Veteran actor-director Neena Gupta on Monday said her autobiography “Sach Kahun Toh” is an honest tell-all tale about her life, chronicling her professional highs and personal lows. Published by Random House India, the book touches upon several milestones of Gupta’s life, from her unconventional pregnancy, single parenthood to a successful comeback in Bollywood. During an Instagram video chat with actor Kareena Kapoor Khan, who launched the book, Gupta said she has been writing the autobiography for 20 years and would often wonder if people were even interested in reading about her.
“I would start and wonder, ‘What is there to write about my life? Why would people be interested in reading it?’ Then the lockdown happened… And I did a lot of thinking about my life and decided to resume writing again.
“Everything is out of my system now. Things I was hiding for so many years. That’s a big relief. I think, may be after reading the book, even if one person doesn’t make the mistake which I did, if they feel ‘yeah, we should not do this’, it’ll be worth it,” Gupta said.
Kapoor Khan said she doesn’t view the book as a document of Gupta’s “mistakes”, rather, a sincere effort to put forth a life “that has been lived with all heart.”
“Too much heart! Gupta quipped. “What is nice about living from your heart, is that even if something goes wrong, you are content,” the veteran added. According to the publishing house, the book will share Gupta’s life story in the most “unapologetically honest” manner, from her time at National School of Drama (NSD) to moving to Bombay (Mumbai) in the 80s and her single parenthood.
The 62-year-old actor said, during the course of her writing the book—in Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand, where she stayed throughout the second wave of the pandemic—she realised how she was without any lover in her prime.
Gupta was in a relationship with former West Indian cricketer Vivian Richards in the 1980s and had to face insensitive intrusion from media and public for her decision to raise her daughter, Masaba, as a single mother.
“While I was writing the book I realised that I’ve been alone most of my younger years, my prime years, without a lover or a husband. I came here, there were some inconsequential affairs, nothing really materialised. I was all alone most of the time. Vivian was living far away, he had his own life. We met very seldom,” she said.
The “Badhaai Ho” actor said contrary to the perception that she has lived life on her own terms, she has simply accepted whatever has come her way and learnt to “move on”.
“Whatever God gave me, wherever I went wrong, I accepted it and moved forward. I wanted to have a normal husband, children from the husband who’s living with me, my in-laws, grandparents…
“When I see other people, I do feel a little envious. But I didn’t blame (anyone), didn’t become an alcoholic or went in a wrong direction because I didn’t get what I wanted.”
The actor mentioned a story from her book, when a man she was in love with and was about to get married to, called off the wedding at the last minute.
“Till today I don’t know why. I had no option but to move on… What you read about my life is actually not what I wanted my life to be,” she added.
The book addresses issues like casting couch, film industry politics, and also talks about what it takes for a young actor to survive without a godfather or guide.