2009 would go down as a year that marked the turning point in the career of Neha Dhupia. Literally so because her Raat Gayi Baat Gayi is the last release of 2009 as it arrives on Thursday, 31st December. One night stand, adultery, a few drunken men and a sexy seductress in the midst of it all – Neha Dhupia, that’s the kind of package that this fun film has to offer which has won some international recognition coming it’s way en route to it’s theatrical release. In a candid conversation with Joginder Tuteja, Neha reveals how working in a film like this is always akin to walking a thin rope, the comfort level that she has built with the makers (Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Sauyrabh Shukla) and her views on cheating (whether mental, emotional or physical).
It must be a great feeling to be seen in movies as diverse as a Raat Gayi Baat Gayi and De Dana Dan. Seems like things are falling in place for you…
Well, I don’t know whether things are really falling in place for me but yes, my portfolio definitely looks better than before. I am doing good work for sure and I have realised that eventually it’s all about timing. When I work in a subject like RGBG, I don’t know how many women would have been able to handle it well for screen. The more I act, the more it becomes easier for me to handle characters and situations like these.
I don’t know whether things are really falling in place for me but yes, my portfolio definitely looks better
So what was the basic thought process you had when you stepped on the sets of the film?
There wasn’t any major thought process except to go and enjoy out there. The character of Sophia is so close to my heart and it’s the people out there who made it all so comfortable for me. Also, Saurabh was quite clear about how he wanted me to be presented in different scenes of the film. Like I remember on one day when I landed up on the shoot, I was just stepping into the vanity van to change. However, Saurabh said that he didn’t want me to put any make up on and instead face the camera directly.
Neha without any make up? Now that’s a first!
You know, there is this entire chunk of the film which I have shot without any make up. This is an after-party situation in the film. When I saw myself on the monitor, I really looked so natural and I am glad that I did it the way Saurabh had conceptualised. Now in any other film I would have been perhaps apprehensive but not with RGBG because a) I had faith in the unit and b) I believed in the power of the scene. The fact about the glam world is that when you are used to seeing yourself so glossed up all the time, you need to have certain faith and belief before you shed your inhibitions.
There is this entire chunk of the film which I have shot without any make up
You just mentioned about your faith in the unit. In fact coming together of you, Vinay, Rajat, Saurabh etc. (after Mithya and Dasvidaniyan) pretty much mandates a quality outing with a language of it’s own. Are we seeing yet another package deal here when this team returns for Raat Gayi Baat Gayi?
You can say that and that’s exactly because of the people involved. This team is a backed by talent, skill and intelligence. Having said that it is also so much fun to work with them, mainly because it doesn’t seem like work at all.
This means offbeat films are pretty much the way to go for Neha Dhupia?
You can’t really classify RGBG or any other film of mine for that matter to be offbeat or otherwise. The fact is that when I choose a script, my prime criterion is entertainment. I just feel that if I was not a part of the film, would I still go and watch it. If I get ‘yes’ for an answer, I go ahead and do it. There have been times when I have actually said no to a few films where my inner self hasn’t given me an affirmative answer.
You can’t really classify RGBG or any other film of mine for that matter to be offbeat
You would be surprised to know that it was just 3 months back when Saurabh and Vinay were doing a film but I didn’t want to be a part of it. Hopefully this should dispel another myth that we have formed a camp of sorts where all of us would be seen in every second film (smiles).
From a massy Julie to a classy Raat Gayi Gayi Baat Gayi, it seems like quite a journey for you Neha, right? More so because in a subject like this, it is always possible that narrative may either become really classy or out rightly tacky. You must have been careful about this, right?
I totally agree with the part that a subject like this may just turn tacky if not handled well. Whenever you explore a subject that has adultery as it’s central theme with elements like a one night stand, cheating and a drunken night, you are but obviously walking a tight rope. Thankfully Saurabh’s writing came in handy here. He ensured that it was a classy outing. Still, there was always a danger involved because the kinds of words that are used in the dialogues are explicit enough; we haven’t held back.
Whenever you explore a subject that has adultery as it’s central theme you are but obviously walking a tight rope
And all of this is to enhance the fun quotient in as natural manner as possible, right?
Exactly. Humour is something that lightens the entire situation and this was the standing principle around making of Raat Gayi Baat Gayi. Also, what has been ensured is that none of the characters eventually come across as wrong. There are 6 different men and women in the story and then there is me. Also, if one looks at it closely, the whole world is split into these seven human beings where any man or woman can relate to at least one of them. Moreover, since the joke is entirely on ourselves, there is nothing wrong that comes across.
But then aren’t we dealing with adultery? So someone has to be wrong, isn’t it?
Wake up buddy, which world are you in? Whoever said that they haven’t cheated on their spouse? Now it isn’t always around physical cheating; it could be even mental. And whoever is saying that he/she hasn’t cheated at all in his life is lying. When you cheat mentally, it is still the beginning of something physical. Don’t you check out other females? Don’t you have wild ideas in your head when you get into a party? So what are you talking out? Aur agar koyi kehta hai ki usne aisa kabhi nahi socha toh mere saamne laa ke khada kar do. I would like to have a nice and little chat with him/her (winks)!