Many of us believe that we have qualities like secularism, liberalism and a modern mindset. However, how many of you really think it’s okay for a woman to have a baby before marriage? How many of you think it’s okay to be a single mother in the mid-20s? How many of you think it’s okay if a woman is the sole earner of the house? Not many, right!
All of us have a conditional set of rules which we term as ‘Moral values’. If your daughter is spending the night at her friend’s, it’s okay. But when your neighbor’s daughter parties out late at night, it’s not okay. Society is full of such hypocrites and it’s the women who are expected to be answerable for all their actions. However, Actress Neena Gupta never let such prejudices affect her. Be it her personal life or her professional choices, she did what she felt was right for her and her daughter.
The leading lady and her love child
If there was anyone who was the baron of Neena’s kingdom it was she herself. No one was interested when she was dating Sir Vivian Richards but everyone started speculating things when she decided to have a love child with him. Yes, a child outside of marriage! She disregarded the boundaries and gave birth to baby girl in 1989 while she was still single.
She chose to raise her daughter alone without the tag of a married woman. Masaba Gupta, who is now a celebrated fashion designer, was her baby alone, as Viv never intended to marry her or even settle down with her. That was when the world was turning its back on her. A brave decision for a woman at any given point of time in her life. She broke away from the norm and lived with much aplomb.
Always a risk taker
Neena chose movies which were ahead of their time. She even went on record and admitted that she had to take up some movies just for money, so she could raise her daughter. She made her Hollywood debut in 1982 with the film Gandhi. She won a National Film Award for her portrayal of a widow in ‘Woh Chokri’.
Her big break on television came with Khandaan (1985), Yatra (1986), Gulzar’s Mirza Ghalib (1987), a TV mini series, Shyam Benegal’s Bharat Ek Khoj (1988) and Dard (1994 DD Metro).
The true face of modern women
One can never forget Priya Kapoor and her bindi in Saans, a serial that earned her immediate stardom. A story which talked about broken marriage, adultery, nuances of a relationship, difficulties of raising children by a single mother and much more. It was a path breaking story which was written and directed by Neena Gupta.
She is one celebrity who deserves respect for her screenplay on the silver screen and for her character played in real life. We can see her personality traits in Masaba too, who has been raised to be a strong and independent woman.
Neena survived against all odds and kept working for decades proving her passion for acting. Moreover, she never let anyone take charge of her life.
It’s the time when such unconventional stories should be celebrated in India.