Neha Dhupia, who doesn’t mince her words, opens up on the responsibilities of judging a pageant, being active throughout the lockdown, and dealing with internet trolls
Neha, you have been judging Femina Miss India for many years, tell us about your association with it…
I’m not just a judge; I’m also a mentor. I’ve been a mentor for many years now and it is a huge responsibility because we want to make sure that the best goals come forward, at least for that year. And then you also want to make sure that the most deserving ones actually wear the crown, which is not to say that any of them are not deserving. So, it’s always a battle between who actually deserves it more than the other because they’re representing their states and fighting hard, even in 2020, a year when it seemed like the pageant won’t be held. But here we are! I’m extremely proud to be associated with Femina Miss India for all the right reasons.
Apart from being a judge on Femina Miss India, which projects you’re working on?
I’m currently working on two films and an OTT show, and also continue doing all the other shows that I’m associated with. I have produced a short film too, ‘Step Up’ which was released last week. The film talks about mental health and domestic violence and was something that we shot literally from home in 2020. So yeah, I mean, the show must go on, this way or that. I don’t believe in just sitting at home. For me, 2020 wasn’t like a voluntary break, it was more about taking time off to create more work. And that’s what we did.
There’s a lot of negativity on social media. You were also trolled recently. How do you deal with it?
I think I have the ability to attach and detach. So I deal with it in my own way, but I don’t think it’s right. And to a great extent, it accounts for emotional abuse and that’s not right. I don’t understand how trolls can abuse someone’s wife or daughter and then go share a meal with their own family. I feel like women are victims more than anyone else. I don’t understand what their mindset is. According to me, to a very large extent, it is abuse, and I feel like people are now continuously taking measures against it and we need to be more forceful against trolls. I mean, my coping mechanism is to ignore, but honestly, that’s not always the answer.