Neena Gupta on why she discouraged daughter Masaba from acting: ‘The way you look, you will never become Alia Bhatt’

Hindustan Times | By
Apr 18, 2019 05:47 PM IST

Badhaai Ho actor Neena Gupta spoke at length about being an unwed mother, bringing up daughter Masaba as a single parent and how she constantly feels guilty about it.

Neena Gupta was one of most important actors in the parallel cinema movement in the 1980s and a contemporary of Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil and Dipti Naval. She had a successful run on TV as well. However, post Badhaai Ho, the actor has not only got a new lease of life but is experiencing a ‘fandom’ not seen before. In an interview to Rajeev Masand, she spoke candidly on her status as an unwed mother, advice she gave daughter Masaba at the start of her career and getting work in Bollywood.

Neena Gupta says she advised daughter Masaba to go abroad if she wants to become an actor.
Neena Gupta says she advised daughter Masaba to go abroad if she wants to become an actor.

On the question of being bringing up Masaba without a conventional family, Neena honestly accepted that she felt guilty and that she thought it was a selfish act on her part. She said: “Very much. All the time. I feel it was a very selfish act on my part. Some of my friends told me it won’t be fair on part of the child, but kaun sunnta hai uss waqat, blind hotey hain (who listens at that age, people are blind). I also feel sad because she was lonely. I wish I had another child but circumstances weren’t like that).”

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On the question that she has, in the past, said that though she doesn’t regret her decision she advises youngsters to not follow her example as it still a tough decision to make. Neena said: “Yes, very hard. Nothing much has changed. You and I are the minority in this country. The majority is the same. What has changed? This (the decision to be an unwed mother) also people should not do what I done. It is very tough and it is not fair on the child.”


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Neena also spoke about the advice she gave Masaba at the start of latter’s career. She discouraged her from taking up acting. Neena said: “I told her ‘If you want to be an actor then you go abroad. Jis tarah tumhara shakal hai, body hai, tumhe yahan Indian milieu mein bahot kam role milenge (The way you look, the way you body is, you will get very few roles in the Indian milieu) even if you become a good actor. So tumko woh heroine nahin milegi. Toh Hema Malini nahin banoge, Alia Bhatt nahin banoge (You will never become a heroine, you will never become Hema Malini, you will never become an Alia Bhatt)’.”

Neena played a mother to two grown up sons, one of them being actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who gets pregnant in her middle age. Badhaai Ho, directed by Amit Sharma, made at a reported budget of Rs 29 crore has gone on to mint an estimated Rs 221.44 globally.

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