Neena Gupta at 62: I’m launching myself again and not ashamed to ask for work
National Award-winning actor Neena Gupta says acting, as a profession is such that people tend you forget you if you don’t work for a while.bollywood Updated: Jul 30, 2017 17:17 IST
Veteran actor Neena Gupta doesn’t care two hoots about what people will think or say about what she says. Maybe that’s why, the actor didn’t shy away when she put up on social media that she is looking for work.
“I’m feeling very proud of myself [after my Instagram post]. I feel like I’m launching myself again…. at this age! So what? I am not dead. I am fit, I look good and I can still act, so why not! I’m not ashamed,” says national award-winning actor Neena Gupta in an exclusive chat with us.
The 62-year-old, on Friday, posted on Instagram (and Twitter), that “she is a good actor looking for good parts to play.” And her daughter, Masaba Gupta (with cricketer Vivian Richards) reposted it along with a message. “I thought she’ll scold me saying ‘you don’t know anything about social media and you are posting this rubbish’. But when I read her post, I realised she understands,” says Neena, adding that she was moved to tears on reading Masaba’s post.
Asked what triggered her to share this post, Neena says, “Everybody thinks that after my marriage, I have moved to Delhi and I don’t work anymore. So, I get so putt off and then I see so many roles being offered to other actors of my age.”
I live in mumbai and i am working and i am a good actress koee kam hai toe batao— Neena Gupta (@Neenagupta001) July 28, 2017
Sharing a recent incident that left her “frustrated and disappointed”, Neena adds, “There was a very nice and lengthy role in a big film and I knew that director very well but he just took someone else, who was not even a Punjabi, and this was a Punjabi woman’s role. I called him and asked ‘Punjabi ka role Maharashtrian ko de raha hai, meri umar ka? Tune mere ko kyun nahi liya?’.And he said ‘Sorry Neena, mujhe dhyaan hi nahi aaya. Mujhe laga tu toh ab Delhi mein rehti hai aur kaam nahi karti.’ After that I decided that I still have enough time to start again… mujhe koi sharam nahi hai to ask for work.”
The actor, who recently played the role of a mother in a film called The Music Teacher, feels lucky that people still remember for the TV show Saans, which was two decades ago. “This profession is such that if you don’t work for some time, people forget you. It’s like being out of sight and out of mind,” says Neena confessing that it was a conscious decision after marriage to not work actively, as her husband was in a stable job. “But I realized that he was working all the time and I was sitting at home waiting for him. So I thought this is not going to work and that’s why I said that no one should leave work for anything in the world.”
Just the other day I was telling someone .. how I am never afraid/ shy to ask for work. Its obviously genetic. My mother put up this post on her instagram today. I mean,my 62yr old national award winning mother. She told me I must always work .. no matter what .. it keeps you from getting old...she told me they don't write for women her age anymore ... I don't think anyone can replicate what she did for TV anymore.. she complains that she can't do PR .. but says 'I do good work,that's my PR'.. time and again we've spoken about how whatever she asks for ... in due time ,she gets... But that's the magic of a pure heart. The universe just can't refuse you... the only advice I have the guts to give her is.. don't work with anyone who won't respect you ,at this age , that's the bare minimum & it's a strange strange industry she's in... the advice she gives me in return is..'whatever you do,free ka PR mat khaana,your only someone's kid/wife/niece/sister for this long. Prove yourself. WORK. Walk the talk & fly ♥️😁♥️ @neena_gupta #neenaji
My problem is that I can do variety of roles. So when filmmakers are casting, they don’t think of me because I am not slotted.
Neena also feels that filmmakers mostly consider her a TV face and not a commercial mainstream film actor. “If you do one big commercial film and it’s a hit, everybody takes you for that particular kind of a role. My problem is that I can do variety of roles. I can look Punjabi, South Indian, gareeb and ameer too. So when filmmakers are casting, they don’t think of me because I am not slotted. I thought I will do all kinds of roles on TV and people will come to me but aisa nahi hota,” asserts the actor.
While most actors these days bank on PR promotions, Neena modestly admits that she just can’t do it “Somehow, I am genetically not fit for that. I’m a very shy person and find it difficult to ask for work even if I know somebody for ages. I expect ki woh bulayenge, but it’s not a correct attitude in this profession and it gets mistaken for arrogance too. So, I am making an effort. Although my PR is bad but this is the best PR I have done for myself and I didn’t even have to pay anyone to promote me,” she quips.
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First Published: Jul 30, 2017 16:36 IST