Neetu Chandra is the Jill of all trades
Actress Neetu Chandra has her hands full juggling films, theatre and martial arts
Starting with her launch in Yavarum Nalam in 2009, to winning recognition for Aadhi Baghavan in 2013, Neetu Chandra has made her presence felt in Tamil cinema. Having walked out of Adhik Ravichandran’s Anbanavan Asaradhavan Adangadhavan (AAA) that is slated for release today, the 33-year-old actor shares the importance of resolve. “AAA felt like a script that didn’t demand me. They have a great team in place, but AAA just wasn’t right for me,” she shares. With great plans ahead of her, Neetu Chandra gets talking about cinema, production and the art of it all.
You’ve enjoyed success with your own production house Champaran Talkies. How has the journey been so far?
As an actor you have to wait for the right script, but you also have to wait for someone else to approve of you. As a producer-actor, you have the freedom to carry out your own vision; it’s a much stronger position to be in. It also opens your eyes to the nuances of filmmaking, and it’s not an easy job. When you do both, you grow both as a person and a creative professional.
Do you have plans to produce Tamil films too?
I am definitely looking into venturing into Tamil as well. People in the Tamil film industry have a lot of heart, and that comes through on the screen. The opportunity and position that I have enjoyed here have given me the belief that I can take up production.
You’ve also established yourself as a theatre artist. How does that impact you as an actor?
I just finished my 72nd performance of Umrao Jaan, where I play a girl from age 17 to 85. I’m also producing my next play in English. An artist always needs to hone their skill, and theatre has helped me shape up my abilities. You learn to live your character out and out – there are no cuts or breaks. It inculcates a certain discipline in you.
We hear you’re working on a collaboration with Imtiaz Ali. Tell us what you have in the works.
Imtiaz is the creative director of my upcoming martial arts film Ladaku, which will be directed by my brother Nitin Chandra. Imtiaz is a dear friend of ours, and has always been supportive of our work. He is an established director, and I can’t thank him enough for his guidance during this project.
You have two Dan black belts in Taekwondo, and have been named India’s Taekwondo ambassador. Tell us about your involvement in martial arts and your fitness regimen.
Taekwondo is where my root is – Ladaku is also Taekwondo-based. Fitness is life to me; I just don’t see myself living a life where I’m not keeping fit. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I do yoga, and I go to the gym on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I also run trice a week. I believe in eating right, and pushing myself to workout. The driving force to keep moving ahead in life comes from fitness.
Tell us about some of your future projects.
I have Kusar Prasad Ka Bhoot with Paresh Rawal and Shooter with Randeep Hooda coming up soon. I’m flying out to LA and will be shooting there for a month for an English film. And I’m also working on a web series right now. There’s a lot on my plate, and I can’t complain!