Neena Gupta and being candid
We’ve all known and respected Neena Gupta’s candour over the years. The actress-filmmaker is not known for sugarcoating her words, and she has done so in her autobiography Sach Kahun Toh. Though she has been sympathetic to a few people who have played crucial roles in her life but have also injured her at times, she has refrained from publishing their true names.
She has cited three reasons for doing so: Gupta does not want the person’s family members to suddenly see them in a different light, the lawyer urged her to do so “to be safe,” and Gupta herself has forgotten some names. That’s also the tone of the book: honest, candid, amusing, but also sensitive and mature.
Gupta explores several known and unknown parts of her life in Sach Kahun Toh. While she has spoken about her much-publicized affair with former West Indies cricketer Sir Vivian Richards and the media frenzy that surrounded the birth of her daughter Masaba, the Badhaai Ho actress has also given an insight into her early life, struggling days, personal and professional regrets, her ongoing efforts to find validation with a leading role, and about her mother (Shakuntala Gupta), brother (Pankaj) as well as her father (Roop Narain) and their lives. She’s arguably the most candid in these sections, which makes them more relatable.
Backstories in the industry
Neena Gupta gives a fascinating backstory about filming for JP Dutta’s Batwara in Jaipur, making a friend in co-star Vinod Khanna, and finally meeting Richards at a dinner party held by the Maharani of Jaipur in the chapter ‘How I met Vivian.’ She has presented this phase of her life with a lot of respect, refusing to go beyond with too many details because she did not want to bring additional media attention to it.
Having said that, Gupta has covered that period of her life, but the most appealing aspect of the chapter for me is how wonderfully she expresses her love for Masaba by the conclusion of it, despite all of the difficulties she suffered during and after pregnancy. However, she writes, Masaba was worth all of that and more.
Sach Kahun Toh also shows you a different side of Neena Gupta. While she is frequently thought to be open, daring, and forthright, in the book she also comes off as someone who lacked faith in herself and her abilities, and may be a little naive at times – especially in the section when she keeps giving her philandering partner another chance. But that’s how humans are, and we all have regrets, mistakes, and insecurities, don’t we? Gupta’s genuine confessions, on the other hand, are what make the book so relatable. You’ll find yourself in her shoes more often than not.
Some musings on Neena Gupta’s book
The autobiography also provides insight into both sides of the film industry. It has a competitive and manipulative side, with some power hungry and nasty characters at the top, but it also has a kinder side, with some being by your side when you need them the most, especially in a fast-paced city like Mumbai.
Anecdotes about Gupta’s long friendship with Soni Razdan and Satish Kaushik are scattered throughout the book, and some of them are very heartwarming. Though there were times when I felt Gupta was holding back, especially when discussing the harsher side of the business. I was disappointed by the lack of candour in some sections.
After reading a few pompous autobiographies in the past, I found Neena Gupta’s Sach Kahun Toh to be rather refreshing, interesting, and to the point. If you intend to read it solely for the ‘juicy’ sections, you may be disappointed, but if you want to learn a lot more about the person, this autobiography is highly recommended.