National award winning actress-entrepreneur Neetu N Chandra made her country proud by attending the Korean Ambassador’s Korus Taekwondo Championship in Washington (USA) as the Chief Guest held in August this year.
Neetu is the only Bollywood actress to boast of 4 Dan black belts in Taekwondo and even represented India in the 1997 World Taekwondo Championships in Hong Kong.
It was Neetu’s mother who encouraged her to pursue the sport, despite her lack of interest. Today, she has a fourth dan black belt in taekwondo. However, till date, she wonders why her mother enrolled her in martial art classes in school. “Living in Bihar, she was married at 16. So maybe through me she wanted to live her dream,” says Neetu.
From interschool championships, Neetu made her way to national and international competitions. In 1997, she represented India at the World Taekwondo Championship in Hong Kong. “It was overwhelming and a matter of great pride.”
Neetu believes that practising Taekwondo has helped her stay motivated and focused in her other endeavours, including modelling and acting. “It has made me comfortable and secure with my body, unlike several other actors,” she informs adding that she is also adept at the classical dance form, kathak.
The versatile actor suspects that the misconception of women being incapable of mastering the martial arts has deterred them from getting meaty action roles.
Although with a spate of women-centric films like Akira and Mary Kom, Neetu is optimistic.
“When Sonakshi Sinha and Priyanka Chopra do Akira and Mary Kom it opens doors for all of us,” says the actor, who recently turned producer with the Maithili film Mithila Makhaan (2016).
After saying ‘no’ to several projects, Chandra is excited to finally do an action film. “It’s called Ladaaku, and it’s a complete martial arts film with a raw look. Two Korean martial arts experts have been invited to train Chandra for the film. Interestingly, my head trainer for the film, Rani Bala was my key opponent at national-level championships for seven years. She won the gold four times, and I won the gold three times. So she is my best enemy but also a friend,” informs Neetu.