She’s been a mentor and judge on several shows, and now Neha Dhupia is doing judging duties on #MadeonRoposo, a digital talent hunt to identify the most original short-video content creators in India across five categories, an initiative of Roposo, which is one of India’s leading short-video talent platforms. Neha’s co-judges on the talent hunt are Farah Khan and Mukesh Chhabra. The grand finale of #MadeonRoposo, with 18 content creators, will take place this evening at 7pm on Roposo’s official YouTube channel. t2 caught up with Neha on the talent hunt, the year she’s had and daughter Mehr.
You have been a judge and mentor on other shows and platforms. Does this talent hunt on Roposo require a different approach from you?
Being a judge and a mentor on different platforms, whether it’s Roadies or Miss India or now with Roposo, the ability to decide someone’s future on the basis of the talent that you see in a short format is something that is a huge responsibility, but I love it. It’s high pressure, but I stay true to what I believe in and what I think will be widely accepted.
On this platform, to be able to push creators and influencers to do things that they are good at, to make them realise what they are good at in categories that are so vast, has been fantastic.
How does the experience of being a judge and a mentor enrich you as a person and an artiste?
It enriches me as a person and a performer, not just based on the fact that I have a huge responsibility, but it also helps when I work with young people on these shows. Seeing the kind of talent on Roposo leaves me spellbound. I create my own content and I get to learn so much from them. The theme here is Bollywood and all the contestants came up with looks that were different and fresh, as well as so creative.
In a year where the world has changed irrevocably, what’s been your biggest takeaway?
My biggest takeaway has been that nothing is more important than health. The first (Covid-19) wave was very different... we stayed at home and counted our blessings, stayed positive and learnt what working from home was like. The second wave was even more scary. At home, a lot of people got hit by Covid, including my husband (Angad Bedi). It was something that we thought would set us back in a big way, but one just has to be mentally strong and physically fit and count one’s blessings.
With husband Angad Bedi and daughter Mehr Sourced by the correspondent
We all have latched on to some sort of coping mechanism to tide through these trying times. What’s been yours?
My coping mechanism during this time is what I have used all my life... staying positive, and believing that every time we are down in the dumps, I just need to say, ‘This too shall pass’. That’s what my parents have always taught me, and maybe they were just making sure I would stay positive even during a pandemic, and that’s been my attitude through everything.
Are you also using this time to set goals for the future, in your personal life and career?
I had always wanted to do stuff creatively as a producer, and this time has got me thinking about it in a big way. There is a lot of writing that I have put down in my free time. But there is very little free time because when you are the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old, with very little help and no outlet for their energy levels, you have very little time for yourself. I have been a 100 per cent mom and have been optimising my professional side as much as I can.
What’s been the best thing about watching your daughter Mehr grow up and what are the things you like doing together?
My God! Just seeing her come up with new things is magical. She’s adorable, she’s cute, she’s chatty, she’s inquisitive, she tries and makes sense and logic out of everything. She has a mind of her own. Sometimes I feel she is two going on 20! When she’s vulnerable, her buck stops at Mama and when she wants everything else in life, her buck stops at Papa. I can go on and on about her... I should stop!
She’s still very young, but what are the qualities you hope she gets from you and Angad?
I feel like she should become her own person. But there are some wonderful qualities that Angad has... he’s got a sense of calm in the most adverse situations and I hope that she gets that from her father. I am a worrier who panics about everything and I hope she never gets that. But I do see even now that she doesn’t worry too much.
She’s very headstrong and I think I know where she gets that from! (Laughs) What I like about that quality is that she knows exactly what she wants. Whether it’s playtime, food time or reading time, she knows when she’s had enough. Her communication skills are also very strong and so are her social skills. Angad’s patient and kind and he’s very athletic, and those are great qualities to have. We are both very healthy when it comes to diet and nutrition, we don’t have any late nights... and I hope that becomes a part of Mehr’s routine because these things go a long way in life.
To sign off, anything you watched recently that you loved?
I watched a lot of stuff, but right now all I can remember is Mare of Easttown and Season 2 of The Family Man. Loved both!