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'Sanjay Dutt told my mother to make sure I don't get into acting'

By Patcy N/
Last updated on: September 25, 2014 18:57 IST
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'When I saw Sridevi in Lamhe, I decided I wanted to be an actress.'

Meet 3AM actress Anindita Nayar.

You may not know Anindita Nayar yet but this young actress has worked with Bollywood's big names like Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Ranbir Kapoor and Karisma Kapoor.

The Delhi-based actress will be seen in 3 AM, a paranormal thriller, this Friday.

She tells Patcy N more.

Anindita Nayar


Early life

My father is a chemical engineer, working in the United States for the past 30 years. He travels a lot, and I have spent all my school vacations with him. My mother is a home furnishing designer.

As a kid, I enjoyed watching movies more than cartoons.

When I saw Sridevi in Lamhe, I decided I wanted to be an actress.

In fact, I forced my parents to take me for a month-long holiday to Rajasthan. I would dress in lehenga-choli and dance to Sridevi’s number from Lamhe.

In school and college, I was involved in dramatics. When I came to Mumbai, I joined Anupam Kher’s acting school, Actor Prepares. I also did a workshop with Neeraj Kabi, who played the monk in Ship of Theseus.

My parents were very supportive. I never had to worry about finance. I never had to struggle. My mum shifted with me to Mumbai; she wants me to succeed more than me.

After I finished my acting course, I joined an agency and started modelling. I hoped it would get me acting offers. I wanted to build a brand around myself.

Anindita Nayar


Modelling and ads

I was lucky my first commercial was with Abhishek Bachchan for Idea.

I was very nervous as I was facing the camera for the first time and working with Abhishek. But, somehow, I felt confident and my first take was perfect.

Abhishek was the best co-actor one could get for a first job. He was extremely easy to work with. He jokes around a lot. At 4 am, he was pulling pranks on people!

Based on the Idea commercial, I got my first film, Amit Sahni Ki List, after a year. It is not a box office hit, but numbers was never the target. People loved it.

Prahlad Khakkar told me I did a good job and looked confident in my first film. I played a strong, independent woman, extremely ambitious and career driven.

I did an advertisement for Garnier hair colour with Karisma Kapoor. The way she handles herself is fabulous. 

I also worked with Ranbir Kapoor on a Panasonic ad. Ranbir is a thorough professional. He was always punctual and very charming.

It was amazing to see him work. He listens to his director carefully. He was absolutely effortless. He treated me very well. He is very friendly on the sets.

Anindita Nayar


About Hasmukh Pighal Gaya

My next film was Hasmukh Pighal Gaya. I gave a screen test for the film to the casting director Aadore Mukherjee and was shortlisted. Manyata and Sanjay Dutt (the producers) took a call on me after that.

My mother was Sanjay Dutt’s junior in Lawrence School, Kasauli, and I had met Sanjay Dutt when we went for my mother’s school reunion when I was 15.

I had told him that I wanted to act, but he had said I shouldn’t and told my mother to make sure I don’t get into acting.

Sanjay Dutt is from the old school where they think girls shouldn’t act. He is protective around people he knows.

When I came to Mumbai looking for an acting job, I did not tell him I was in Mumbai.

It’s ironic that 10 years later, I landed up in his production house!

He obviously didn’t recognise me. On the first day on the sets, I asked him if he remembered me. He didn’t, so I told him my mom’s name, and he was in shock!

Sanjay Dutt is a rockstar. The amount of things he has been through, nothing can put him down.

He goes all out for people he cares about. He is one of the nicest human beings I know.

He guided me a lot, especially about being a woman in the industry and how I should carry myself.

He is not here now so his wife is looking out for me. She helps me out and I keep her in the loop of things that I am doing.

I worked with Jackie Shroff and Amitabh Bachchan in Hasmukh Pighal Gaya.

We first shot the song sequence -- a tribute song for Raj Kapoor called Kisi Ki Mushkaraton Ho Nisar from his film Anari.

Amitabh Bachchan entered the sets and stood exactly on his mark. I had goose bumps when I saw him. The minute he entered the set, the atmosphere changed.

He is enthusiastic and meticulous about his work and you realise why he is the legend he is.

He rehearsed everything. He worked harder than all of us and gave his 200 per cent.

He would stand in the heat in a three-piece suit, under extremely hot lights, without a break. He kept rehearsing and giving takes; he was an inspiration to all of us.            

Jackie Shroff is a biddu (friend). He gels with everyone, he talks in tapori language.

He told me, “Biddu, is industry main bheje ko sambhal ke rakhne ka” (in this industry, you must keep your head).

Hasmukh Pighal Gaya is a quirky satire, and will release next year. It is directed by Sejal Shah, a documentary filmmaker.

Anindita Nayar and Ranvijay Singh in 3 AM

Image: Anindita Nayar and Ranvijay Singh in 3 AM

About 3 AM

3 AM has been directed by Vishal Mahadkar.

He had considered me for his movie Blood Money, but somehow it didn’t work out. But he told me then that he would like to work with me on some other project.

When he finished writing the script of 3 AM, he offered me the role of Sarah, a journalist.

3 AM is a paranormal thriller. It is also a love story between me and Ranvijay, who plays a paranormal journalist and host of reality shows.

The film is about the quest for love, the afterlife and search for it. It has lots of VFX and lots of action sequences. It was a hard film to shoot.

Vishal knows exactly what he wants. He is the writer of the film too. We shot the film in 29 days.

Ranvijay has so much energy, it is infectious. He is extremely adventurous.

I was the only girl on the sets so Ranvijay and Vishal would play pranks on me all the time. They would make me do scenes that were not in the script. But I was also pampered.

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Patcy N/ in Mumbai