Neena Gupta recently launched her autobiography Sach Kahun Toh and gave fans a close look at her life. The actor, who was a single mother to daughter Masaba Gupta, opened up about her first marriage, spoke about her relationship with Vivian Richards and her struggle in the film industry.
Here are a few keynotes from the book:
Neena Gupta didn't have money for her C-section birth:
Masaba Gupta shared an excerpt from the book, recounting the time Neena Gupta did not have enough money to undergo a C-section during childbirth. "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," an excerpt read.
Satish Kaushik offered to marry Neena Gupta:
According to a review of Sach Kahun Toh published in Film Companion, when Neena was pregnant with Masaba, Satish came up with a proposition. He told her, "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."
Neena Gupta's friend suggested she marry a gay banker:
Neena was having a child, Masaba, out of wedlock at a time when India wasn't welcoming of the idea. At the time, Neena was suggested she marry a gay man. "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," Neena wrote about the 'offer', as per a report in Zoom.
Vivian Richards didn't speak to Neena Gupta for 5 years owing to a cancelled trip:
Neena shares Masaba with ace cricketer Sir Vivian Richards. The actor in the book revealed that the mother-daughter duo was supposed to meet him but she had to cancel owing to Masaba's school admission. "I was happy for days after that and even got Masaba excited about the trip. 'We're going to meet your father,' I told her, and she shrieked with glee," Neena wrote, adding that Neena's aunt helped her secure an interview with the main trustee of Jamnabai Narsee School.
Unfortunately, the dates coincided with their trip with Sir Viv. She informed Vivian that she would have to reschedule the trip. "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.
Neena Gupta's failed first marriage:
In the book, Neena revealed that she was married for a brief period to a young man named Amlan Kusum Ghose, whom she met during her college days. "Amlan and I would meet in secret on campus, his hostel or near my house. His parents lived in another city but his grandfather lived in my lane so he would spend festivals and holidays in WEA," she wrote, as reported by Zoom. The couple's relationship became public after Neena's friend blabbered about it in front of her parents. However, that did not come in the way of Neena and Amlan's relationship. Eventually, to get permission to visit Srinagar with Amlan, Neena actually got married to him. The wedding 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.
Subhash Ghai demanded Neena Gupta wear a 'padded bra' for Choli Ke Peeche:
In an excerpt from the book, shared by Zoom, Neena recalled shooting for the hit song. "When I first heard the song, I knew it was catchy. But when Subhash Ghai told me what my role would be, I wasn't so keen any more. I liked the fact that my part was sung by my friend Ila Arun, with whom I had acted in many films. But I couldn't do it," 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," she added.
Neena Gupta's marriage was called off at the last minute:
As reported by Indianexpress.com, Neena opened up about a man she almost got married to. "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.
Neena Gupta opened up about a casting couch incident:
According to a Zoom report, Neena received a call from a producer, who worked in the south Indian film industry, to meet him. She wrapped up her performance at Prithvi theatre in Mumbai's Juhu, and since the hotel was close by, decided to visit the producer. The producer called her up to his room and she sensed something was amiss. "My basic instinct told me to not go upstairs. That I should ask him to come down to the lobby instead," she wrote. She was afraid to lose out on the opportunity and decided to go anyway.
"'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)," Neena wrote. The producer thrust her bag in her arms and told her that she wasn't being forced to do anything. Neena ran out of the room soon after.
Neena Gupta's mom 'tried to end her life':
The actor opened up about her father's second marriage which resulted in her mother attempting to end her life. Zoom TV quoted Neena's autobiography as saying, "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 her mother 'shattered' due to this and wanted to end her life. "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)," the book said.
Neena Gupta choked with 'guilt and shame' after asking for work on Instagram:
The Badhaai Ho star confessed that she felt 'shame' after she shared an Instagram post asking for work in 2017. "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 wrote, according to NDTV.
Neena said she was expecting an angry call or text from Masaba, 'expecting yet another lesson in social media,' however, she received a 'long and beautiful message from my daughter who had shared my post with her followers.'