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Verve People
September 08, 2017

Neha Dhupia On Juggling Multiple Roles And Excelling At Them All

Text by Zaral Shah. Photographed by Arsh Sayed. Styling by Isha Bhansali. Assisted by Bhoomika Lal. Hair & Make-Up by Mitesh Rajani

Be it on the screen, on the ramp at fashion shows or as the host of her own audio show, she works relentlessly to make every moment memorable

Her tryst with the city of dreams started when she landed in Mumbai about a decade and a half ago, two suitcases in hand. Today, Neha Dhupia is one of the industry’s recognised names. A model, a pageant winner, an actor and a producer, earlier this year, she made her ‘Koffee’ debut as part of the four-person jury on the season finale of Koffee With Karan.

Staying in sync with the changing trends in the world of entertainment, Dhupia has her hands full. And following a recording with Vidya Balan for her podcast #NoFilterNeha, co-produced by her company Big Girl Productions, she keeps her date with Verve on a cloudy July evening. Driving into the High Street Phoenix enclosure, we see her move swiftly into the vanity van, and without wasting any time, get started with the hair and make-up routine. A natural in front of the camera and quick as lightening in her changes, she shoots with us in various places beyond the witching hour. And Dhupia’s wit provides much food for thought.

In between shots, while sauntering from one location to another, she talks to Verve about her voyage into the industry, juggling multiple roles and continually holding onto her spot in the limelight.

Excerpts from the conversation…

“It’s hard to say which one’s your best performance, and which one isn’t. But I think the most important things are the opportunities, chances and roles that are given to you; and choosing the one that you think is best suited to you — one that you think will do you good. As far as I’m concerned, the ones I’ve really enjoyed doing are my roles in Ek Chalis Ki Last Local (2007), and Mithya (2008).”

“Every phase of your life is a new chapter. And in life, you need to finish one chapter and then start the other one. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a continuation, you’re still telling a story, still reinventing yourself, still out there, doing more interesting work. From having started off as a model and going on to becoming a beauty queen and an actor, to now being a producer and creating my own content is a lot of work, but I’m very excited.”

“Being an actor was never part of the plan. Growing up, a lot of people see films and are crazy about other actors and stars, but I was never like that. My only source of entertainment was Chitrahaar on Wednesdays and a movie on Sundays, on television. Apart from that I wasn’t privy to much cinema and so it was never a part of my plan.”

“Cinema all over the world is amazing. Movies from different parts of the world, even in our own country — films like Baahubali, Sairat and those made down south — are now very progressive. Having said that, I’m most comfortable in Hindi, but if I get a great part to play in some other language, I will do it.”

“The hardest or rather easiest part of being in the industry is that you love it so much that you don’t leave yourself any choice but to continue doing this. You keep at it, and that’s what I told myself too. I remember leaving home and coming to Mumbai with two suitcases…and today I’ve managed to make this city my home. I’ve made some amazing friends and have some great relationships with people from work and even personally. Should I want to, I could sit around and complain about things, but I have no complaints. I’m a girl who had no connection with cinema or Hindi films…but I’ve been around for 15 years and have come this far — I give myself a pat on the back just for that.”

“My personal style is effortless. I could do anything between high street and high end, so for me, the most important thing is that as long as I’m enjoying what I’m wearing I’ll step out in it.”

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