Neena Gupta an Indian actress and television director, known for her work in both art-house and commercial films.
The multi-award-winning actor is a sheer force of talent who is finally getting her dues as an artist.
Having worked in the industry for years, the second-innings of her career seems to be paying dividends… Especially post the success of Badhaai Ho – in which she played a pregnant middle-aged woman.
Although she is occupied with a handful of projects, Gupta has exclusively revealed to Filme Shilmy that she auditioned for Christopher Nolan’s action-thriller Tenet, the role which is now essayed by Dimple Kapadia.
Reflecting on this experience, the Panga actor conveys:
“It’s a very sore and hard thing. I sent my (initial) audition first, they liked it and wanted me to travel to Los Angeles to meet Nolan.
I was between shoots and had three days – so I went to LA for a day to audition and came back, continued my shooting.
I didn’t get it. When they call you for a second time, you get hopes, especially when they call you to come to LA. But then later, I realised that they had also called 3-4 other actors. They had called Dimple and she got it.”
As ‘special’ as it sounds, the audition process was just as vague. She describes:
“It was very strange. I was briefed very little and the first time I did it, they had given me a passage from another old film. I was clueless about my role and knew very little about the details.
Plus, the passage I had to recite was difficult to do… I didn’t even know who the guy (character) I was talking to was.
Eventually, I did. But a lot of other actresses went… I think even Suhasini Mulay also had gone to audition.”
She further adds: “I don’t know what was expected of me. Just to make myself feel better I convince myself ‘Oh, maybe he had another kind of face in mind.
Saying 5-6 lines cannot tell him who is a good actor and who isn’t.”
“Whilst I feel bad that I didn’t get it, had I been selected for it, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan would not have happened. They (for Tenet) required six months of no work here.
So all the other projects I’m currently doing (like Nikkhil Advani’s next), would not have happened. But it hit me very badly.”
Tenet chronicles the story of a secret agent (John David Washington) who is tasked with preventing World War III through time travel. It releases in July this year.
As for Neena, her recent film Panga (co-starring Kangana Ranaut) has just opened in cinemas and her next movie Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan (a same-sex romantic comedy) releases in February.
In addition to this, we will also see her in the Netflix series Masaba Masaba, social-thriller Gwalior and Vikas Khanna’s period drama The Last Color.
Stay tuned to Filme Shilmy for the full podcast interview.