Neena and Vivian

While we were still shooting for Batwara, I attended a dinner party hosted by the Maharani of Jaipur with a few other members of the cast. A few players from the West Indies Cricket Team were also on the guest list, including their Captain at that time, Vivian Richards. I have always been crazy about Cricket. The day before the party, I had watched the match between India and West Indies, and I was in awe. Our Team had beaten West Indies by a run or two, and while everyone else was cheering, I had eyes only for Vivian Richards who, I noticed, had taken the loss graciously. I also distinctly remember feeling his pain of missing the win by a whisker because I saw tears in his eyes. When I met him at the party that evening, I shook his hand and mentioned how moved I was by his passion. We hit it off instantly and decided to meet a few times before he left. We lost touch once he wrapped up his tour in India and returned home to Antigua. I missed him and thought about him often. We hadn’t exchanged numbers, so we didn’t know how to contact each other. Also, with my shooting schedule and his matches, we were rarely in one place long enough to arrange a meeting.


Life is strange sometimes. I was once sitting at the Delhi Airport, waiting for a flight, having forgotten all about Vivian, when suddenly I saw a flash of maroon. There came Vivian. That’s how we came face-to-face once again, started a full blown affair and the rest, as they say, is history. I’m going to pause here to request you to please understand why I am keeping the details to a bare minimum. I honestly don’t want to rehash the entire situation and make myself, and especially my Daughter, vulnerable to public speculation once again.

So yes, Vivian and I had an affair and I got pregnant. I was so excited to be a Mother. I felt like this was really meant to be. Vivian sounded happy and said I should go ahead. This assured me that I was doing the right thing. It came as a relief when Vivian supported my decision.

Neena Gupta, Sach Kahun Toh: An Autobiography, (Penguin Random House, 2021).


The Last Word, Note: It is incorrect, West Indies ‘missed the win by a whisker’. They actually won by a whisker. But, certain disagreements led the match to not being counted in The Charminar Challenge Cup, 1987-88.