When Badhaai Ho released in 2018, Neena Gupta saw newfound stardom. To an entire generation of cine goers, unfamiliar with her work, she was quite a revelation. Since then, there has also been renewed interest in her life – after all, she had an affair with Sir Vivian Richards, the legendary West Indian cricketer, and then chose to have a child– daughter Masaba back in the 1980s.
But Neena has always been open about it. She has spoken at length about how she always believed that Masaba suffered because she was a child born to unmarried parents. She has mentioned how her journey as a single mother was tough and how she had no money, no friends and no relatives.
Some time in March last year, Neena had shared a video on Instagram in which she had advised her female fans to never fall for married men. She explained a hypothetical scenario about a woman falling in love with a married man and how it was likely to develop. At the end of it, serving her own example, she mentioned how she had suffered and would want others to learn from her experience.
She mentioned how if you were to meet a man who was married but he would tell you how he doesn’t get long with his wife and that’s it been so for a long time. You would fall for his ways. The moment you bring up the subject of why he not separating from his wife, he would say ‘no, no there are kids, I don’t feel like, let’s see what happens, maybe some day’. So you start meeting secretly and go on holidays, but he finds it tough as he has to lie about his plans.
Then you say that you want to do a night stay as well and then you go to a hotel and spend the night. Then you want to spend more nights together and ultimately you want to marry him. You push him to divorce his wife but he says ‘wait for some time, I am working on it, it’s not so easy, there is property, there are bank accounts etc etc’. Now you are getting panicky, frustrated and you don’t know what to do. You eventually think about leaving him as you don’t want to get into so many complications. He says FO (f*** off) to you. Then what do you do?”
She then ended the video with a message: “Do not get involved in all this, do not fall in love with a married man. I have done this before, I have suffered. That’s why I am telling my friends, you all, try not to do it.”
In an interview with Mumbai Mirror, Neena had mentioned how Masaba suffered because of her decision. “I would not have a child outside marriage. Every child needs both parents. I was always honest with Masaba, so it did not affect our relationship, but I know she suffered.”
Neena had once described her journey as a single mother as “very tough”. She had told IANS in 2018: “My journey was very tough. I had no money. Money is the most important thing, I have realised in this world. I didn’t have a husband and relatives. So it was really tough, but the joy Masaba gave me… The joy of motherhood… She was a very good child she did not trouble me much.”
Neena had also mentioned how deciding to have Masaba was not the difficult part, it was what happened after that is what she found difficult. In an interview to Pinkvilla, she had mentioned how many people told her they would marry her to give Masaba a name. “The difficult part is not making a choice of having Masaba. The difficult part is to accept what you have chosen and stand by it. A lot of people told me at that time – we will marry you so that your child gets a name. I said ‘what the f***. What name? I can earn and look after my daughter’.”