NOOR’S CALM­ING EF­FECT ON NEENA

The char­ac­ter of a widow in her lat­est film ‘The Last Color’ has had a pro­found im­pact on the Na­tional Award win­ning ac­tress

Mail Today - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Man­jari Sax­ena

THE YEAR 2018 ended on a high for ac­tress Neena Gupta, who came back to the big screen with a bang in the su­per­hit Bad­haai Ho. The film made with a bud­get of `29 crores made over `220 crores, not be­cause of its star-power but a good script and ex­cel­lent act­ing by the en­tire cast. Gupta’s mostly silent por­trayal of a preg­nant woman in her 50s, was just as en­dear­ing to the pub­lic as was the em­bar­rassed older son in his 20s played by Ayush­mann Khur­rana.

This year too, has be­gun kindly for the Na­tional Award win­ning ac­tress as her film The Last Color was pre­miered at the Palm Springs In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in Los An­ge­les ear­lier this month. Di­rected by first-time di­rec­tor, Vikas Khanna, the six­time Miche­lin-starred chef, it was a gam­ble the ac­tress took be­cause of her char­ac­ter, Noor, the ac­tress said.

“When Vikas nar­rated the script he ex­plained cer­tain scenes which made me feel that ‘Noor’ is a rare char­ac­ter that comes by to an ac­tor and I im­me­di­ately said ‘yes’,” Gupta told Mail To­day. Noor is a widow in Be­naras, who leads a life de­void of any plea­sure, when a young rope­walker, Ch­hoti (Aqsa Sid­diqui) be­comes her friend. That is how Ch­hoti pro­vides her a win­dow to es­cape the mun­dan­ity of her colour­less life.

LIKE Priyam­vada in Bad­haai Ho, Noor too is a ma­ture char­ac­ter, which Gupta feels are rarely cre­ated for ac­tors of her age. In an ear­lier in­ter­view with Mail To­day, she had said that older male ac­tors al­ways had ac­cess to such char­ac­ters but time is chang­ing, with film­mak­ers like Amit Sharma (di­rec­tor, Bad­haai Ho) and Khanna, pro­vid­ing such op­por­tu­ni­ties to fe­male ac­tors too.

“I feel it’s great that it’s at this junc­ture of my ca­reer I had this role – of my age – to play, which was im­por­tant to the film. So it’s amaz­ing.” De­spite her vast ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try, Gupta said that she pre­ferred to fol­low her di­rec­tor rather than play the “se­nior” card. “I gave sug­ges­tions, but not much be­cause Vikas was very clear on what and how he wanted,” she said.

“Noor’s char­ac­ter had a calm­ing ef­fect on me. I’m al­ways hy­per. But as soon as I got into the white sari, some­thing just hap­pened. I would calm down and just be­come Noor. Even when she is sad or tor­mented, there is a calm­ness about Noor. When­ever I see the film I say, ‘I want to be like this’. The Last Color is a film which is all heart. It was like I started a new chap­ter on the banks of the Ganga,” she added.

‘The Last Color’ di­rected by first-time di­rec­tor Vikas Khanna, the six-time Miche­lin­starred chef, pre­miered at the Palm Springs In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val in Los An­ge­les ear­lier this month.

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