From inspiring actors to real life heroes, Bollywood has not only seen people with exceptional talents and impeccable performing skills, but also those who have stood and introduced new ideologies in the industry. These people have become synonymous for attributes that they pertained, and have inspired many throughout their journey. But with being an epitome for something that doesn’t quite exists in the society, there comes a fair share of ups and downs.
It was the same journey that Indian actress and Television director, Neena Gupta decided to take. A true exemplar of women empowerment, Neena ji has always been ahead of her times regarding her ideals and opinions about life. Even at the time of her youth, she never stopped herself from going out for something that she desired because of the stereotypical perceptions that society had related to women. Be it having an affair with actor Alok Nath, or falling in love with a west-indies cricketer Vivian Richards.
It was in 1980’s when she first met the famous cricketer, and in no time they developed a bond that resulted in her pregnancy. Even after knowing that marriage was out of the picture, she decided against all odds and gave birth to her first and only daughter, Masaba Gupta. Raising her daughter at that time, and in a society which was highly critical of her, she became an inspiration to all the single mothers out there. Though people started seeing her in a different light after witnessing the tremendous efforts she put in for her daughter’s upbringing, and after Masaba’s success as a fashion designer, the media wanted to hear her side of the story.
It was in an interview with Mumbai Mirror when Neena opened up about regretting her decision of having a child out of marriage and revealed, “I would not have a child outside marriage. Every child needs both parents. I was always honest with Masaba, so it did not affect our relationship, but I know she suffered.”
In another recent interview with Film critic, Rajeev Masand, Neena openly confessed about the same and went on by saying that her “selfish” decision deprived her daughter of a father and a chance of having a normal family. She was found saying, “Very much. All the time. I feel it was a very selfish act on my part. Some of my friends told me it won’t be fair on part of the child, but kaun sunnta hai uss waqat, blind hotey hain (who listens at that age, people are blind). I also feel sad because she was lonely. I wish I had another child but circumstances weren’t like that).”
But rest assured, from Masaba’s success as a designer, to standing beside her during her divorce with producer Madhu Mantena in 2015, Neena has always been her daughter’s pillar and backbone. Regrets or not.