Don’t call me brave: Neena Gupta

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“I am not very brave. I guess a certain strength comes with honesty. Of course, opposed to the popular saying, honesty may not always be the best policy,” says actor Neena Gupta.

At the Jaipur Literature Festival for her autobiography ‘Such Kah un To’, the actor, who has been doing a lot of work on different OTT platforms lately, feels that the digital revolution has ensured roles for women across age groups.

“I am 62 now, and there is enough work for me. In the past, it was not really easy for women above 40 to get many roles. But OTT has changed the scenario completely. Considering the fact that young directors are bringing forth scripts that do not really follow a set template of characters, there is a demand for actors across age groups. Frankly, I am glad that the digital medium has emerged in my lifetime — I am making the most of it.”

A National School of Drama (NSD) alumnus, Gupta, who has portrayed an array of characters across mediums like theatre, television and cinema, says that growing up in middle-class Delhi gave her a chance to observe varied characters from up-close, something that has always helped her sketch the characters on screen effectively.

“The rigorous theatre training ensures that you keep your eyes open to the minutest nuances which can be incorporated. The diverse sights, sounds and personality of a culturally rich city like Delhi that surrounded me from childhood shaped me immensely, and I draw from them constantly.”

Talking about her autobiography, she says for her, the most emotional part was writing about her father, mother and brother.

“There stories were very sad, and everything came back when I wrote those chapters,” she says.

Adding that she would not really call the move to have her daughter Masaba without marriage “brave”, she adds, “I was a young girl who fell in love, got pregnant and had a child whom she wanted to keep. And it was not easy. Many well-wishers discouraged me, saying that things would get difficult. But when young, one seldom listens to anyone, right?”

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