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    “I am analogous to a ‘maachis-ki-teeli’ in ECKLL” – Neha Dhupia

    [Interview by Joginder Tuteja]
    Wednesday, May 16, 2007
    Neha Dhupia is standing at an exciting juncture of her career. After a much appreciated performance in ‘Chup Chup Ke’ last year, she wasn’t seen much in the months that followed.

    Her recent release ‘Delhii Heights’ may have proved to be a dud at the box office but none could deny the fact that Neha had given a mature performance in the film, hence showing a different facet of hers when it came to sensitive portrayal of an urban working woman.

    She would be seen again on the big screen as her ‘Ek Chalis Ki Last Local’ finally hits the marquee this Friday. Joginder Tuteja catches up with her to check her reaction on the eventual release of the film.

    Finally one of your favorite projects is arriving on screen. Relieved?

    [Laughs] Relieved, excited and also a little nervous. It is a different feeling altogether when a film of yours comes on screen for which you have worked so hard and seen it growing in front of you with every passing month. It has been a 2 year wait but certainly worth it.

    You seem to have stuck to Sanjay Khanduri, the film’s director, through the toughest of moments.

    And that’s because he is so talented and has made a fantastic film. Believe me; you won’t feel that is someone who is debuting with the film. Even when the first schedule of the film was on, I could feel that Sanjay is someone who could possibly have an experience of directing 10 films, of not more.

    But what’s so special about his direction?

    The fact that he is a great narrator. I remember when he first narrated the subject to me. As soon as he was through, I said that I was on. There was no money discussed, there were no date hassles either. I made my date diary open and asked him to tell me when we wanted to begin shooting. So exciting has the project been that I can’t wait for the final product to arrive on screen.

    Didn’t the wait make you impatient?

    No, because we are so confident about the product that we have made. There are some films where you can just sense that things have turned out to be quite well and would be accepted by the audience. ECKLL is one of them.

    How exciting is quite character?

    [Smiles] She is analogous to a ‘maachis-ki-teeli’ in the film. You never know when she would flare up and ignite the entire proceeding! She is the one who is responsible for some big time twists in the plot. You have to wait and watch for the film but I am sure that both the film and the character I play are going to excite and surprise you in a big way.

    Well, you did surprise in ‘Chup Chup Ke’ last year! Many wouldn’t have guessed you to have gain appreciation in a film that had Kareena Kapoor in lead.

    Yes, I have got some fabulous feedback ever since the film’s release. In fact when Priyadarshan told me that I was to star in this film, I was a little apprehensive. Shahid Kapoor and Kareena were the main leads and I wasn’t sure what would I be doing in a film also considering the fact that there was no romantic track featuring me involved.

    So what convinced you?

    Priyadarshan told me that I would have a prominent part to play in the film and would have lots of dialogues to mouth. [Laughs] Little did I know that this was because Kareena played a mute character in the film and hence I was doing all the speaking. Jokes apart, I am happy that the film got me noticed and is still being remembered.

    You were also noticed in the item song ‘Fida Huye’ in ‘Nehlle Pe Dehlla’. Seriously Neha, what made you opt for it?

    Nothing much actually. Bhushan Kumar asked me to feature in this promotional number and the kind of standing he has in the industry, it is easier to say yes to him than say no [smiles]. So I just went ahead and shot for the song.

    Coming back to ECKLL, you do have a hit track ‘Laree Choote’ to your name now.

    That’s right and I am so glad that a promotional track featuring me and Abhay was picturised for the film. It is a beautiful track with an innovative choreography. I am sure it would be played on for months to come. There is another sweet track called ‘Bheegi Seeli Si’ by Ankur. It has that nice love ballad feel to it that adds on to the repeat value.

    So what are the kind of films you are looking forward to be a part of?

    Films that tell a new story and film makers who think in a forward direction. This is why some of these newcomers have impressed me so much because they have this forward thinking capability, something which I dread when it comes to a few so-called-established film makers.

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