“I don’t believe in doing a solo lead in a film that no one watches” – Neetu Chandra

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Some call her a controversy queen, others call her a diva, some a fashionista, but we here at BollySpice call her a phenomenal artist. She’s only 4 years old into the industry but Neetu Chandra has gone from strength to strength and has made a mark for herself with no sugar daddy in the industry! 2010 seems to be another rocking year planned for the actress as she starts rolling out one film after another. But despite all the rush in her life, she pauses in her busy schedule to get candid with me once again and talks about everything from films to controversies, family life and most importantly about her latest outing, Ram Gopal Verma’s Rann!

Prathna: I’ll start with the most obvious question; how did Rann come about to you?

Neetu: I was having coffee with my mother one evening and I get messaged from Ram Gopal Verma asking me to meet him. I knew at that point that he’s already started Rann so I was wondering why he had called me. So I was quite surprised when I actually went there and he offered me Rann. He told me that he had an actress in my role however preferred me to be in it. Because RGV is one of the best technical directors we have. A very sensitive director and a very brave director. Brave because he makes what he wants. He doesn’t get influenced by anyone else.

Prathna: You play Yasmin Hussain in the movie, so tell us about Yasmin and how she fits into the film?

Neetu: Yasmin is a very sensitive character who is in love with this guy who happens to be the son of a very big media head. Because she is a Muslim she goes through incidents where she realises that her that this world is very different place where you have to portray yourself in different ways for people to like you. Yasmin is a character who’s basically doesn’t really see much inside the media and politics. She doesn’t necessarily say anything negative about it either. She’s a simple plain-Jane! She doesn’t get into the intricacies of how, what, where, who and why. She sees everything very straight. Her point of view would just be like that media is not a business, it can’t be a business, its a place to show the world a mirror.

Prathna: Now we’ve all heard that the film is about Indian media, but can you tell us a little bit more about the actual storyline?

Neetu: Actually I am not at the liberty to indulge anymore into the story but I would tell you how interesting it is. It’s a very different movie because we’re used seeing comedy and the usual commercial films that we’ve forgotten the sensitivities of making of films on different topics. It’s not your usual laughter riot film that you waltz into but that’s not to see you shouldn’t see the film. Audiences should see the film because you get real knowledge about the media and politics. It’s highly educational. Rann is one film where you’d find out things about media and politics which you might not know. Although I must say that because the film is about media and politics so many people are hesitant to promote it. Perhaps because they don’t want it to be shown the way it is in real life.

Prathna: You’ve worked with Amitabh Bachchan in the film, how was this experience?

Neetu: Very, very good. He’s such a legend but he doesn’t make you feel like “Hello! You’re working with me!” He’s so comfortable and down to earth. It’s such a matter of pride to share the screen with him even if it’s one frame with him.

Prathna: And how about the experience working with Ram Gopal Varma?

Neetu: Well you know, like I said, he such a brave director. The best part is that he’s such a workaholic! I actually remember this one time on the sets after we’ve finished a scene and gone off he was just sitting their behind the camera rewinding, replaying, etc. and checking the scene and I came to his side and stood by him for almost five minutes without him realizing!

Prathna: Interestingly, you have dealt with the media quite a bit with so many controversies in the past year. How do you deal with the media in this way?

Neetu: You know what, I don’t deal with them. They deal themselves; they ask the question and answer it themselves. They make controversy, ask me questions and answer it too. I just read what it is the next morning as I’m having tea with my family.

Prathna: How does your family deal with all the media hype around you, especially negative press?

Neetu: You know in actuality the negative press about me is handled better by my family compared to me. They take the news far more in their stride than I do. I will lose my temper and get worried but they won’t. My brother always says that until and unless they write about, there’s no point because there are so many people out there that they don’t even bother writing about. And as for mum, she always says that if they’re writing about you in a negative ways, [it] means that you’re reaching there. So I am very happy with the way they deal with it because I am nothing without my family. They’re always there for me at every step!

Prathna: You have another big project happening down south, Theeratha Villaiyattu Pillai, with superstar Vishal and some say it’s a remake of Bachna Ae Haseeno?

Neetu: Actually it’s not a remake of Bachna, but yes there are three female leads in the film.

Prathna: So how has that project been going—I hear it’s the project to look out for this season.

Neetu: Have you seen the promos?

Prathna: Yes, the soundtrack is amazing, I am a huge fan of Yuvan Shankar Raja!

Neetu: Oh my God, I have to say that I just love him! He’s such an amazing composer. Right now my favourite song is without a doubt from his work. There’s a song that I shot in Australia and around and I mean ‘wow’! What music! Even though I don’t understand Tamil fully I love the tracks and it’s constantly playing in my car!

Prathna: So TVP is yet another multi-starrer for you after Rann? Are you more comfortable doing multistarrers?

Neetu: I’ll do more justice to this question if I tell you a bit about my character in the Tamil film. I strongly recommend that you watch my performance in that film because it’s the first time I have played a negative shade. So that negative shade is what sets me apart from the other two leading ladies. I did my first Tamil film with Madhavan as solo lead (Tamil version of 13-B) which was a super hit down South and because of that now everyone asks me why I have said yes to a multistarrer Tamil film. But my answer to that is that you have to watch the film and my character and you’ll see why I’ve said yes to such a role. And you know I am so glad that I did say yes to this project. Even though there are three female leads, I am the main villainous protagonist in the film so that gives me ample scope.

Now coming to your question of multistarrers. It’s not a question of whether I am comfortable doing multistarrers, I am comfortable doing good films. So it’s not about multistarrers, it’s about your character. It’s about your position in the script. I don’t believe in doing a solo lead in a film that no one watches. I believe an ensemble project where you have a really good story to tell, a narrative structure, a sensible director and there should be great actors. Now Rann is Mr Bachchan’s films of course. But we have so much to do still in the film. You’ll see me in the film, of course not throughout, but definitely you’ll see me and I promise that whatever I have done you’ll remember.

Also my career has seen a variety of roles I played and I never choose them on the basis of multi starrer or solo-starrer. I started off with multistarrers like Garam Masala and then I did Traffic Signal which was more of a focus on Madhur Bhandarkar’s work and it wasn’t until later on that I moved onto solo leads like Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye! and 13B. Also, in the coming future I am doing many more solo leads like Khoosar Prasad Ka Bhoot and Apartment in which I actually play the main protagonist and the whole script is set around my character. So truly, you have to be very sensible and can’t just say yes and no to a project on the basis of whether you are playing a solo lead or a supporting role in a multistarrer. You have to do a film because you just want to do a good film. The way you’re seen today is different to yesteryear and you actually do get noticed in your supporting roles. In fact, I am so proud of all the projects I have done, solo or not.

Prathna: Now I am need of some clarification because I read everywhere that you’re shifting base to Chennai! Is this true?

Neetu: Oh gosh! Prathna, where did you read this? I’d like to read it myself!

Prathna: No jokes! Every tabloid is screaming that you’ve bought a house and everything.

Neetu: [Laughs] No way! I have six Hindi projects I am focusing on right now. I just did one Tamil film. Whenever I do have dates available and it’s a good script I am more than happy to do a regional cinema film. Actually, not too long ago I was travelling quite frequently to Chennai due to Chennai Fashion Week where I walked the ramp for Neetu Lulla and also I was constantly travelling there to do promotion for this upcoming Tamil project too so I thought why not buy a house here. Just a house that is empty for most of the time but is available for me to stay at whenever I am working down there for lengths of time. Nothing big! So that’s how I told the media about the house, not that I wanted to shift there.

Prathna: Alrighty, now that that’s cleared up, what else will we be seeing you in in 2010?

Neetu: I have Rann this month. February has Apartment releasing. March is Khusar Prasad Ka Bhooth. April has Love Jaisa Kuch which is with Vipul Shah. Then there’s also Rahul Dholakia’s film in May. After that I take a break of two months and immediately after the break in August I’ll have No Problem releasing with Anees Bazmee and I’m currently shooting for that with Sanjay Dutt.

Prathna: So all forthcoming releases are in Hindi, nothing down South?

Neetu: Right now there’s none because I haven’t got much dates but I am in talks about some scripts so let’s see what happens. If something interesting comes up I’ll surely do it!

Well guys looks like our favourite gal will be gracing the screens almost every month this year and is definitely not going anywhere anytime soon! Here’s wishing her all the best for all these exciting releases in 2010. For now make sure you all are lining up at a cinema near you to catch Rann this Friday, January 29th!

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