Khujli is about a topic we rarely talk about in India: Neena Gupta
Her performances across television and films brought her immense critical acclaim but the actress Neena Gupta says except for a few projects, she was not offered the kind of roles she wanted to do on the big screen.
Neena featured in films like Gandhi, Mandi and the 1994 release Woh Chikri which won her a National award for the best supporting actress. “Yes there are a lot of regrets. I understood, it is not just because of me but also that this medium (film) needs a lot of other things besides being talented. It’s your PR, your destiny to choose the right projects,” Neena said when asked if she regrets on not being seen on the big screen as much as she had hoped.
“Once I said no to a very good project because I didn’t believe in that story. But, if I had worked with that person, things would’ve been different. A whole lot of actors do this, people have refused films which have gone on to become hits,” she adds.
The 57-year-old actress says one cannot be shy in the film industry and expect good work to come at the doorstep. “It depends on how pushy you are and I am basically a very shy person. I cannot go to somebody and say I want work. You can’t be shy and say I am a great actress and people will call me. I was from Delhi, didn’t know this place and there was nobody to teach us,” she says.
The actress worked with the best of art house directors like G Aravindan and Shyam Benegal and also went on to star in popular TV series like Saans and Siski, both of which she also directed. “I don’t do what I don’t like. I want to do so many things which I am not offered also. Like the kind of work Shabana and others are doing. One movie I was called but they didn’t take me and I felt bad. But I had to do few things earlier because I needed money.
“Now I am settled, I am married so I can make that choice. I don’t say ‘I only want to do this’ I say ‘I can’t do this.’“ The actress has now ventured into the digital space second time with the recently released short film, Khujli.
Watch: Terribly Tiny Talkies’ Khujli
Directed by Sonam Nair and produced by Terribly Tiny Talkies, the 15-minute film narrates the story of a middle aged couple who try to rekindle their sex life. “Web series is kind of liberating. There are so many people who come to Mumbai to work and now there is a platform ready. The results are immediate, you don’t have to wait for two years for the movie to release.
“Like we shot nearly 10 days back for Khujli and now the film is online too. I didn’t want to do full time 30-day work so web series is good that way. I really enjoy this space.”
In the short film, she stars opposite Jackie Shroff and Neena says both of them were in sync with what the script required out of them. “There were some date issues which were happening so I thought Jackie won’t be able to do it. But it finally happened and I am glad because both us were hooked on to the script. It is a topic we rarely talk about here,” she says.
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