for best-supporting actress in 1994 for the acclaimed drama ‘Who Chokri’. Not only in the ’90s, in recent years too, but she also proved herself with epic acting skills in well-known movies like ‘Badhai Ho’, ‘Panga’, ‘Subh Mangal Zyada Sabhdhan’. Web series is not out of her league, she has put her step in OTT by featuring in an Amazon Prime web series named ‘Panchayat’ which gave her Filmfare OTT awards in 2020 for best-supporting actor female in comedy series.
She was also featured on television with Yatra (1985), Bharat Ek Khoj (1988), Shriman Shrimati (1995), Saans (1999), Chitthi (2003), Saloni ka Safar (2005), and many more. Along with acting, she directed TV series such as Saans (1999), Siski (2000), and Kyun Hota Hai Pyaar. Her appearance in the famous soap opera Jasi Jaisi Koi Nahi gave her considerable popularity.
Neena Gupta’s epic comeback:
Bollywood has certain age-related stereotypes, especially for actresses. But veteran actor Neena Gupta broke all stereotypes in Bollywood with her epic comeback by a strong Instagram post. In her Instagram post of 2017, Gupta wrote, “I live in Mumbai and am working as a good actor looking for good parts to play”. Her post got huge appreciation from eminent personalities. Her daughter Masaba Gupta reposted her post and penned a lengthy caption on Instagram. This post has brought her epic movies like ‘Badhai Ho’, ‘Panga’ and ‘Subh Mangal Zyada Sabhdhan’. This not-so-old actress won several hearts and even was awarded for her new films. She bagged the award of the best-supporting actor (female) at BFJA (Bollywood Film Journalist’s Award) for her movie ‘Badhai Ho’. Even ‘Film fare Critics Award’ has come to her for the epic role in the movie. Her post also inspired her colleagues and fans. For not shying away from talking openly about lack of work.
About the book “Sach Kahun Tho”
‘Sach Kahun Toh’ is a much-awaited memoir by Neena Gupta which she wrote during the nationwide lockdown in 2020. The book was released on 14th June 2021. This book shares Neena Gupta’s life history in the most unapologetic way. This memoir by Neena Gupta is a living witness of her well-lived life with grace and dignity. This book is divided into five parts where her life story has unfolded chronologically. Part one is named ‘Delhi Girl’ which is about her childhood days in Delhi and years in NSD (National School of Drama). The second part is named ‘Bombay Girl’ which consists of her early years and struggles in the “city of dreams”. The third part is named as ‘The princess Arrives’. This part is all about how her life changed after deciding to be a single parent. Part four with the name of ‘Mad times’ consists of the high peak of her career started with television followed by movies and OTT series. The last part is quite interesting with the name of ‘Four Guptas and a Mehra’. This chapter is dedicated to all the well-wishers and close persona of her family. While releasing this book she delivered a very heartwarming and positive message on social media by saying, “I thought in these very difficult and gloomy times when we are stuck at home, we are sad and anxious, maybe my book will help you tide some of the tough days,”. Along with her life story, this book also talked about the harsh struggle of a girl in Bollywood and the bad offers or unhealthy politics of the casting couch. But all negativity has turned into a positive inspirational story through her amazing writing skill.
The ‘big reveals’ from The Book:
- According to her writing, while pursuing MA in Sanskrit, she got married to a young man from IIT. The marriage stayed for a year. They got divorced within the first year of marriage.
- The famous song ‘Choli Ke Peeche’ has a dark history too. Filmmaker Subhash Ghai has asked her to wear a heavily padded bra for this song. To embrace this incident she wrote, “They put me in a tribal Gujarati outfit and sent me to Subhash Ghai for approval. ‘No! No! No! No!’ he shouted. ‘Kuch bharo.’ I was so embarrassed. In my opinion, he was referring to my choli and stating that it needed to be filled. It wasn’t anything personal, I knew. He had visualized something . . . bigger for the rendition.”
- During the birth of Masaba Gupta, Neena had only 2000 rupees in her account. Luckily a timely tax reimbursement came to save her life.
- Once Neena’s marriage was called off at the last minute from the side of the groom. The wedding shopping was done along with the bridal lehenga, but the marriage got canceled. While explaining this incident she wrote, “Like I talk about that guy, I was going to get married and at the last minute, I had gone to get my clothes made in Delhi and he called me and he said I don’t want to marry you. Till today I don’t know why… So what can I do and I moved on. I would have loved to get married to him”.
- She also wrote about her family life which includes her mother’s suicide attempt after her father’s second marriage. She wrote on this incident, “This betrayal from my father shattered my mother to the extent that she actually tried (and thankfully failed) to end her life”.
Neena Gupta and Bollywood Stereotypes:
Neena Gupta is not just an actor but an example for every woman. Gupta has been courageous enough to take risks in a patriarchal society. She raised her daughter designer Masaba Gupta as a single mother. Gupta was scorned and criticized badly by several sections of society for her decision to be a single mother. While talking about her decision of being a single mother, Gupta said, “I would not have a child outside marriage. Every child needs both parents. I was always honest with Masaba, so it did not affect our relationship, but I know she suffered. Not having but accepting and standing by Masaba out of wedlock was the most difficult part. “A lot of people told me at that time – we will marry you so that your child gets a name”. Naturally, we lead a normal life but single moms always have a desire for a normal and simple lifestyle. But amidst all the difficulties and challenges, Gupta proves herself as a single mother.
Apart from that, Gupta doesn’t let age get in the way when it comes to her sartorial choices. This 62-year-old actress shares her pictures with sexy outfits or difficult yoga poses on social media, which gained lots of compliments from her fans and colleagues. She also stunned everyone with her major hair transformation when she chopped off her hair to a bob cut with subtle blonde highlights. While sharing her new look she captioned her pictures with a witty line, “Google walo ab toh meri umar kam karke likh do!”. She also inspired thousands of people on social media through her advice for life and a healthy lifestyle. Apart from being applauded by her fans, she is continuously trolled and judged by some sections of society. But she always slams her critics with bold answers like “Who said older women cannot wear sexy clothes and cannot look sexy?” or “I fail to understand when anybody writes that I have been trolled for this. It’s plain rubbish. What’s the definition of ‘trolling’? Doesn’t it mean that several people are criticizing you? Look at the number of praises I’ve received. Should I really even bother about just two or four people?”