Neha Dhupia: Working woman as much a supermom as a homemaker
In her first interview after motherhood, Neha Dhupia on returning to the set within a week of delivery and Bollywood's attitude shift towards to-be-mums
"Eat, sh**, sleep. Repeat. That's her routine," laughs Neha Dhupia, as she talks of her three-week-old daughter, Mehr. The new mommy explains that it was her child's uncomplicated routine that helped her return to the set eight days after delivery. While it was feasible for Dhupia to honour her brand endorsement commitments, social media users were quick to troll her for 'not dedicating enough time to the baby'.
Insisting that she didn't feel the need for a maternity break, she reasons, "People need to know there's no bad mom, and no bad way of bringing up your child. The one who goes to work is as much a supermom as the one who stays at home and nurses her little one. People's opinions are irrelevant. I remember doing my first shoot at home. I ensured the crew was quiet, and I kept an eye on the watch to make sure I was done with the shoot before she wakes up."
Even before her delivery, Dhupia was hard at work, juggling her podcast, No Filter Neha, with her film commitments. She is glad to be part of the new brand of Bollywood women who have brought about a shift in how pregnant women are perceived. "The directors who hire us, the brands we work with — they have all undergone a shift in approach. My happiness is derived from work, so I was out and about until Diwali. People used to ask me when I will take rest, but I didn't feel the need. People who need to rest, must. I looked up to Kareena [Kapoor Khan] as an inspiration with regard to how she conducted herself during pregnancy. I hope I too have inspired women in deciding what they want."
That her maternal instinct has kicked in is evident as Dhupia says that little Mehr is "my motive to rush back home after every shoot. Recently, I had a shoot in South Bombay and I started crying before heading out, wondering when I will see Mehr next. Right now, I am a big ball of mush. Kids can be your strength and weakness, and new mothers are always oscillating between these emotions."
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