By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Between managing her career and home and now putting together all the details of her daughter Masaba’s wedding in November, Neena Gupta has her hands full.
“Everything for the wedding has to be planned and executed perfectly. You see, at the end of the day it’s just me for Masaba. So I can’t afford to slip up.Every detail of the wedding is being meticulously planned,” says Neena adding she couldn’t have hoped for a better son-in-law.
“Madhu Mantena is a good man. He is kind to everyone,” says the doting mother-in-law,
Not counting the ridiculous role she recently did in the horror film Alone the very talented but underused
Neena Gupta finally returns to the screen as a woman exploring life, marriage and a relationship in debutant director Pushan Kripalani’s The Threshold.
In its two-character exposition of the domestic dynamics in Neena’s return to the big screen the film resembles her hugely successful play Mera Woh Matlab Nahin Tha with Anupam Kher .
Neena agrees, “They both explore the man-woman relationship in the post-60 bracket. I am lucky to have got both a play and film where I get to do so much, express so many emotions that women in general empathize with.”
Neena is clean-bowled by the response to the play. “When I agreed to do the play with Anupam Kher I knew I was getting into an interesting territory. But I never knew the response would be so overwhelming. Everywhere in the world women and men are coming up to me to say how much they identify with the play and the interaction between me and Anupam.”
The film The Threshold was a new experience for Neena. “If you look at my career there haven’t been too many pivotal roles for me. Here’s a film that has just two main characters, a husband and a wife played by Rajit Kapoor and me. Indian cinema hardly has roles of substance to offer to women beyond a certain age. I guess I got lucky.”
What Neena really enjoyed was to be able to improvise on location. “Of course there was a writer (Niharika Negi) with us. But Rajit and I improvised a lot on the dialogues, mining into our own emotional past to make our characters sound real.”
Neena marriage with Vivek Mehra is rock-steady. Neena hopes for nothing more than a peaceful and happy life for herself and her own. “My daughter is happily married to a good man. I’m doing good work on stage and in movies. And I am happy in my marriage. What more could I ask for?”