'In Bollywood, you have to be hot and guarded'

Oct 31, 2005 Subhash K. Jha,Oct 31

Mumbai, Oct 31 (IANS) Neetu Chandra, who hails from Bihar and is a martial arts expert, will be seen in Priyadarshan's forthcoming comedy "Garam Masala". She is upbeat about the film and plays down reports of cold vibes she shared with her two female co-stars.

There was reportedly so much tension between the three women that by the time the film neared completion two of the centre-spread candidates - Daisy Bopanna and Neetu - had stopped speaking to each other. The third newcomer is Nargis.

Wonder what happened to the bum-chum camaraderie that Zeenat Aman, Shabana Azmi and Parveen Babi shared when they whooped it up together as the 'desi' Charlie's Angels in F.C. Mehra's "Ashanti".

Neetu, the spunky sportsperson (she's a black-belt in tae kwon do and has represented India internationally), doesn't deny that there was tension among the trio in "Garam Masala".

"But isn't it natural for three newcomers to be insecure about their position? Though I'm not really a newcomer at all," says the ultra-confident Neetu.

"We were no Charlie's Angels. We're cast as three different kinds of girls. While Daisy plays a cute girl, Nargis is the shy one. I'm the hot babe and I've been projected accordingly."

Neetu, who left her home in Bihar for Mumbai three years ago, says she has been supporting herself financially since Class 12.

She is a veteran of numerous high-profile ads and has also done a number of south Indian films.

She's currently shooting a Telugu film titled "Godavari" in Rajahmundry. Her leading man, Sumanth, is actor Nagarajuna's nephew.

"My roles in the two films are in complete contrast. While I'm all about short skirts and long strides in 'Garam Masala', in 'Godavari' I'm a simple traditionally dressed girl. Audiences will get to see me in two completely different roles within a month in November and December."

Talks are on for two more films for Subhash Ghai productions, one to be directed by Ashiwini Chaudhary, who directed "Siskiyan", and where she plays a Bihari girl who's afraid to open her mouth publicly for the fear of making a fool of herself.

"That's the way I was when I came to Mumbai. For a girl from Bihar to be taken seriously in Mumbai is next to impossible. Doing a number of top-notch ads boosted my confidence."

How did a single girl from Bihar manage to keep the wolves at bay?

"I had two very protective male friends to begin with. Then my brother came to Mumbai to escort me around," said Neetu.

Sounds exactly like the story of actor Mallika Sherawat.

Neetu protests. "No, no! I admire what Mallika has achieved. But I can't be as upfront as she is, though I can be very honest when I want to be. I've realized in this business you have to be hot, happening... and guarded."

She ponders over her rapid rise in Bollywood.

"Mazdoori ki hai maine ek saal is ke liye (I have slogged for this for a year)," she confesses.

"'Garam Masala' gave me a chance to work with one of our best directors, Priyadarshan and a hero like Akshay kumar. Akshay was so supportive. He guided me throughout the film. I couldn't ask for more."

Click the Movie button below for more info:
Garam Masala


More News