Neena Gupta has made many shocking revelations in her autobiography, Sach Kahun Toh: Meri Aatmakatha. The veteran actress talked about her personal life, the birth of her daughter Masaba and also addressed professional issues such as casting couch, film industry politics etc.
The graceful actress’ candid confessions have grabbed headlines. Take a look at some of the major revelations from Neena’s auto-biography:
On her casting-couch experience:
The actress wrote about an incident where a ‘big-shot’ producer from the South Indian film industry asked her to ‘spend the night.’ The excerpt from her book read, “One day, a friend told me to go visit a producer who was a big shot in the south… When I got to the hotel, I called the producer from a phone in the lobby. ‘Yes, yes, I’ve been expecting you,’ he said. ‘Come on upstairs.’
‘So, what’s my role, sir?’ I asked him finally when he paused to catch his breath. ‘The heroine’s friend,’ he said. When he explained it to me, it seemed like a very small part. ‘Ok … I have to go now, sir’ I said, ‘My friends are waiting for me.’….’Go? Where? he asked. He seemed genuinely shocked. Aren’t you going to spend the night here?’ Suddenly, I felt like someone had just poured a bucket of ice water on my head. Khoon sookh gaya (My blood froze)."
When Satish Kaushik offered to marry her
Neena got pregnant out of wedlock while she was in a relationship with former West Indian cricketer Vivian Richards in the 1980s. Veteran actor and filmmaker Satish Kaushik had offered to marry her. According to a report in Film Companion, he said, “Don’t worry, if the child is born with dark skin, you can just say it’s mine and we’ll get married. Nobody will suspect a thing.”
When her friend wanted her to marry a gay banker
A lot of Neena’s friends had offered to marry her after her pregnancy. In the book she revealed that her friend had tried to get her married to a banker who was gay. “I laughed them off because I didn’t feel right about getting married just to avoid controversy. I knew I would have to answer very difficult questions. Being a public figure meant that our lives, mine and my child’s, would always be up for speculation. But I told myself I would cross that bridge when I come to it. Until then, I would hide behind loose clothes for as long as I could," she wrote, according to a report in Zoom.
When she had no money for a C-section delivery during Masaba’s birth
Neena’s daughter, fashion designer Masaba Gupta is a force to be reckoned with, but the veteran actress said that she did not have enough money to give birth to her via the C-section method. The excerpt from her book read: “As my due date approached, I started to worry because I had very little money in my account. I could afford a natural birth because it would cost only ₹2000. But I knew if I had to have a C-section, I would be in trouble because the surgery cost almost ₹10,000. Luckily, a tax reimbursement of ₹9000 came through a few days before my delivery and I finally ended up with ₹12,000 in my bank account."
On a wedding that was called-off in the last minute
Neena also wrote about being lonely in her ‘prime years.’ However, she opened up about a relationship where she almost got married. “I had gone to get my clothes made in Delhi when he called up and said, ‘I don’t want to marry you.’ To date, I don’t know why but what can I do? I moved on. I would have loved to get married to him. I had a lot of respect for his father and mother; I was living in their house. He’s going to read, he’s alive, he’s happily married. He has children,” she wrote.
On her first wedding with Amlan Kusum Ghose
Neena is now married to Chartered Accountant Vivek Mehra, but her first brief marriage was with Amlan Kusum Ghose, whom she had married in secret. She wrote that the marriage became public after her friend accidentally told her parents. However, it did not last. “Amlan viewed things differently. Given the times and our upbringing, I think he had always assumed that I would eventually settle down and focus on our family. But I had become a bit too ambitious and didn’t see myself ever being a regular housewife. I wanted more from life, and the more theatre I did, the clearer my path became," she wrote.
When Vivian Richards did not talk to her for 5 years
West Indies cricketer and Masaba’s father Vivian Richards did not speak to her for five years due a cancelled trip. She wrote in her book that they had to cancel their trip due to Masaba’s school admission. “But Vivian didn’t understand the importance of it. Or maybe I wasn’t clear enough in explaining to him how difficult it was for a child in this situation to get admission in a good school. He thought I wasn’t serious about meeting him and was just making an excuse to drop out. This wasn’t the case at all. He hung up on me, dismissive, and angry, and didn’t call me again for five years," she wrote.
When Subhash Ghai embarrased her while shooting Choli Ke Peeche
The actress recalled the time when she was filming the popular dance track from the 1993 film Khal Nayak. The movie was directed by Subhash Ghai and starred Madhuri Dixit and Sanjay Dutt in lead roles. She wrote, “They put me in a tribal Gujarati outfit and sent me to Subhash Ghai for approval. ‘No! No! No! No!’ he shouted. ‘Kuch bharo.’ I was so embarrassed. In my opinion, he was referring to my choli and stating that it needed to be filled. It wasn’t anything personal, I knew. He had visualised something . . . bigger for the rendition. I didn’t shoot that day. But the next day I was presented to him in a different outfit, with a bra that was heavily padded, and he seemed satisfied."
On her mother’s suicide attempt
Neena talked about her parent’s turbulent relationship. She wrote, “My father was brave enough to marry my mother for love. But he was also a dutiful son who couldn’t refuse when his father forced him to marry another woman from his community."
She added, “This betrayal from my father shattered my mother to the extent that she actually tried (and thankfully failed) to end her life. It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t normal for fathers to leave after dinner every evening. That fathers didn’t come home in the morning for breakfast and a change of clothes before leaving for the office. That fathers didn’t spend the night with some variation of ‘Seema Aunty’ (that’s what we called his other wife; name changed)," according to Zoom.
On asking for work on Instagram
A few years ago, the veteran actress made headlines after she asked for work on Instagram. After many years, she was offered a role in Badhaai Ho, which earned her critical acclaim. However, after her post, Neena said that she felt ashamed and was scared of what her Masaba would say.
She wrote, “The media I could handle; my friends asking me if I was okay, if my life and marriage was okay, I could handle. What was scaring me was my daughter, a widely recognised and famous fashion designer and public figure, Masaba Gupta would say." She added that instead she received a ‘long and beautiful message from my daughter who had shared my post with her followers.’