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'I'm pretty thick-skinned now'

March 13, 2024 16:05 IST
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'I don't jump at everything that comes my way.'
'(But) To say that I have too many offers coming my way is also a lie.'
'I'm not one of those people who turn down scripts every day.'

IMAGE: Neha Dhupia returns with Season 6 of her popular chat show No Filter Neha. All Photographs: Kind courtesy Neha Dhupia/Instagram

She's an actor, entrepreneur, television host, producer, podcast host. Clearly, nobody champions multi-tasking like Neha Dhupia.

With experiences spanning over two decades, Neha certainly knows how to create opportunities for herself.  

Her talk show No Filter Neha features a slew of Bollywood stars in their candid avatar, and is co-produced under her home banner, Big Girl Productions. 

"After spending over two decades in the business, I feel like nobody else can define your worth, except yourself," Neha tells Mayur Sanap/

It’s been eight years to No Filter Neha, as it enters the sixth season. 

The best thing about season six of No Filter Neha is that it is on video.

It's very exciting for me as a co-producer and host to be in a situation where I know I'm in season 6.

It's a huge stamp of approval from the audience.

Guests keep coming back year after year to share their unfiltered side.

There was a lockdown, I ended up getting married and having two babies... That kind of slows down the process a little bit because you have to spend time at home.

So I paced myself out. But here I am!

How did the idea of Big Girl Productions come along?

When I was really young, my dad would say, ‘What's my big girl doing?’

He used to be like, ‘Oh you're a big girl. You can handle any situation.’

I thought it was a cute way of living up to my description and the way I was raised.

It was a value system that was put in my head.

How difficult is it to have unfiltered conversations with stars, especially in the age of social media, where there is so much fan and media scrutiny?

It's not easy but it isn't that hard because I'm not here from a journalistic point of view.

I don't have a view that I'm going to pick on everything somebody says.

I don't have the intention to make it gossipy.

The idea is just to have a great conversation, and keep it unfiltered.

WATCH: Here's why Neha doesn't like to compare No Filter Neha with other talk shows

Video: Afsar Dayatar/

What are some of the topics that you won't talk about and why?

People's personal lives. I would question it but I won't talk about it if they don't.

I wouldn't talk about something that could offend the person sitting in front of me or somebody else who's worked really hard to make a name for themselves.

I wouldn't put them down or crack a joke at them.

Who has been your best guest?

Oh, it's very hard for me to say that.

But the first one always leaves a memory in your head. And my first ever guest was Karan Johar. It’s always fun around him.

You recently said that it was Karan Johar who helped you to prepare for this new season. What makes your equation with Karan special and how has your friendship with him evolved over the years?

He's a really dear friend.

I remember one evening before the recording of first episode with Tiger (Shroff), I called Karan and said, I'm not feeling it. How do I break the ice? I'm not feeling that I'm prepared 100 per cent.

It was also because I was coming back after a two-year break.

He was like, ‘Talk to me on the day of recording the show. You and I can warm up to a conversation.’

And it made me so comfortable, just to hear the sound of his voice to ease me.

He also comes with this huge talk show, which is loved and watched by everyone. I would call him the guru of all talk shows because he has a way of having those conversations.

He's also so helpful. It speaks volumes of him as a person as well.

Amongst all the stars who have graced your show, who is the most punctual? Who takes time to warm up to the chat?

(Thinks) Karan was very punctual.

Ranbir (Kapoor), oh my God, extremely punctual.

Shahid (Kapoor) is very, very punctual.

There are people who talk less and there are people who talk more. But those are their personalities.

Tiger (Shroff) talks less and I talk more.

So between him and me, I was the one doing more of the talking.

Kareena Kapoor Khan, Katrina Kaif, Aditya Roy Kapur, Taapsee Pannu, Kartik Aaryan  -- Neha rates the conversational skills of the stars here:

Video: Afsar Dayatar/

As an actor, has your strategy changed about the kind of films you want to do at this juncture of your career?

I don't jump at everything that comes my way.

(But) To say that I have too many offers coming my way is also a lie.

I'm not one of those people who turn down scripts every day.

After spending over two decades in the business, I feel like nobody else can define your worth, except yourself.

Sometimes if I feel I'm not cut out for (the role), I take my time and say no.


IMAGE: Neha with husband Angad Bedi.

Your journey has seen you don many hats: From beauty pageant winner to actor to being gang-leader on MTV Roadies to headlining a chat show like this. Which one do you enjoy the most? What have you learnt from each of your avatars?

Being a producer is hard but seeing the result is wonderful.

And to be able to see your whole show come up and people talking about it is absolutely fantastic.

But what I enjoy the most is, of course, doing films.

My first love is cinema and there's no taking away from that.

You have been quite fearless in countering social media trolls, who commented on your personal stand on various issues in the past. How do you deal with online negativity and what’s the mantra to keep your head down and get going?

The person in me, as Neha Dhupia, is okay taking trolls. Sometimes it's advice, sometimes it's humour, and sometimes it's toxic.

When it reaches stage three, it's unbearable.

If you go to my parents or my children or my husband or my friends, then I'm not okay with it.

That's when it really angers me.

But when you say things to me, I'm pretty thick-skinned now.

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