Neha impressed by Pakistani fashion
By Shoaib Ahmed
LAHORE: Neha Dhupia, an Indian actress and model and former Miss India, thinks the fashion industry in Pakistan is “excellent”, but the film industry could do with greater professionalism and variety.
Ms Dhupia is in Pakistan as a goodwill ambassador to promote relations between Islamabad and New Delhi. In an interview to Daily Times at the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club on Thursday afternoon, she said she was “highly impressed” by the Pakistani fashion scene.
“There are a lot of beautiful women in the Pakistani fashion scene who are not only thorough professionals but also setting contemporary fashion trends,” she said. She singled out model Vaneeza for praise. “Her beauty and mannerisms have impressed me a lot,” she said. However, she thought Pakistani cinema could do with greater professionalism and a wider approach for a greater variety of film.
Ms Dhupia became a model after she graduated with a degree in history. She was preparing for the Indian civil service exams when she received a phone call from a fashion photographer. She agreed to do a shoot and her journey into the Indian glamour world began. It was a smart career move. She was crowned Femina Miss India for 2002, and has recently started making movies.
Unlike many Bollywood actresses, she does not belong to a showbiz family. Her father Pardip Singh Dhupia is a commander in the Indian Navy and her mother Manpinder a housewife. But she had the backing of her parents for her career. “My mother encouraged me to enter the Femina Miss India pageant. I am a very focussed person myself and worked very hard to be a success,” she said.
She said winning the pageant had opened up several opportunities for her. “It was the start of an exciting journey.” She also had a great experience during the contest. “I met the best people and did a lot of travelling.”
So how did she prepare for the pageant? “I did a lot of work on my fitness and catwalk skills. I also learnt to appreciate art more. It helped me express myself better and channel my energies into my work,” she said.
She also spoke about her nascent cinema career. She stars in an Indo-Japanese film, Return of the Ninja, which she felt was a great achievement. She said she planned to continue acting and also direct a movie someday.
About her role as a goodwill ambassador, Ms Dhupia, a Virgo, said there was no reason Pakistan and India could not be friends, because their cultures were very similar. She said there should be an exchange of artists between the two countries. She said Pakistanis were very hospitable and had made her feel very welcome. She thanked the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club for its hospitality and for arranging an event in February where Indian artists will perform in Lahore.
Pakistan a ‘home away from home’
LAHORE: Neha Dhupia, an Indian actress and model, in Pakistan as a goodwill ambassador, said on Thursday her countrymen thought of Pakistan as a “home away from home” and would welcome Pakistani visitors.
“Pakistan is like a home away from home and our arms and doors are open for Pakistanis. Please come and visit India,” Ms Dhupia, a former Miss India, said at a press conference at the Royal Palm Golf and Country Club (RPGCC). She said Indians and Pakistanis wanted peace and better relations between their governments. About her career, she said she was enjoying both modelling and acting. Her first film, released earlier this year, was Qayamat, and her next will be Juli. She is also working with director David Dhawan on another film. Asked if she would ever act in a Pakistani movie, Ms Dhupia said she could not say.
Ms Duhpia said thanked the country club for its hospitality and for arranging cultural events involving artists and celebrities from both India and Pakistan. She added that it had an excellent golf course. Pervaiz Qureshi, a director of the RPGCC, said the club believed in promoting peace and goodwill between nations as part of its overall corporate philosophy. The club is organising entertainment shows, golf tournaments and other cultural events that it hopes will help strengthen the bond between India and Pakistan.
He said Ms Dhupia had come to the Royal Palm in her role as goodwill ambassador to Pakistan and promoted friendship between the two countries. Mr Qureshi said the RPGCC would hold a star-studded event on February 7, where top Indian celebrities would attend and perform at, followed by the first Concord Challenge Cup, an international golf tournament on February 8.
He said the club also planned family activities on that day that would give its members the opportunity to meet the Indian celebrities. The net proceeds from these events would go to the development of the Palmers International Sports Academy (PISA) at the Royal Palm, which is currently being set up. The PISA would train and award scholarships to talented young athletes, he added. He said the Royal Palm and an event management company based in New Delhi had recently signed an agreement under which they would organise shows and golf tournaments initially in Lahore and then in New Delhi and other parts of India and Pakistan. “We hope to strengthen the ties between the two countries as a support to the government of Pakistan’s efforts in bringing the two nations closer in peace and harmony,” he said.
The Royal Palm recently sponsored two premier sporting events, the World Cup Polo Playoffs and World Open Squash Championship in Lahore. “The city of Lahore hosted these events with great fervour and Royal Palm was proud to be co-sponsors,” he said. Disc jockey Rami Sharma and Manve, an event manager, who came with Ms Dhupia, were also at the press ocnference. —Staff Report