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'I didn't make any money through TV'

March 05, 2024 11:13 IST

'I will never look down upon television. But do I want to do it again? I don't think so.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Nikita Dutta

In an industry where talent shines brightly but perseverance shines brighter, Nikita Dutta's journey from television to the silver screen is inspiring.

She stars in the recent release Dange, and wishes to work with Director Sandeep Vanga Reddy again, whose 2019 directorial Kabir Singh shot her to instant fame.

In a candid conversation with Contributor Mohnish Singh, Nikita admits, "I had zero expectations from Kabir Singh.. After that film, I realised that we should never expect anything from any film. If it works, it's a bonus and if it doesn't, just move on."


How was it working with Dange Director Bejoy Nambiar?

He is a very serious film-maker, but if you see his cinema, it is very different.

He is not like your regular film-maker.

It's not just about the scripts that he comes up with it, it's also the way he presents them. It is completely different.

That credibility is one of the reasons why I said yes to this film.

As a person, he is a little unpredictable. He can be extremely fun at times and extremely focused at others, and you know this is not the right time to mess with him.

The film that he has made is not just in Hindi; it's also made in Tamil and he has shot it together.

Besides the lead and supporting cast, there is also a Tamil cast and a big crew.

Imagine dealing with all of that!

He is this one-man army.

Sometimes I used to fear for him that how is he pulling it off.

Amidst this chaos, if you go and ask him the silliest of questions, he will just smile and say, 'No, no, do it like that.'

He is very calm with his actors.

IMAGE: Nikita with Ehaan Bhat in Dange.

Were you sceptical about your role in the film as there are so many actors on the cast?

When he narrated the story to me, he had made things clear that there were a lot of characters.

I am a secure person.

I did not have that kind of a thought about who is getting more screen time.

I was clear that the film's main people are Harshvardhan Rane and Ehaan Bhat. I had that realistic clarity in my head.

Bejoy sir wanted me to play the part in the Tamil version as well but I don't know the language.

I am glad I didn't do it because I wouldn't have been able to do justice to it.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Nikita Dutta/Instagram

You participated in Miss India 2012. Did you always want to participate in a beauty pageant?

Subconsciously, yes.

I never said it aloud because in my childhood, I focused on education.

Watching films was a luxury.

If I behaved well for a week and studied properly, I would be allowed to watch television shows, Son Pari and Sharaarat.

We were kept in a kind of regime, so that we could never get distracted.

But deep down, I wanted to dance. I also used to do some mimicry.

So if I watch a film, I would try and imitate it.

When I was in college, there was this in-house pageant called Navy Queen.

I really wanted to take part in it because it was a big thing for us.

Within two weeks of my participation, I got a call from Miss India because they had some connection with the organisers.

They said I had to audition for it and I remember calling my mum and telling her, 'This has just happened and what should I do?'

She was like, 'Just go.'

I went there because I had nothing to lose.

I got through, and went to the finale.

I never got the time to think about whether I want to do it or not as one after the other, opportunities just came my way.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Nikita Dutta/Instagram

If somebody offers you something solid on TV, would you go back and explore that space again?

Honestly, somebody has offered me something on TV and I have to tell you this that the kind of money I was offered, I literally had a second thought.

If I had taken up the show, my next few generations would have sat back and enjoyed.

But I was very clear that I would not want to go back to this.

I have taken a long time to detach myself from that identity.

I have a lot of respect for television and want to give full credit to it because whatever I have learnt today, it's because of this medium.

I have learnt a lot in those three years and got a lot of love from audiences.

I would never say that it was a big mistake. I will never look down upon television. But do I want to do it again? I don't think so.

I don't think I can connect to that world anymore.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Nikita Dutta/Instagram

When you quit TV and started going for auditions for films, did you face any discrimination?

Yes. I mean, people are not able to look at you with the kind of mentality they carry.

But I feel I was at an advantage because I had not done a show that stretched for years.

The three TV shows which I have done, I have been very choosy about. I have said no to a lot of shows.

And those three shows were short running shows.

People think it was very stupid of me because I didn't make any money through TV, but I always think about what would have happened in the long run. So I am glad I did that.

You are completing a decade this year in films.

Yes, if you count Lekar Hum Deewana Dil (2014).

I had a cameo in that, so I don't give much importance to it.

I think my career really began from 2015, when I did my first TV show.

IMAGE: Nikita with Shahid Kapoor in Kabir Singh.

Did your appearance in Kabir Singh help you professionally?

Of course, that helped. That has changed my entire career.

After Kabir Singh, a lot of films have been offered to me.

One-and-a-half months before the release of Kabir Singh, I signed Dybbuk (2021) and because Kabir Singh did so well, I was offered The Big Bull from the same producers.

Immediately after Kabir Singh, I was offered Rocket Gang.

So the kind of films I was being offered after Kabir Singh really helped.

Then the pandemic hit us.

Everybody suffered and I did too.

Two films of mine were set to release in the theatres but they went straight to OTT.

A film was delayed for two years and then got shelved.

I have an identity because of Kabir Singh and I give a lot of credit to it.

Photograph: Kind courtesy Nikita Dutta/Instagram

If Sandeep Vanga Reddy ever makes a film in that space, would you want to be a part of it?

100 percent! Sandeep sir just needs to call me and say that he has written a character for me, and I will do it.

I trust his sensibility because when we were doing Kabir Singh, a lot of times I used to wonder what was I doing in this film.

I met Shahid Kapoor for the first time on the set.

Many a times, I used to feel unsure about what was happening, 'I am doing it right?'

So I had zero expectations from Kabir Singh.

After that film, I realised that we should never expect anything from any film. If it works, it's a bonus and if it doesn't, just move on.

You are set to make your Marathi debut soon.

Yes. Hopefully, the film will release this year.

We had announced it two years ago and it's in the post production stage.

How has your experience in the film industry been?

I have never been thick-skinned, but in the last 10 years, I have become so.

I used to be a very sensitive and emotional person. I still I am, but a bit better now.

I think with every passing day, with every experience, with every project, I get better.

Whatever I have seen in these 10 years, I have learnt a lot.