Actor Neena Gupta's filmography includes some of the most diverse, well-performed, and memorable Bollywood and Hindi TV characters.
And with her latest role of a village pradhan in Amazon Prime Video's Panchayat, she has proved, yet again, why she is one of the finest actors we've seen.
Panchayat, which stars Jitendra Kumar as the protagonist, village secretary Abhishek Tripathi, is a delightful drama that talks about the urban-rural divide, but in a light-hearted, humorous manner.
Neena Gupta plays the role of the village pradhan in the series. Though officially she holds the designation, her husband, the pradhan-pati (played to perfection by Raghubir Yadav) is the one who actually oversees the official business.
The series largely focuses on Abhishek's experiences in the village, and Neena Gupta makes important but fleeting appearances in the show. And yet, she leaves a striking impression, no matter the screen time.
In her character, she represents a mixture of progressive ideas and conservative beliefs. On one hand, she is unperturbed by the concept of dowry. And on the other, she chides her husband for not supporting population control.
Similarly, despite holding the position, she finds no problems in letting her husband perform the official duties even when she runs the home with an iron fist.
Neena Gupta convincingly displays these contrasting qualities, constantly reminding you of the women you've seen in your life - women who are not shy of raising their point, and yet, passively accept society's illogical rules because they've become conditioned to them.
Neena Gupta's performances always have a note of honesty. This is exactly why each performance, no matter how small, manages to strike a chord with the audience.
Simply put, whether we see her as the lead of a feature-length film like Badhaai Ho, or watch her play a supporting character in a series like Panchayat, we are left wishing for more.
All images from IMDb, unless specified otherwise.