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
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.