By Amanjit Dhillon
Former Miss India and actress Neha Dhupia was at the TOIFAs to host the musical concert that featured some of Bollywood’s greatest singers including Sunidhi Chauhan (Band Bajaa Baaraat, Dhoom), Shalmali Kholgade (Ishaqzaade, Cocktail, Race 2), Mohit Chauhan (Rockstar, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Barfi!) and Hard Kaur (Singh is Kinng, Kismet Konnection). Neha was funny and classy as the host. Playing the game ‘Kaun Banega Neha Dhupia Ka Pati’ Dhupia had the crowd laughing as she made four male audience members participate in a dance off to see who would win and become her husband (note, none made the cut.) After the show, I caught up with the actress to chat about her thoughts on the Punjabi film industry, Canadian fans, and her secrets to staying in shape.
AD: With several Hindi film projects, many that were a hit, why do a Punjabi film now?
ND: Jimmy (Shergill) came to me with this script and it was interesting. To me, what’s most important is the script. I have done two films in Telugu so doing a Punjabi film wasn’t too different for me. It was tough to get the Punjabi accent at first but I managed to do it. I’m a Punjabi girl and I come from a Sikh family so it was important for me to give back to my roots. The Punjabi film industry is growing so much and there are so many excellent scripts being written. I have done over twenty feature films and this film is by far the best film I’ve ever been in. I’ve worked with Jimmy before in Delhi Heights so I knew if I did this role, working alongside him would be a pleasure.
AD: What do your Canadian fans mean to you?
ND: They mean a lot. They give me so much love and appreciation. The Punjabi community here is so large so it’s the perfect place to promote my film. Punjabi films are really appreciated here. I have a film with Karan Johar coming up soon called Unglee, which I hope to bring with me the next time I’m in Canada.
AD: You hosted the TOIFA musical night. What was the experience like?
ND: It was amazing. I really enjoyed interacting with fans. We played this game to find me a proper Punjabi boy and it was mad. We danced, laughed but most importantly, I really felt the love from the audience.
AD: What are you looking forward to during your visit here in Vancouver?
ND: I am walking in Manish Malhotra’s show and I’m such a fan of his work. He makes the most beautiful dresses. I’m also looking forward to seeing the show itself and seeing Aishwarya Rai Bachchan perform. Jimmy (Shergill) is coming here to promote our film together so I am looking forward to getting feedback from the fans.
AD: Why should Canadians go out to see Rangeelay?
ND: Well to support me of course! But also because it is really a great film. It has romance, action, comedy, a bit of everything for everyone. There are also some beautifully made songs in the film.
AD: You were a former beauty queen and now as an actress, do you feel pressure to look a certain way and maintain a certain weight?
ND: I do and that’s why I really focus on being healthy and fit. I work with a nutritionist back home and even when I’m traveling, I bring a yoga mat along so I can workout in my hotel or go for a run. I eat small meals every couple of hours. I stay away from sugar and fried foods. As an actor, its part of the job to look and feel good.