Neena Gupta, who spent around two months at her home in Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand, is now back in Mumbai and has started shooting for her film Goodbye. The film’s shoot was halted after a lockdown was imposed due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. This is a special project for Neena, who completes four decades in the industry next year, as she gets to share screen space with Amitabh Bachchan for the first time. “Everybody is surprised that this is my first film with him, but that’s the truth! Chalo, at least now I get to work with him,” says Neena, who was in talks for a film starring Bachchan many years ago. “Yes, there was one project that we were in discussion for, but in the end, it didn’t materialise… I don’t know why.”
In Goodbye, directed by Vikas Bahl, Neena plays the actor’s wife. Though this is their first professional collaboration, she has been good friends with his family. “Jayaji (Jaya Bachchan) invites me for their Diwali party every year. And Mr Bachchan, you know, is such a good host.” Back in 2018, he had appreciated Neena’s work in Badhaai Ho! The actress fondly remembers that she was pleasantly surprised to receive a bouquet of flowers with a handwritten note praising her performance in the film.
Though she shares a good rapport with the Piku actor, when it comes to performing with him, Neena gets nervous. She says, “Initially, I used to be very nervous on the set. Honestly, I was a little in awe of him. However, as time went by, we chatted a lot on the set, and I became normal.” The actress points out that as they get back to work post the second wave of COVID, crew members are extremely cautious and follow the protocols more stringently.
Now that she is in Mumbai, does she miss spending time in the mountains? “I was there for around two months with my husband. Even my daughter Masaba visited us for a few days. But I have had enough of rest, now I want to be busy with work,” she signs off.