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8 Neena Gupta Movies That Reflect The Actor's Onscreen Journey

The legendary actress has been serving super hit performances and unconventional roles from the ’80s to today

Team ZZ

Neena Gupta, one of Bollywood’s leading female actors, is a name synonymous with unbothered societal stereotypes, both on and off-screen. Her four-decade-long career in the industry is proof of her relentless spirit to be more than a character from an invisible guidebook handed out to women in life. Whether it was the tabloids talking about Neena Gupta in her challenging roles in Khal Nayak and Saans, to her relationships, the actor’s choices have always been game changers. A gifted artist, when actresses from the ’80s and ’90s were busy playing the role of a damsel in distress, Neena embraced unconventional roles and continues to do so even at 63.

Reigning a male-dominated industry to single-handedly raising a child with dignity and grace, there’s so much to Neena Gupta and her career. From playing her real-life role as Masaba Gupta’s mother to giving reel-life hits, take a look at why a Neena film is etched as timeless.

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One of the most critically acclaimed Neena Gupta movies was Gandhi by director Richard Attenborough. Playing the role of Mahatma Gandhi’s niece, Abha, the film focused on the struggles for India’s Independence. Celebrating a world event and the leader’s philosophy of nonviolent protests, Neena Gupta’s role, though small, was impactful. The movie won 8 Oscars.

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Playing a supporting role in Shyam Benegal’s Mandi, this Neena film saw a star-studded cast with names like Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak. Neena played the part of Basanti, a classical dancer, and won hearts with her expressive moves and elegance. Mandi was a movie ahead of its time, revolving around prostitution and the relationship shared by women in a brothel.

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One of the best Neena Gupta movies, Woh Chokri holds a special place in the actor’s career. It was the first film for which Neena won a National Award for her role as a supporting actor. Playing Geeta Devi, a widow turned prostitute, who is in a live-in relationship with a man, Paresh Rawal, despite societal accusations. Woh Chokri had a groundbreaking plot in an era where live-in relationships were unheard of.

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When you think about Neena Gupta, you think of her role in Saans. A TV series that catapulted the actor into becoming a household name, her character in Saans, like every other role of Neena, was unconventional but performed with utmost grace. Director, writer and actor Neena aced each part of her journey to make Saans a cult show that shed light on the sensitive topic of adultery in marriage and how women must have a world beyond their relationship status.

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From playing supporting roles to getting her well-deserved spot at stardom, Badhaai Ho is one of Neena Gupta’s recent movies. Packed with comedy and a strong societal message, Badhaai Ho embraced the topic of shame around the late pregnancies of women in the 50s. Lined with a humorous vibe, Neena played the role of Ayushmann Khurrana’s mother, who tackles an unplanned pregnancy. Despite pressure and embarrassment from her children and extended family, the aged parents go ahead with the pregnancy.

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The Last Color was Chef Vikas Khanna’s debut feature film that delivered a powerful message on caste-based discrimination. Neena played the role of Noor, a resident of one of Varanasi’s homes for widows. The movie shows her growing friendship with Chhoti, a Dalit street performer, with a message that humanity prevails above everything. It is another one of the critically-acclaimed Neena Gupta’s latest movies that is a must-watch in 2022.

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After the love that Neena Gupta and Gajraj Rao’s duo received in Badhaai Ho, they came back together in Hitesh Kewalya’s Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan. Her honest performance as a typical Indian mother newly introduced to the concept of homosexuality, Neena’s character is real, raw and relatable.

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Playing her real-life role of Masaba’s mother in the Netflix series Masaba Masaba, Neena is her unabashed self as she tackles a fun and feisty mother-daughter relationship. You see her maternal love and care for her designer daughter, but you also see strict parenting that stems from her own painful experiences in life. Serving us with the best airport looks to killer one-liners that Indian moms are known for, Masaba Masaba garnered so much love in Season 1 that they brought it back for Season 2.

If you love watching veteran stars return to the limelight with renewed plots and modern roles, Neena Gupta is not the only legend to watch out for. Check out Amitabh Bachchan movies as you reminisce about the ace actor’s historic journey in Indian cinema. 

Photo: IMDB
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