Esha Gupta is super chilled out. Still, you don’t want to get into an argument with her. Though she may not have pursued her legal ambitions, rest assured she’s still got the chops. “I was always good at arguing, even about things I didn’t know too much about,” she laughs. “My dad would often say, ‘Why don’t you try law?’”
The former Miss India did a short stint as a law student, on a scholarship at Newcastle University after winning her title, before the lure of Bollywood brought her back home. Since then, she’s had our attention in films like Prakash Jha’s Chakravyuh and more recently Rustom and Baadshaho.
A quintessential Bollywood outsider, Gupta grew up in “a very modest family, my dad was a Wing Commander in the Air Force,” and remembers the thrill of earning ₹1,000 for her first fashion show. More than a decade later, she has a hush-hush Indo-international project she’s currently working on, plans to “jump out a plane” (just sky-diving, relax) and a penchant for partying in Dubai until 6am – confirming that Esha Gupta carpe diems like nobody else. When we caught up with her, she was at her uncensored best.
Tell us about the evolution of Esha Gupta.
This body is something I had to work on! I think puberty did wonders for me because I was one of those girls who was a tomboy, complete with a unibrow. It was always about sports and studies. But I’ve groomed myself over the years. There’ve been a couple of looks, though, that have been horrendous. I hope they never make it to the internet. I have a whole team taking care of me. It takes a village make an actor.
What’s the one thing you can get away with now that you’re famous?
The one thing I can’t get away with – speaking my mind. But, I still (usually) get away with that. What I can get away with: Throwing a tantrum when I’m hungry. Which I do!
What pisses you off?
I hate the fact that we have to still fight for women to be considered equal.
What kind of role would you like to do next?
A full-on action film, where I’m playing the female lead. I know I’ll be good at it. Being an athlete, and having MMA training, I have a strong body. I really want to do a film like Resident Evil.
Had you become a lawyer, who’s the first person you’d have sued?
Tom Hardy, for being so sexy.
What do you wish Indian men knew more about Indian women?
Several things. Firstly, Indian men aren’t chivalrous enough. Then, I think, simple grooming. A mani-pedi is basic hygiene. It doesn’t make you less of a man. I always notice men who have nicely done nails and hair. Men should also know more about women – about how their bodies work. When you say the word “period”, men still get freaked out.
Will we ever find you on Tinder?
Hell, yeah. I actually wanted to try it in London. I was there a few months ago and I nearly got on to it, but my friends didn’t let me. I even have an answer ready if I’m caught. I’ll just say, “That was a fake profile.” But I really want to swipe left and right.
What would make you swipe right?
Anything, as long as his profile doesn’t say, “I just want to find love.” You’re not on Tinder to find love.