Neena Gupta vividly remembers sharing the post on Instagram in 2017, seeking work. If she felt trepidation about how the post would be received, it was overridden by her frustration of not finding equal opportunities and her determination to pursue the craft nonetheless. “I remember when I posted that [message] a few years back, and I am grateful that I have so much work today. Please nazar mat lagao,” laughs Gupta, who fought her way back into the industry that would not acknowledge senior female actors, let alone write roles for them. A stream of noteworthy films with her in pivotal roles, and awards followed. And with it, came a lesson for Bollywood — the often-propagated idea that female actors have a short shelf life was a thing of the past.
Today, as she stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Arjun Kapoor as the central character of Sardar Ka Grandson, Gupta, 63, is proud to be a catalyst in the changing ways of the industry.
To do justice to her 80-year-old grandmother act in the family drama, Gupta had to sport heavy prosthetics.