National award winner Neena Gupta’s on-screen journey has been a graph of films and characters that were way ahead of their time. From her portrayal of Basanti in Mandi to Priya in Saans, her roles brought in a level of honesty that would often get lost in the over-the-top, stereotypical productions back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. With four decades of experience in the industry, an unconventional personal journey, and a will to continue doing good work, when Neena sat to write her autobiographical novel, Sach Kahun Toh, the same charm and honesty flowed through the pages.
A perfect read for the weekend, the book is a deep dive into the good old days where Bollywood actors were more like close-knit families, the theatre was the mark of good acting, and moong dal pakodas sold by street vendors were a treat. It’s a dive into simpler times; the life of Neena without any of the drama.
On the sets
“The media doesn’t know me. Nobody knows the real me. But writing a book would mean opening up and revealing my deepest, darkest secrets to the world. It would mean publishing all the mistakes I have made in my life. Revealing that I let men walk all over me. Confessing on paper that the strong, confident and self-assured Neena Gupta actually suffers from a severe lack of self-esteem. She’s flawed. Chipped. Broken,” the actor shares before letting us deep-diving into her world.
With Viv Richards
The conversational style of writing, and the close attention to details, makes the book a breezy read. You can relate to almost all of her observations about family, society and the struggles a woman has to go through. Everything from her childhood, to the mistakes she made in her career, her decision to have a baby and raise her as a single mom, and her much-discussed social media post, asking the industry for work, you’ll find it all here.
With husband, Vivek Mehra and daughter, Masaba
The book is a real take into Bollywood, stripped off the glam, and focused on the hard work, the struggle and the heartbreaks. Opening up to the world about her personal life, Neena also talks about childhood crushes, her first husband, her broken engagement, a cheating partner, Viv Richards, and her marriage with Vivek Mehra. And, of course, Masaba and the relationship she shares with her daughter.
While Bollywood is a huge part of the book, your takeaway is the simple charm of a woman who is brave, resilient and refuses to back down.