Dress designer Masaba Gupta has crossed over to acting with Masaba Masaba and surprisingly garnered positive reviews for the same. The recently released TV show is based loosely on the lives of Masaba and her mother and veteran actor Neena Gupta. It explores the mother-daughter duo’s relationship, the battles they fight on the professional front and glimpses of their love lives. Masaba is being showered with encomiums for her acting debut, and rightly so. Talking to The Brown Identity in an exclusive interview, the newest star on the OTT platform weighed in on making waves in fashion, her first-ever acting stint and turbulent childhood.
Q. Your series Masaba Masaba has been received very positively. What are the best compliments you have received for it?
Masaba: The best was from Vidya Balan calling me and congratulating me. I was thrilled to see how she binge watched it. So that topped it! And ofcourse, the fact that I was able to do as good a job as my mother, which is a huge compliment in itself. Someone also called me a ‘culture maker’ and that’s a big big deal for a generation thriving on content.
Q. How did the series crystallize? Walk me through its genesis?
Masaba: Ashvini Yardi, the producer of the series, was the one who came up with the idea. It was way ahead of its time. But my gut feeling said it would be the right thing to do at the time. The only thing I was particular about was not making it look like a cheap reality show. So, we worked on the script, built the characters inspired by the many people we all know and the rest is history!
Q. It is your story and that’s your mom reprising her real-life role on the big screen. But then there are obvious fictional liberties. How did you decide what to keep from your own life and where to stop and let the embellishments take over?
Masaba: We knew from day one what this show would get from us and what it wouldn’t. Mom and I never even spoke about drawing a line. I think when so much has been written about you in the press, that line is always present and never to be crossed. The best part, however, was fictionalizing instances borrowed from real life too. We made sure we were clear not to hurt anyone’s feelings or a moment in their life which may be personal and also that years later we shouldn’t watch this and cringe.
Q. The real surprise is that you can act! How tough was it facing the camera with Neenaji? Do you intend to take up more acting assignments? Maybe something like The Devil Wears Prada?
Masaba: Thank you! I love the camera… always have. I didn’t really have the confidence to face it because of my insecurities. Also, I never said it out loud that I want to act. Somehow, I thought people would laugh at me.
Q. Has acting been liberating?
Masaba: I realized the camera is my friend and I have a huge respect for it. I will only take up work that excites me because fashion is and always will be my first love and priority. But I want to play characters. I find it to be an exciting challenge to be able to slip into someone else’s skin.
Q. You have had an extremely unconventional childhood. Did you ever feel like the odd one out?
Masaba: My childhood was honest, actually. It was just that the institution of marriage is not where I come from. But how conventional is a kid whose parents have a turbulent marriage and that changes the very fabric of his being? So, I’m grateful I had this unconventional upbringing but it was normal and full of honesty.
Q. Was it tough for you to establish your identity in Bollywood and otherwise?
Masaba: No, it wasn’t. It would be hard if I had decided to pursue an acting earlier. I got lucky with fashion because I was behind the scenes. But in every other aspect people have only welcomed and encouraged me.
Q. What’s next for you?
Masaba: Next up is a new clothes collection and lots of collaborations! Back to the same old life.