As Neha gears up for her next film Raat Gayi Baat Gayi, where she is the central protagonist, she also reflects on De Dana Dan, one of the few successes that Bollywood has seen this year. While the world believed that the film would primarily revolve around Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Paresh Rawal due to the return of Hera Pheri team, surprisingly it was new addition Neha Dhupia who also managed to make heads turn. Quite ironical since rather than being paired opposite Akshay Kumar or Suniel Shetty, she was hobnobbing with the likes of Paresh Rawal, Shakti Kapoor, Vikram Gokhale and Manoj Joshi.
A relatively smaller part in De Dana Dan did the trick for you. How did this happen Neha?
Well, I really don’t know. This industry just continues to perplex me. After being in the industry for last 6 odd years, I had to make a choice. Do I want to be a girl who dances on screen and gives people some time to go and fetch their popcorn? Or should I be someone who entices audiences so much that they bring their popcorn well in advance to watch me act? I am happy that kind of clarity has started setting in.
I would be lying if I believe that in an Akshay and Katrina starrer I would have an easy way of making my presence felt
De Dana Dan was an Akshay starrer, had Katrina Kaif as the leading lady, was hyped due to return of Hera Pheri team and also featured couple of dozen other character actors. Weren’t you worried that you may just miss the bus with so many passengers in the fray, especially with Katrina leading the charge?
Oh of course I was apprehensive. I, or for that matter anyone else, would be lying if he or she believes that in an Akshay and Katrina starrer you have an easy way of making your presence felt. De Dana Dan promos didn’t quite feature me extensively and I remember that same was the case in Singh Is Kinng too. You have to take something like this with a pinch of salt. You have to make yourself understand that ‘Ok, so here we have someone who is crowd puller so let it be. If he or she can bring audiences in and then you can impress them all with your act, you would end up benefiting from it eventually.’
It seems you are becoming a new favourite with Priyadarshan after Garam Masala, Chupe Chup Ke and now De Dana Dan.
The kind of confidence that Priyadarshan has continued to show in me over the years is a huge pat on the back. I had this hot and sexy image and while every other filmmaker wanted to put me in a bikini, he placed me in a salwar-kameez for Chup Chup Ke (which starred Kareena Kapoor in the lead). He is someone who made me believe that I could act. He was 100% confident I would be able to pull off my role in De Dana Dan quite well. I in fact remember asking him why wasn’t he considering me as one of the leads in the film but he told me to trust him and wait and watch.
I remember asking Priyadarshan why wasn’t he considering me as one of the leads
Well, one is waiting to watch you in Raat Gayi Baat Gayi now. Looks like you are back to playing a sexy seductress again since in the film you walk into a party full of married couples and create quite a few complications?
(Laughs) What makes you think that I am a seductress in the film? May be I am a victim myself in that party. Yes, in the film’s context, I do flirt and have a drink with others around. But then may be I am a ‘poor-little-vulnerable-I-don’t-know-what-to-do’ Neha than being a sexy seductress Neha. You never know!