Nimrat Kaur On Choosing ‘Dasvi’: ‘Films That Came My Way Before This Were Boring’
The actress plays the Chief Minister’s wife, Bimla Devi, in the upcoming movie that also stars Abhishek Bachchan and Yami Gautam
Nimrat Kaur began her career with Anurag Kashyap’s Peddlers in 2012, and one look at her filmography will tell you that the actor has always put content over everything else. Her breakthrough, not just to the Indian audience but film lovers across the world, came with the award-winning epistolary romantic film, The Lunchbox, which was directed by Ritesh Batra, opposite Irrfan Khan. It had multiple international screenings including one at the Cannes Film Festival.
Nimrat, with her honest acting, has a treasury of roles that stay with you long after you’ve left the cinema halls. Be it the solitary Ila in The Lunchbox (2013), resilient Amrita Katyaal in Airlift (2016), feisty Shikha in The Test Case (2017), brave spy Tasneem Qureshi in Homeland, and now Bimla Devi in Dasvi, she has given us some brilliant characters. In an exclusive interview with Man’s World, Nimrat Kaur speaks about her character in Dasvi, working with Abhishek Bachchan, taking a break from Hindi films, working in the West, and much more. Excerpts:
Tell us something about your character in Dasvi?
I am playing Chief Minister’s wife Bimla Devi. She is a surprise package in the film. She is one of the craziest characters I’ve played so far. From being quiet and naïve, she goes on to become the Chief Minister and suddenly has powers, the freedom to do whatever she wants. For Bimla, the sky is the limit and the world is her playground. It would be fun to watch her going crazy with powers.
What were the preparations for the character?
To begin with, I did not look at it as a political role. She is a circumstantial politician, who becomes oppressive after being oppressed all her life. Bimla is somebody I had to find within the script and have fun with it. From being someone’s wife to being the Chief Minister, Bimla has a journey and that’s beautiful. It’s the first time I’ve done comedy. From the day I heard the narration, I got excited and wanted to be a part of it. I had to gain 15kgs. I learned Haryanvi and worked on my dialect. As an actor, I couldn’t have asked for more.
You are returning to Hindi film after 5 years. How does it feel? What kept you away?
The films that came to me were boring, the parts were not interesting, they were similar to that I had already done before and some projects didn’t work out exactly on time. I was being offered characters with shades of the same colour. I didn’t want to do random films. However, now I want to change that consciously and I am actively working towards that. I always wanted to do comedy. I want to explore myself as an actor and bring something new every time I am in front of the camera. I want to play all kinds of characters.
How do you look back at your journey? Did you always want to become an actor?
I always wanted to become an actor but didn’t have the guts to say that out loud. I got the first acting opportunity when I was in college and I decided to give it a shot and see if I can make a living out of it. I feel blessed to be able to make a place for myself, not just in India but internationally. I have been at the right place at the right time. I can’t be more grateful.
Since the beginning of your career, you have played characters that who exude strength in their own way — from Ila in The Lunchbox to Capt Shikha Sharma in The Test Case. Has it been a conscious choice? What’s your criterion to pick roles?
I like to be a part of entertaining and strong projects. I have no interest in being a part of something which is intellectually stimulating but emotionally weak or emotionally bankrupt. The character I am playing should be something I would like to watch as an audience. I want to bring variety to my roles. I always think of how I can make the character impactful.
Any memorable behind-the-scenes moments from Dasvi?
Abhishek Bachchan is one the most hard-working and focused actors I’ve seen. He is a great storyteller. The way he works has inspired me. He cares about everyone on the sets equally – be it a co-actor or a spot boy. We had an amazing time on the sets. In the film, he is in jail and I am doing my thing outside the jail. I had to ensure that I don’t keep laughing in between the shots as Abhishek is extremely funny. I was eating all sorts of junk food to gain weight while Abhishek was allowed to have boiled veggies and steamed fish. He would really cringe seeing me eat. It was torturous for him.
Your take on OTT platforms…
OTT platforms are a game-changer. There is so much employment, work, stories, and opportunities. The content is fresh and people want to explore different genres. People have been woken up from a complacency that was otherwise settling in. There’s a different kind of system that has come into place – good actors are getting work irrespective of their background. Thanks to the OTT platforms, we have all kinds of all sorts of actors gaining instant stardom.
You’ve done some good work in Hollywood as well. What is the difference you see between our industry and that of the West?
It is a very different environment, that culture is very different. There’s is kind of warmth and proximity we enjoy with each other in India. That’s kind of missing in the West. Having said that, actors are actors, stories are stories, if you’re working in something where it moves the heart, it reaches people irrespective of language.
I am working on Foundation Season 2. I’ll be doing a web series with a director I have been wanting to work with for a very long time. I can’t name the director or project yet, but it’s a thriller and I am looking forward to it.
(Featured Image Credits: Instagram)