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Sunday, April 11, 2021

First of Many: Neelu Vaghela revisits Bidaai

This week's First of Many features Neelu Vaghela. In the 71st edition of our exclusive series, the actor talks about her first acting project, 1974 film Bidaai.

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi |
March 3, 2021 8:17:17 am
neelu vaghela actress first film bidaaiNeelu Vaghela is currently seen in TV show Aye Mere Humsafar on Dangal TV.

Actor Neelu Vaghela has over the years, become one of the most sought after television mothers. From playing memorable matriarchs in TV shows like Tu Sooraj, Main Saanjh Piyaji and Main Maike Chali Jaungi Tum Dekhte Rahiyo to a cameo in Shaadi Mubarak, Vaghela has found a strong footing on the small screen industry in the past decade.

Her Bhabho in Diya Aur Baati Hum made her a household name, while her participation in Nach Baliye 3 showcased her dancing prowess too. Currently, Vaghela plays Pratibha Devi in Aye Mere Humsafar. Vaghela has also done several films, and over the years garnered a name in the Rajasthani cinema. Recalling how did it all started for her, here’s what Vaghela shared:

What was your first acting project? How did the project come to you?

My first film was Bidaai (1974) where I played the younger sister of Jeetendra. I basically portrayed the childhood of Leena Chandavarkar. It so happened that I went to watch its shooting. There, they were looking to cast some kid. I was trying to sneak in here and there on the sets. Director LV Prasad caught me and asked why I was playing around so much. He asked if I’ll be able to act if he puts me in front of the camera. Since I was just 5, I did not understand what that meant. I thought if I do it, I’ll get some gift in the end. So, I instantly agreed. That’s how I got to first face the camera.

bidaai 1974 film stills neelu vaghela Neelu Vaghela as a child artiste, in 1974 film Bidaai.

What do you remember of your first day on set?

I did a song that had me appearing in flashes. It’s a bhajan that comes in the title credits. I had household scenes like praying, bathing and eating with Durga Khote. I was a dusky little girl with two plaits.

Were you nervous? How many retakes did you take?

I was feeling scared and sweating. But I was so determined to do something, that I fought to surpass every obstacle. And, if a child gets visible on camera, you tend up getting more offers. Eventually, I got other films, including Gol Maal.

How was the rapport with your co-stars when you got to meet or work with them again later?

I met Jeetendra in 2018 in Rajasthan during an award show. I felt so blessed that my first film was with him. I received the award that night, from him. It felt great.

If given a chance to go back to your debut role, what would you like to change or do better?

I never question what I receive or how things happen in my life. I believe whatever happens, happens for good. I’m satisfied and happy, and I cherish the opportunity. So, instead of thinking about making my first film better, I’d rather put in my energies towards bettering my upcoming projects.

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One film or role that inspired you to become an actor?

I loved Mother India. Nargis did a brilliant job there, and I always wished for a similar role. Luckily, I got to do Diya Aur Baati Hum, and ended up becoming the mother of the entire world (laughs).

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