Neha Dhupia tells Sneha Menon Desai about Season 5 of her podcast No Filter Neha, working around her toddler’s schedules to produce the show from home and the ‘formula’ behind ensuring the paparazzi rarely get a picture of her baby.

Sneha Menon Desai: When I interviewed you for Season 1 of No Filter Neha five years ago, you said: I may not have general awareness, but I have wit. After 20 years in the business, would you attribute this wit to keeping you relevant?

Neha Dhupia: Firstly, thank you, others have said stuff like, ‘Aapko kaam nahi mila, isiliye aapne apnaa audio show banaa liya.’ Try and make an audio show sitting at home, it’s a lot of work. I feel like I’ve applied that wit by making jokes about myself. I don’t treat failure with seriousness, I don’t even treat success with seriousness. I’ve seen very little of the latter, but that’s okay. I’m still in the business and have been for 20 years now. People would say, ‘This is it, you’re going to last 3-4 years and then, if you don’t make the right choices…’ I didn’t make the right choices, but I’m still here, right?

SMD: Suchitra Krishnamoorthy took to Twitter to talk about how you possibly have a show because of your “chamchagiri with Karan Johar”. What has the toxicity on social media over the last few months taught you about the fraternity?

ND: The reason why trolls are faceless is because they’re aware that they are doing something wrong. You can’t put up your own face and sit on your PC in the middle of your room and send out 10 negative tweets. You can’t trouble or tease women or their families and then, two minutes later, go out and share a meal with the woman in your house. I’ve spoken about them so much that they’re going to be making memes about me. Bring it on, but make it creative.

When people you know from the business they take digs at you, you’re like: Why? I only have the utmost amount respect for my peers or my seniors. Suchitra has been in the business so much longer than I have and to take digs, not at me, but at my friendship isn’t cool. People have no idea what my friendship with Karan is, so why come out and take digs at it? Each person does what it takes to get out there and survive in the business. I don’t have to justify my friendship with anyone and nobody should question it either

SMD: What has the experience of doing a work from home edition been like?

ND: Work from home is so uncool because your’re not working from home, you’re bringing your office into your house where your child and husband are. While I’m recording, my help will show me the pressure cooker and say,  ‘Ab main seeti maar loon?’ or like my husband will show me the car key like he wants to leave, or he’ll want to exercise and so he’ll get his bands and his dumbbells out in the same space. My daughter is obsessed with that mic, which is very cute. It’s got that little sock which you put on top, which fascinates her.

SMD: Five years ago, you told me that the one place you draw a line is when it comes to your personal life. True to your word, now that you have a baby, we only see veiled pictures of her on your Instagram account. I’m a sucker for posting my kid’s photos on Instagram, so I know the amount of restraint this takes.

ND: They’re the cutest pictures and videos on your phone and I’m like, ‘How can I not put this out?’ Some days I’m so tempted, I’m like, ‘Might as well.’ Now she’s become like a bit of a poser, I think she gets that from her dad. She’s borderline obsessed with the mirror – she’ll get ready and then suddenly she’ll go and plant a kiss on herself, which is extremely dangerous at 22 months.

SMD: How have you managed to ensure that your kid doesn’t get papped?

ND: There’s a formula to it. Sometimes she does get papped, but they’ve been very nice to us. We told them we weren’t comfortable with her being photographed and later, I realized that they didn’t put out those photos much. Sometimes they get to know (your location) because of the car your’re in. I’ve figured out the patterns and so we’ve been able to work around it.

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