Neha Dhupia is one of the rare actors today who are happy juggling genres and kind of cinema being generated out of Bollywood. She is continuing to make her presence felt in hardcore commercial mainstream by working in a Singh Is Kinng and a De Dana Dan. Meanwhile, she is also content with being a prominent face in new age offbeat cinema like Mithya, Dasvidaniya and also (to be released) Raat Gayi Baat Gayi, I Am 24 and Pappu Can’t Dance Saala. Joginder Tuteja catches up with Neha (who is looking at an eventful phase ahead with De Dana Dan and Raat Gayi Baat Gayi lined up) and tries to ascertain her state of mind.
You are one of the rare actors around, who is seemingly quite comfortable shifting genres. Are you happy with the situation you are in?
[Pauses before replying] It’s a strange situation actually. Ideally I should be happy but then the fact is that people seem to be talking about my films post their release. For example, Mithya was a success and you are talking about it with me today. But at that time, there could have been a lot more awareness. Same holds good for Dasvidaniya. I knew it was a small role but I knew the impact that it created as a part of the narrative. I was appreciated as well but the buzz and hype was not the kind that everyone attached with the film deserved. That’s the kind of stuff that disheartens me to a certain level.
It’s unfortunate because the films I feel strongly about have been spoken and written about the least
Yes, you do sound disheartened for sure…
Yeah, it’s unfortunate because the films I feel strongly about have been spoken and written about the least. And no, it’s not about me shifting genres. Personally, I give it all to a film, whether it is made in the budget of 5 crores or 50. However, I won’t deny that creativity comes out more in smaller films. Reason being that there is this strong responsibility factor that comes in.
I didn’t have many shooting days with Katrina or for that matter Sameera, so I don’t know what they are doing
One believes though that even in multi star-cast affair like De Dana Dan which has been mounted on a good scale, you did get a sense of responsibility. Even though Katrina Kaif is the leading lady in the film, you must be having an important role to play, right?
Really, I didn’t have many shooting days with Katrina or for that matter Sameera, so I don’t know what they are doing, how much is their role and what’s my comparative standing in the film. What I know is that there are 26 odd characters in the film, all of whom are there for a reason. Yes, it is quite hard to prove yourself in a set up like this and for that you need to have a faith in the director.
This is why you trusted him blindly when he thought of you as a ‘naughty’ con girl?
[Laughs] Priyan sir said that he felt I possessed an ability to lie with a straight face. That’s really funny that he thinks like that because I believe I am one of the most honest people around. But somehow, he wanted to incorporate that element in my character which goes by the name of Anu. She is club singer who has a ‘bindaas’ attitude towards life and is a huge advantage taker.
In addition, you also got an item number ‘Hotty Naughty’ for yourself?
But puhleeze, I hope people don’t misconstrue that I am in the movie just for an item song. This song establishes my character but I am there throughout the film’s narrative. What really is this narrative? Please don’t ask because it is so difficult to explain. In a Priyan setup, it is difficult to do that. You just take instructions and do what you have been told to do. Not many actors have any clue though of what is happening to other actors. It’s just that when you see the final outcome, you get to know the why, where and how of affairs.
Not many are aware that this is not the first time you are working with Priyadarshan. Though Garam Masala was relatively shorter, it was a full fledged character (of Kareena‘s confidante) in Chup Chup Ke. Never felt like bragging about it?
What’s the point? It’s great that he ropes me in by himself whenever he feels there is a good part out there for me. When you get a good character to enact and do your job honestly, you are bound to be noticed. In De Dana Dan, I am doing something completely different from what I have done. I am not romantically linked to any of the characters in the film but make a lot of difference to the comic side.
Everyone seems to be saying in unison that this is Priyadarshan’s best work till date…
Add me to the list. De Dana Dan is a great film and it is indeed Priyan Sir’s best work. I am not saying for the heck of it; I really feel it. Akshay, Suniel, Paresh – everyone has done really great in it. The biggest entertainers are back – now how much back and far is for the audiences to judge and comment.