Released on 14th June 2021
Neena Gupta’s Sach Kahoon Toh is an autobiography which makes for an interesting read at many levels. Most of all it is a book which is filled with honesty. This honesty is visible from the foreword itself. The foreword begins with her saying that “I know many readers are waiting to get the juicy bits of my life. Don’t lie. I know there’s a part of you that only picked up the book to read about my relationships and controversies that have been part of my media image for decades now.” Through the book Neena Gupta challenges the assumptions that people have about her.
Sach Kahoon Toh is divided into five parts. The five parts are her growing years in Delhi, life in Bombay, giving birth to Masaba, the downside of her career and the eventual resurgence starting with the superhit Badhaai Ho which was a major turning point in her career. In the last section she writes about her family members and these include mother, father, brother, daughter and her husband Vivek. There is also the chapter on Vivian Richards and her affair with him which resulted in the birth of Masaba, however the details are kept to a bare minimum. But that chapter has also got interesting anecdotes as she gives the background of how their paths met in Jaipur.
For any autobiography to work it is important that you bare your soul out which includes talking about your flaws and Neena does that for most part. There are times in the book where she comes across as someone who lacked faith in herself and her talent apart from being easy to manipulate at times. This comes out particularly when she talks about her early boyfriend who cheats her multiple times but she still gives him chances. Candid confessions like these make the book an interesting read.
Her friendships with Soni Razdan and Satish Kaushik comes across vividly and these portions are very heart-warming. An interesting detail has to be mentioned here regarding Satish Kaushik. He once told Neena to tell people that he is the father of Masaba if people ask who the father is. The reason being the color of Masaba and Satish matches. It is a small incident but it tells you a lot about the friendship between him and Neena Gupta.
Another good thing about the book is Neena Gupta doesn’t go overboard with details about Vivian Richards. She treats that phase of her life with respect and never sensationalizes it. You also get a peep into the personality of Vivian Richards.
Not surprisingly, the most beautiful chapter is the one on Masaba. The entire process of her deciding to have Masaba in spite of society’s disapproval and bringing her up has been beautifully presented. The mutual respect and love that both of them have for each other warms your heart.
In the later portions there is an interesting thing that Neena Gupta writes about the instagram post that she had put up asking for work. She talks about being nervous regarding how Masaba would react when she finds out about her mother putting this post. Neena ends by saying how relieved she was when Masaba responded by saying how proud she was of her mother.
A professional regret which runs through the book is Neena Gupta playing the role of a nerdy girl in the initial part of her career. Although the role was well received initially, it also led to her getting similar characters. There is an incident where she talks about how Girish Karnad had scolded her for playing this role.
The book also gives you a peep into both sides of the industry. You have some nasty individuals but at the same time the friendlier side is also presented. Presenting both sides gives you a wholesome perspective.
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The only flaw in the book is the portion written on her father and mother. It was too elaborate. Those parts could have been written more crisply. Also the chapters on her second innings could have been more insightful.
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Sach Kahoon Toh is completely worth reading but don’t expect to come across many juicy bits.