Neena Gupta's Marriage: Masaba's Single Mother Finds Love

Neena Gupta’s marriage happened many years after the birth of her daughter, many years after her pregnancy. When Neena Gupta announced her pregnancy back in 1989, it sent ripples down Indian society. After all she was bearing a child outside of wedlock, which was nothing but a result of a brief fling with the West Indian cricket player Sir Vivian Richards. Despite facing the scorn of the society, she went ahead with the pregnancy, and named her daughter Masaba Gupta. The fact she was a single mother always overshadowed her work but she never let her film career fade out, and has seen her fair share of success.

While Neena Gupta had a child from a cricketer from the Caribbean, she went on to tie the knot with an Indian at the age of 54. Let’s take a closer look at Neena Gupta’s marriage.

Neena Gupta – The Actress Of Multiple Platforms

Neena Gupta's Marriage - Neena Gupta

Neena Gupta was born on 4th July 1959 in New Delhi, which is where she had most of her education. After completion of her higher studies she decided to pursue modelling as a career but slowly started drawing towards acting. She made her debut in the 1982 Hindi film Yeh Nazdeekiyan. Thereafter she went on to star in several Indian films, as well as international ones and is one of the few actresses from the country, who have been quite active in British cinema.

In late 1990s, she shifted focus on the small screen and appeared in several TV shows. Thereafter, she even started a theatre company, and today is known for her versatility on all the avenues of acting viz. TV, Theatre and Cinema.

Less Know Facts About Neena Gupta

  • Neena Gupta’s first international project was a role in Richard Attenborough’s Gandhi in 1982
  • She holds a master’s degree in Sanskrit
  • She was a common fixture in Merchant Ivory films- the British-Indian film production company
  • She was the host of Kamzor Kadii Kaun – the Indian version of the popular British television show The Weakest Link

The Brief Flings

Neena Gupta's Marriage - Neena Gupta And Alok Nath

Before her infamous affair with Sir Vivian Richards, Neena Gupta was briefly involved with actor Alok Nath (yes, the one known for those ‘Sanskari’ memes). It is speculated the two first met during the making of a TV series during the early 1980s. The relationship did not last long, and by 1988 Neena Gupta was engaged with Shaarangdev, the son of the popular Indian classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj. They were almost at the brink of tying the knot when at the last moment he called off his and Neena Gupta’s marriage, leaving Neena in a state of shock and deep distress.

Sir Vivian Richards – The Caribbean Man Who Charmed Her

Neena Gupta's Marriage - Neena Gupta And Sir Vivian Richards

Around late 1980s, the West Indian cricket team was on a tour of India for a string of cricket matches in the country. Vivian Richards was the captain of the squad, and was already a prominent name in the world of cricket. In his personal life, Richards (b. 1952) was married and had two children, but was widely-known to have a steak of affairs with women, which he candidly acknowledged. It is also said that he had separated from his wife and was living with a girlfriend. While it is not known, when and how the two met, it is speculated that Neena and Richards met a party in Mumbai, where they both were guests. The relationship was brief and fiery – filled with a burning passion, and within no time the two took the plunge to take it to the next level of intimacy. The next thing we know is that Richards left for West Indies, and in a few months time, Neena Gupta was spotted with baby bump that made tabloids go into a frenzy.

“My friends told me don’t do this, but I was young and had the nasha, so did it. I feel it was very tough for me and I did my best.”
– Neena Gupta about pregnancy and becoming single mother

Needless to say Neena Gupta’s marriage to Vivian Richards was not on the cards. Neena’s parents were vehemently against her decision to go ahead with the pregnancy. Back then the mindset of the society was antiquated towards women, and it was uncommon to see a lady take the resolute step of becoming a single parent out of marriage.

Neena Gupta's Marriage - Masaba Gupta And Sir Vivian Richards

While she faced opposition from her family initially, eventually her father sided by her, and Neena Gupta gave birth to a daughter in 1989, whom she named Masaba Gupta.

“I was worried that people would say things to her and that she would not get admission, but I told her the truth.”
– Neena Gupta on her daughter Masaba

Being Single Mother – The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Neena Gupta's Marriage - Masaba And Neena Gupta

In an interview once, Neena Gupta shared that she never had to explicitly explain everything to her daughter, and that she understood things as she grew up. She added that she has always been in awe of the high levels of maturity her daughter displayed, which eventually led them to have a normal mother-daughter relationship. Being a single mother on the other hand was different. It brought challenges, and being a single ‘working’ woman is all just more difficult.

By the time of Masaba’s birth, Neena had lost her mother to Cancer, and her father soon moved to her house in Mumbai from New Delhi. He became the caretaker for the granddaughter, when Neena would be busy with shootings. It was a difficult phase for her since she was the sole breadwinner of the family, and had to balance her profession and motherhood equally.

“I feel it was very tough for me and I did my best. But I had to do bad movies, as I needed the money to bring her up.”
– Neena Gupta about being a single mother

Despite that Masaba grew-up in a normal household, having a childhood like any other individual of her age group. While her daughter was blossoming to become a strong-willed woman, Neena on the other hand finally felt the pangs of loneliness, and realised that it is time that she finds stability with a life partner. And like that, Neena Gupta’s marriage was in the cards again.

Finally Comes Neena Gupta’s Marriage

Neena Gupta's Marriage - Vivek Mehra And Neena Gupta

In the year 2002, the 49-year old Neena Gupta started seeing Vivek Mehra, a Delhi-based chartered accountant, who had just separated from his wife, and was on his path of getting a divorce. Neena and Vivek had met on a flight and the two developed a solid rapport within the few moments of their journey. Vivek had little qualms of sharing info about his estranged marriage with Neena. The two eventually realised that they are on the same page – one looking for a life partner, while another searching for a means to get out of a bitter marriage. Neena and Vivek soon got close, and Neena is said to have visited New Delhi regularly to meet Vivek, who had managed to garner acceptance for Neena among his family members.

The couple stayed in a relationship for six years, waiting for the divorce decree of Vivek’s first marriage. It finally came out in the year 2008. In July 2008, Neena and Vivek left for the US to attend a wedding of one of Vivek’s relative. While the festivities were on, Vivek surprised Neena by proposing marriage to her, to which she said ‘Yes’. Vivek had planned the wedding beforehand, and in just two days Vivek Mehra and Neena Gupta’s marriage happened, the traditional way. They eventually returned back to New Delhi, where Neena lived for some time before returning back to Mumbai.

Being The Honest Tough Woman

Neena Gupta's Marriage - Neena With Masaba

Neena Gupta has always been someone, who faced ridicule head-first and never let it take a toll of her life, or her relationship with her daughter Masaba. The fact that she bestowed her maiden surname to her daughter (Gupta) over her father’s (Richards) itself spoke volumes about the bold resilience of the lady. In spite of that, Neena stressed that it is always important to get married at the right time, at the right age, since marriage helps in providing the much necessary support especially in one’s twilight years.

“If you want to live in India and in society, you have to marry.’ Do not be this modern woman that I was, saying I don’t believe in marriage. You have to marry.”
– Neena Gupta speaking about marriage

And rightly so, Neena Gupta’s marriage to Vivek Mehra has proved to be necessary emotional support; Neena’s dad died a few months after Neena got married. Neena also added that she never let work come in the way of being a mother and vice-versa. Masaba Gupta went on to become fashion designer, and is regarded as an avant-garde fashion designer in the country. She was never denied access and communication to her biological father by her mother, and would often visit him in West Indies in vacations. In November 2015, she tied the knot with the film producer Madhu Mantena, and is happily settled in her married life.

“I never saw her break down or become weak in any way. She kept working and looking after me. She managed her serials, home, me, and everything else. I don’t know how she did it.”
– Masaba Gupta on her mother Neena Gupta

Neena Gupta’s marriage tale is worthy of admiration, and speaks of the immense fortitude of the woman, who braved every social contempt and disdain she faced on the way. It is also good to see that she is well-settled now, and so is her daughter. Here is wishing them tons of happiness, and joy in life.

Images Source: 1, 3, 5, 6, 7

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