From being a beauty pageant queen to establishing herself as an actress in Bollywood, Neha Dhupia has much to look back on a career she started when she was 19. But Neha believes she has a much longer way to go, “I am definitely not content and still need to do a lot. I have always maintained, ‘You never know which Friday is a game changer.’ You are only as good as bad as your last Friday.”
Neha was in Bangalore on Sunday to talk about Lights, Camera, Action, a film institute developed by industry professionals. Ask her if an education is required in the creative field, she says, “I support a charity called Shiksha which is based on education and I am a firm believer that whether you are a chef, an actor, biophysicist, you need to educate yourself.”
Neha’s top tip for aspirants to the film and TV industry is knowing how to handle the media effectively. “It is important to keep up in this competitive world. There are some things which no text books can teach and there is no amount of education to teach you, except experience,” she says.
To the film enthusiasts, there is an obvious divide between an actor with good looks and screen presence and one who has learnt the art of cinema. Then there’s the category of those who say acting is in their blood sheerly because their parents were in the field too.
Can someone truly be born an actor? “There has always been this pedigree of the sons and daughters of actors - second generation and third generation - coming from different walks of life and doing very well in films. Then there are those who are not good looking but are known for their acting skills. The industry is a mix of it all.
“My father was in the Navy; you can throw me in any sea or ocean, I will survive it. It is like being around water is in my blood. Likewise, for star kids. Having said that, a little amount of professionalism, talent and discipline can take you far, whether your parent was an actor or not,” she says.
Neha is currently in the spotlight for her role in Unglee in which she is playing a journalist. “I can’t talk much about this movie, but it was thrilling to be part of a film with a great cast. More importantly, I am glad to be working with Karan Johar who is a fine producer and also Renzel D’Silva who is fabulous. Apart from that, I have another film, Santa Banta with Boman Irani and Vir Das, which is a satire on an ordinary man’s ordinary life,” she says.
When not busy with films, Neha is on her toes with brand endorsements and charity. She will soon be travelling to Pakistan to promote Indian cinema as a speaker at a conclave.