‘Didn’t get the kind of work I wanted’

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Front Page - PHOTO: YOGEN SHAH

Her per­for­mances across tele­vi­sion and films have brought her crit­i­cal ac­claim, but ac­tor Neena Gupta says that ex­cept for a few projects, she was not of­fered the kind of roles she wanted to do on the big screen.

Neena has been in films like Gandhi, Mandi, and the 1994 re­lease Woh Chikri, which won her a Na­tional Award for Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress. Even so, “there are a lot of re­grets”, she says.

“I un­der­stood [that] it’s not just be­cause of me, but also that this medium (cinema) needs a lot of other things be­sides tal­ent,” adds Neena. “It’s your PR, your destiny to choose the right projects.”

On one oc­ca­sion, she her­self pushed away a plum project. “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,” she says rue­fully.

An­other rea­son why she may have lost out on the roles she de­served is her shy­ness, Neena feels. “[Bag­ging a role] de­pends on how pushy you are, and I’m ba­si­cally a very shy per­son. I can­not go to some­body and say I want work,” she says.

The ac­tor did work with the best of art­house di­rec­tors, such as G Aravin­dan and Shyam Bene­gal. Now she has ven­tured into the dig­i­tal space for the sec­ond time, with the re­cently re­leased short film Khu­jli. Di­rected by Sonam Nair, the 15-minute film nar­rates the story of a mid­dle-aged cou­ple who try to rekin­dle their sex life. Neena stars op­po­site Jackie Shroff.

“Web se­ries is kind of lib­er­at­ing,” she says. “The re­sults are im­me­di­ate, you don’t have to wait. I re­ally en­joy this space.”

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