Neha Dhupia is just back after a month in the US. She touched down on Mumbai August 27, at 4 am, and reached home an hour later to be surprised by friends who were waiting to wish her a happy birthday.
Among them was beau, squash champ Ritwick Bhattacharya. Did he present her with an engagement ring since there’s been talk of a soon-to-be shaadi? “Bye, bye,” she says, and sails off. Only a query about Bollywood Hero, her US TV mini series that premiered recently, stops her.
“We had a big do at New York’s Times Square on the eve of the premiere,” she gives out loudly. “I had visited the iconic site earlier as a tourist. This time thanks to the all the hoardings around and the NRIs, I was a recognisable face and there were the typical autograph-photograph sessions. And with the rest of the cast and a 100 dancers, I swung to the tunes of Om Shanti Om’s Dhoom tana. It was awesome!”
Very much around
The next day Dhupia walked the red carpet in New York, and watched the premiere seated next to Ed Norton (Italian Job, Frieda) who later told her, “Great job!”
She plays a Bollywood star, Alina Lakhani, in IFC’s three-part comedy series and has been getting plenty of coverage. But co-star Pooja Kumar insists that she’s the lead and Dhupia has only a bit-role. “The lead is Chris Kattan, everyone else is doing his or her part to further his Bollywood journey. I’m there in every episode, what more can I say?” she retorts.
The actress spent some time in LA too. Is she contemplating an alternate career there? “It’s not possible to work from two countries. And right now, I’m just happy to be home,” she asserts. “I have five films releasing and I’m here to promote them. Our country and industry is thriving, India is a good place to be in.”
And is Hollywood facing the recession axe? “The economy has been hit and there have been some setbacks. But movies are still hitting the bull’s eye, actors are busy, projects are happening,” she points out.
For Dhupia next up is Raat Gayi Baat Gayi, an adult comedy in which she plays a femme fatale. “After this, wives are going to keep their husbands far away from me,” she laughs.
Then follows a third film with Priyadarshan, De Dana Dana that brings back the Hera Pheri trio of Akshay Kumar, Suneil Shetty and Paresh Rawal. Also slated is a thriller, Raftaar, on how far the media can go for TRPs.
Number four is Pappa Can’t Dance Saala with Vinay Pathak and a “great female part” and finally, the big one, Vipul Shah’s Action Replay with Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Bachchan. “I’m hoping Saurabh Shukla’s I Am 24 will release too. That’ll make it a super six,” beams Dhupia. “So, there’s plenty happening here too.”