As Masaba Masaba gears up for a premiere on Netflix this week, both the excitement and audience’s expectations are running high. The show will present a semi-fictionalised account of the career and life of fashion designer Masaba Gupta. The best part about the show is that the characters of Masaba and her mother will be played by Masaba Gupta and her mother Neena Gupta themselves.

SheThePeople sits down for a chat with the terrific mother-daughter duo — Neena Gupta and Masaba Gupta — about single parenting, marriage and separation as seen in the Indian society, alongside them sharing tidbits from their experiences on the set of the Netflix show, how they as artists deal with criticisms and appreciations, and their equation with each other in real life.

Marriage, Separation And Heartbreaks

Talking about how in India, a woman’s worth is still validated through her marriage, Masaba Gupta says, “I always used to think that times are changing and that we are becoming more modern and that societies are becoming more  open-minded, but I feel like things are going a bit in reverse.” She gives examples of several of her educated acquittances who stay in marriages which are toxic and abusive, just because they want to “receive this badge from the society”. Masaba calls it a cultural thing, adding, “We are so deeply rooted in the notion of marriage in this country that we feel it is everything.” When asked about her own idea of marriage, she says, “The fundamental rule is that you have to be happy. You ought to have a partnership where you coexist as equals. The relationship, be it marriage, co-parenting or live-in, should be based on mutual respect.”

Also Read: A Woman Shouldn’t Carry On With A Marriage In Which She Is The Only One Adjusting

When asked about how we can normalise the idea of divorce in the society, Neena Gupta says that it will take us centuries to go in that direction. “We are talking about only a 0.001 percent of the population when we talk about people moving on when things don’t work out. Women are earning, and now that they are getting financially independent, they are not taking sh*t from anyone anymore. Hence marriages are breaking. But again, we are talking of a very few women who can make this decision.”

Masaba feels that one needs to accept and start taking charge of the fact that you must feel what you’re meant to feel at any given point in your life. “So, if you’ve experienced heartbreaks, you must feel it all the way. I think we as human beings tend to block the natural flow of a feeling.”

She Never Hid Anything From Me: Masaba Gupta

When asked about Neena Gupta’s parenting style as a single mother, Masaba says, “She never hid anything from me. I wasn’t ever in a different picture from what the truth is. There was also never any bitterness about the fact that ‘oh look, I’m a single mother taking care of you’, or that ‘I work 16 hours a day and then come back home to listen to you rant about your homework’. It’s easy for people going through hardships to become bitter about it. And it is very easy for a child to absorb that bitterness.”

She also reveals how her mother tried to give her a normal childhood despite being separated from her father, “Most importantly, my father was never ever shown to me in a bad light. No matter what happened between them, I was always given the picture that I must be connected with him. That I must cherish the bond we have and that he’s family.”

Also Read: Lockdown Parenting: I Am Able To Spend More Time With My Daughter

On Appreciation, Criticism and Shooting The Netflix Show

When asked on the role that appreciation plays in her life, Masaba says, “I would be lying if I say it isn’t important for me. Everybody likes to be appreciated. When people like my collections, I feel great. When it’s rejected, I do feel bad and eventually move on. The same happened to the show too. I didn’t want to get labelled as a lazy or a bad actor.” She also adds that in the two months of shooting the show she has learnt that one needs to be detached from the outcomes and become attached to the work instead, “the more attached you are to the process of acting and the more detached you are from the outcome, the better. It’s such a public profession. You are in the mercy of people.”

Neena Gupta also surmised that “appreciation is important”. Of her way of dealing with criticism, she says, “I might be criticised for several reasons. But I make sure nobody can raise a finger at my acting. Whether a film works or not is not in my hands, it depends on a lot of things. But my work should be good. I should work hard for what is in my hands and aim to get appreciated for it.”

Talking about shooting Masaba Masaba, Neena Gupta recalls how “There were all women around us. Almost all the crew was women. We had a ball shooting. We laughed, we ate, and the shoot felt very normal.” Masaba Gupta agrees and reveals that there was no negativity on the set. “We were just shooting two people who were playing out their lives on screen. There was so much happiness in shooting something so light, and the best part of it was that the concept of the show came from a genuine place,” says she.

Also Read: Women Directors Who Made Waves In 2019

Advice For Young Ambitious Girls Trying To Build Their Lives

Was there any advice that they wanted to share with young ambitious girls? Neena Gupta stresses on two things, “Firstly, Take care of your health. Exercise regularly. And secondly, become financially independent as soon as you can. Work hard. Earn your own money.” Masaba, on the other hand, advises to “not do any work just because it makes for interesting dinner table conversation, or it makes for applause within your friend circle, or because you can share in your WhatsApp group and feel excited. You don’t work for the people around you. You work for yourself. You work for the larger audience in the larger world.” She then adds, “You should, of course, do something that puts food on your table, but that something should also make you happy. Make sure you really enjoy what you’re doing. And make sure to love it all the way, even on your bad days.”

Dyuti Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. 

Get the best of SheThePeople delivered to your inbox - subscribe to Our Power Breakfast Newsletter. Follow us on Twitter , Instagram , Facebook and on YouTube, and stay in the know of women who are standing up, speaking out, and leading change.