Neetu Chandra hails from Patna, but has lived in Delhi. Spending her adolescent years as a student of Delhi University’s Indraprastha College for Women (popularly known as IP college), the Bollywood actor learnt to be tough to sustain herself.
The 32-year-old visited the Capital of India recently, and caught up with her friends. “The air has changed, but it still feels great to be in Delhi. The food is too good,” says Neetu, who has done films such as Garam Masala (2005) and Traffic Signal (2007).
Talking about how her college days in the Capital shaped her personality, she says: “Delhi has been strongly-rooted in my system. I’m thankful to the city for giving me courage in abundance, and the strength to fight the odds in my life,” says Neetu. “[My] Life as a college-going student here was tough. Commuting was difficult, for there was no metro [train] then. Travelling in buses wasn’t pleasant... [But] The effort to sustain oneself in a metro [city] like this helps... Surviving society becomes easier.”
However, it’s not just the struggle that she remembers. Neetu shares how she’d hang out in Kamla Nagar market — popular as K Nags in DU lingo. “I used to spend most of my time in Kamla Nagar market. That was the only place where we would hang out. I loved it.”
As we got chatting about being tough, the topic of martial arts came up. Not many know that Neetu holds four Dan black belts in Taekwondo. She represented India in the 1997 World Taekwondo Championships in Hong Kong. “I’ve been practising it for fifteen years. As a school kid, I used to practice with the boys to make myself tough and strong, but I have never used it on the road.”
Neetu has been petitioning to make martial arts mandatory in schools and colleges. “It’s a skill that every girl should know. It’s the need of the hour (considering the rate of hate crimes against women in the society). The government should make it compulsory. Students should be taught at least one form of martial arts.I had also filed a petition to the PMO office, four years back,” she concludes.
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