Monday, 30th October 2017

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Neha Dhupia on mommyhood and the Roadies ride

‘I am just trying to excel at one thing at a time and I am trying my best to be the best version of a mom right now’

  • Published 12.05.20, 9:49 AM
  • Updated 12.05.20, 9:49 AM
  • 3 mins read
Neha Dhupia Sourced by the Telegraph

Neha Dhupia wears many hats and being a ‘gang leader’ on Roadies is just one of them. This season — called Roadies Revolution that marks the MTV reality format’s 17th year (airs every Saturday at 7pm on the channel) — has the 39-year-old multi-hyphenate talent returning to the show, in the company of colleagues Rannvijay Singha, Nikhil Chinapa, Raftaar and Prince Narula. The Telegraph caught up with Neha on what keeps her invested in Roadies, the way forward for her and how she’s using the break to ‘chat’ with daughter Mehr.

What is it about Roadies that makes you come back every year?

The fact that it gives me the opportunity to see so many beautiful people and places and be a part of the journey that half the youth of India would die to be on, and I know exactly why, because it’s so thrilling… it is just so damn thrilling.

The show has grown in the last 17 years. How has being on the show helped you evolve… as a person, an inspiration and an influencer?

It has taught me how to be competitive in the right way, use my voice in the right direction — despite the fact that I have setbacks and weaknesses — and taught me how to believe in myself.

What makes Roadies Revolution a step above the previous seasons?

The fact that it is Roadies Revolution… we have gone all out on the journey and I can see it now because we were halfway through the journey and we had to come back (from Himachal Pradesh where the show was being shot, because of the Covid-19 pandemic). We ended up doing some incredible things, made a change in so many different ways. It’s hard to explain but without spilling so many beans, we really have reached out to the heart of India and tried to help in our own little way, and raised voices as leaders and contestants in things that we believe in.

The pandemic forced the show to conduct auditions live on social media for the first time ever. What’s that experience been like?

It has been exciting. It gives opportunity, excitement and generates interest. And, of course, it is very different from the ‘personal interview’. I don’t want this to become the general practice, but for the times that we are living in, I think it’s a great format to follow.

Has being the only woman among the gang leaders on the show proved to be an advantage or a disadvantage or it doesn’t matter?

It does not matter. I don’t feel any different from the boys. And they don’t feel any different from me. What ends up happening is that, when we’re in the competition, it’s not really the gender of the leader that decides who wins or loses. So yeah, I’ve had the opportunity of winning the show and the journey twice before and that’s what keeps me going.

What’s the break been like?

I think I am just trying to excel at one thing at a time and I am trying my best to be the best version of a mom right now. I hope I succeed because I know that we can use many different excuses as to why we missed that one bedtime story or why we missed that one play day, but right now I don’t want to miss a thing. And this is the best age I feel, my daughter (Mehr) is going to turn one-and-a-half years… the biggest celebration that I can have is to stay at home with her.

Are you also using this time to set goals for the future, in your personal life and career?

I mean, a lot is going to change, I do not know where we are headed. The uncertainty sometimes gets me very anxious and sometimes it takes me to a point where I feel like nothing is in my control. But I want to invest my time and life in things that matter. And professionally, I would like to invest myself in projects that would lead to something more.

Going forward, will you continue to mix it up like you have always done or will we see you concentrating on some aspect of your career a little more than the rest?

Well, I would like to be a part of Roadies for as long as they keep me… and also be a part of the movies. And I am building a mommy community called Freedom to Feed. I would like to build a larger initiative, which started just for moms and breastfeeding. It is my effort to build a big community when it comes to parenting. And I am focusing on building that right now in the middle of the lockdown.

We have seen some fun pictures and videos of you with your daughter on social media. What is the best thing about watching her grow up and what are the things that you love to do together?

This is exactly what I love, just watching her grow up, just waiting for her to say words, and one morning she’ll wake up and she’ll start blabbering anything. Right now, she’s in a phase where she’s talking and only she knows what she’s saying! But I listen to her very, very carefully because she loves to talk. And I keep bobbing my head like I understand every word of it.