Neha : I'm not going to change to put myself on the road to success

Published On: 2014-05-30

Author: Upala K Basu Roy

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NEHA : I'm not going to change to put myself on the road to success


by Upala K Basu Roy

Ever since she made a beginning in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Kareeb Neha has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Touted as a discovery of 1998 Neha found the long queue of directors outside her doors dwindling after the surprise debacle of her debut film. Hogi Pyar Ki Jeet that followed didn't do much for her even though it fared better. A gross comedy that managed to impress only in the cow belt, Hogi Pyar Ki Jeet projected a daringly different Neha but didn't make her look any better than the simple miss of Kareeb who was sorely lacking in sex-appeal. Her recent ouster from two big films thanks to her link-up with Manoj Bajpai has only accelerated the downslide but with Fiza up for release and Aaja mahiya with Hrithik making it to the top of the charts, Neha can hope for a better tomorrow. Refuting rumours that she's disillusioned and disheartened and ready to call it a day, Neha talks about Fiza that can turn things around for her.


What was Fiza like?

It was great fun and a marvelous learning experience. Kareeb, Hogi Pyar Ki Jeet and now Fiza have taught me a lot about this profession. Working with Jaya (Jaya Bachchan) has helped me pick up so many subtle nuances that had never struck me before. Hrithik too has been a wonderful co-star. He is a very hard-working actor and a fantastic dancer. Thank God, I managed to keep pace with him in the dance sequences. We started shooting for Fiza before Kaho Naa...Pyar Hai had released but his debut film's super success doesn't seem to have changed Hrithik one bit. I think we look good together. And share great vibes. 


Was Khalid Mohammed a nervous debutant?

(Laughing) No, he wasn't. In fact, he went about his work with so much confidence that it was hard to remember that Fiza was his first film. There were no signs of nerves. He was always cool, collected and very sure about what he wanted. He'd really done his homework well. 


Fiza reportedly revolves around Karisma, Hrithik and Jaya Bachchan. Do you have much of a role in the film?

I am playing Hrithik's girlfriend in the film and my role has shaped out exactly the way it had been narrated to me. I have some good scenes too and a couple of songs including the chart-topping Aaja mahiya. The other song is the introductory song.


Fiza has raised sky-high expectations. What if like Kareeb it fails to live upto the hype and your presence goes unnoticed?

That would be sad. It happened during Kareeb. Nobody talked about my performance in the film even though I had put in my 100 percent. Initially, I used to spend hours wondering why no one had noticed me. Eventually, I stopped thinking about it and concentrated on improving my performances.


Didn't an unsuccessful debut put the skids on your career?

It was not so much Kareeb's boxoffice performance as the fact that I was bound by a contract that prevented me from accepting all the good offers I was flooded with during the last schedule of Kareeb. That put the skids on my career. Even after Kareeb was released I continued to get some good offers but I lost out on them because the producers didn't know how to get in touch with me. I wasn't in Mumbai for a while. 


The impression you seem to have given people is that you're a shy, aloof girl who really isn't interested in making it big in movies?

(Sighing) Yeah, I know people have been complaining about my attitude but tell me how do I show people I am interested in making a career in films. Do I have to want a film just because others want it too and go all out to grab it? That's not me. After Kareeb I could have signed every film that came my way and shown the world that I was an ambitious go-getter but where would that have got me? Nowhere. I am quite happy in my own little world doing the films I want to do. There is a lot of good work going around. Madhuri Dixit and Kajol are doing so many wonderful heroine-oriented roles, aren't they? Gone are the days when an actress had to sign everything she was offered to survive. Now one doesn't have to worry about the competition. Now even a new director can make an ordinary film look wonderful. I've realized that in this industry if you're successful you'll be accepted irrespective of whether you're an introvert or an aggressive extrovert. I'm an ordinary girl-next-door and I'm not going to change to put myself on the road to success. It won't help even if I do because those who know me know me for what I am. This is the way I am and this is the way I will work.


Okay, how did a simple, conservative girl like you accept a gross comedy like Hogi Pyar Ki Jeet?

Well, as I said before, you learn with every film and Hogi Pyar Ki Jeet gave me the chance to work with a talented actor like Ajay Devgan. However, I'm glad that not too many people from the industry watched the film. I looked like a horror in it. My hair and make-up were bad and so were my clothes. I didn't know the ABC of acting then and put myself in the hands of my hairdresser and make-up man thinking that they would know what to do since this was their job. They bungled up ad I learnt my lesson. Now I'm careful to employ only trained and experienced people who know their job and do it well. I even have a top designer doing my costumes now. I can't spend my life to sitting in front of a mirror and scrutinizing myself. I've got myself professionals and hopefully they'll not let me down.


What are the films you have signed recently?

There is Anubhav Sinha's next film with newcomers being produced by T-series. It is a heroine-oriented film. I was also doing Rajat Mukherjee next and E Niwas's Shool but I lost both film without knowing why. (Shrugs) It's disappointing but what can I do? I'm not here to fight with people and make an issue about such things. That's not my job. My job is acting. Period.