Neena Gupta is known for her distinct portrayal of bold and powerful characters. A graduate of the National School of Drama, the veteran star has proved her mettle across works in parallel and mainstream cinemas. In her successful career spanning over 30 years, Neena has played many diverse characters. It is worth mentioning that only a few stars have found super success in the second innings of their career, the way Neena has. Despite being out of work for an extended period, her acting journey regained momentum following her widely-acclaimed performance in the film Badhaai Ho.
On Neena’s birthday, here are five of her most impressive performances:
Woh Chokri (1994)
Directed by Subhankar Ghosh, the film had Neena play the role of Geeta Devi. Her character undergoes a journey that spans various stages of her life. From a widow to a woman who finds love and struggles with the man’s unforeseen absence, Geeta finally meets her tragic end. The film garnered critical acclaim at the time of release and earned a well-deserved National Award for Best Supporting Actress for Neena.
Neena essayed an elderly woman, Badi Tabassum, in a household. The courtroom drama directed by Anubhav Sinha was pinned around a Muslim family who fall victim to societal representation of their identity. As Badi Tabassum, Neena had to carry the responsibility of keeping all of the family members together during times of crisis. Rishi Kapoor, Taapsee Pannu, Rajat Kapoor and Manoj Pahwa portrayed other pivotal roles in this film.
The film directed by Shyam Benegal starred Neena Gupta, Naseeruddin Shah, Leela Naidu and Soni Razdan in lead roles. Neena essayed the character of the illegitimate child of a dead patriarch in the art drama. Her portrayal of the character Milagrenia is regarded as one of her best roles so far. Benegal received National Film Award for Best Direction.
Badhaai Ho (2018)
As a mother of two sons in the movie, Neena is a loving and responsible housewife who struggles to deal with late pregnancy. This comedy-drama was completed with hilarious dialogues and garnered critical acclaim. It is about how a middle-class family faces many societal judgements after Neena’s shocking pregnancy. With power-packed performances from Ayushmann Khurrana, Gajraj Rao, Surekha Sikri and Sanya Malhotra, Badhaai Ho gave a new direction to the way films are being made in the country.
Directed by Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, the sports drama revolved around the life of a former Kabaddi player, portrayed by Kangana Ranaut. Neena portrays Kangana’s on-screen mother in this emotional roller-coaster ride of a film. The film is a journey that reflects the struggles of a middle-class family. Richa Chaddha and Jassie Gill feature and deliver in other supporting roles.