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    Neetu Chandra - "My mom deserves 90% credit for what I am today"

    [Interview by Exclusive by Joginder Tuteja]
    Saturday, June 24, 2006
    Remember last year''s comic hit ''Garam Masala'' where Priyadarshan created a riot with Akshay Kumar and John Abraham in the lead? While the male starcast was acclaimed with the film''s success being attributed to them, one can''t deny the fact that the three leading ladies [Neetu Chandra, Daisy, Nargis] too impressed in their debut outing. Now Neetu Chandra has been on a fast track as she has bagged a prestigious project like Madhur Bhandarkar''s ''Signal'' and has also recently delivered a hit down south in the form of ''Godavari''. Over to Neetu in Part II of this interview where she is visibly delighted about the recent success of her Telugu flick ''Godavari'' as she also talks about her different looks in recent advertisements!

    Starting with 'Signal', has the film already been completed?

    It is nearing completion as we have already shot 60-70% of the film. We faced an issue recently when a complete outdoors set was damaged due to rains and our schedule went a little haywire. But nevertheless, we should be on the right path soon!

    How else how you have been keeping yourself busy apart from theatre, dance, judo, literature, cosmetic etc.?

    Well, in between I have also done a Telugu film called 'Godavari' that has just been released on May 19th and is already a big HIT. It's sad that people outside South are not aware about the success of the film! It is a sweet triangular love story featuring two girls and a guy and is set on a journey aboard a huge ship. In fact one of the most reputed critics down south has appreciated my performance by stating that inspite of Neetu being a newcomer; she has done an awesome job. Now that's really encouraging for someone like me who is just building her film career. In the movie, I play a character that is so different from the one I played in 'Garam Masala'. Here I wear sarees and salwar-kameez throughout with knee length hair.

    What's the film about?

    The film has the river 'Godavari' as its backdrop and is based on a journey from Hyderabad to Bhadrachalam. This is a third film directed by Sekhar Kammula and the man has already won a national award winner in addition to 6 state awards. The film has Sumantha, who is Nagarjuna's nephew, in the lead along with Kamalinee Mukherjee who is an award winning actress herself!

    With such an award winning crew around you, aren't you expecting any award for yourself in 'Godavari'?

    [Laughs] See, I simply work when it comes to acting! At this moment I am not really thinking of which award I could be possibly getting for which movie! Yes, awards do come as an encouragement and if there are any my way then I would indeed be happy!

    Apart from films, are you involved with any endorsements, advertisements or music videos?

    Yes, number of them with the hottest one being the Bajaj bike ad with the song 'Jhalak Dikhlaja' in the background. Others have been with Mac Lubricant, Minto Fresh, Stayfree, IDEA mobile, ICICI, Cadbury and many more with each of them being A-list products!

    Difficult to imagine that because every time it appears to be some new model!

    That's the beauty of it and I don't know whether to be happy or sad about it that people can't recognize me from one frame to another! There are so many different ways that I can look and it has also happened in the past that on looking at some pictures in my portfolio, it was difficult for even myself to believe the way I looked in some of them. But in the end, I guess it works in my favor to be able to be captured differently every time!

    For a girl from Bihar, isn't staying in Mumbai a lonely affair?

    Oh no, not at all! In fact my parents stay with me only. And I must say here that whatever I am today, at least 90% credit for that must go to her. Though I come from a family of educated people, the kind of cultural background I come from, it was not easy to convince my family about my decision to join the glamour. Even I had thought at some point of time that I wanted to do something bigger in academics since in my joint family of 7 brothers, 5 of them have been IIT graduates! But somehow I decided that I wanted to be an actress and it was my mom who stood up and encouraged me to take the plunge. She has been supportive like this since childhood because ever since I remember she was very particular that I participate in extra curricular activities and come home only after winning. So hamesha mann mein rehta tha that I better keep winning!

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