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Interview – Nithya Menen: “As actors, we should always understand that the film is bigger than us”

Nithya Menen happens to be one of the most happening and leading actresses of the South Indian film industry. The actress isn’t just a bag full of potential when it comes to acting but is also extremely talented when it comes to playback singing. After having earned her name and fame in the south, Nithya looks all set and charged up to do the same in the Hindi film industry and the beginning couldn’t get better. She is coming up with ‘Mission Mangal’ which is a film based on ISRO’s Mars mission alongside Akshay Kumar, Taapsee Pannu, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Kirti Kulhari and Sharman Joshi. In a conversation with CineSpeaks, Nithya gets candid about her journey in the south, debut in Bollywood, the film and a lot more…..

Q. What brings you to Bollywood? 

Nithya Menen: I think definitely there comes a time in my life when I want to expand and do something different. For me doing the same thing over and over kind of makes me a little bored. That was the time when Balki sir called me and said look I am doing this film with an interesting subject, and it does have many actors but what I want you to play is one specific scientist. It sounded very interesting to me, I have offers of Hindi films but I never felt like a match for me, so this I felt maybe a nice one. Here the makers knew why they chose and not because I am South Indian. 

Q. What is your approach or what do you look for when a film comes to you?

Nithya: I think its sensibility is more than anything. I don’t do films that just cater to or just want to make money. I try to stay as much as closer to the roles which are real and genuine.

Q. What is your reaction on remakes of south movies?

Nithya: remakes can never capture the essence of the original films no matter where you remake a hindi film in the south, you can never capture the magic of the original.

Q. Taapsee mentioned that the south film industry is more male-dominated. You have done south films for a long time so how liberating it is to come to Bollywood?

Nithya: It is much more professional in Bollywood. I was very happy to work here, I found the environment much more professional and much more easy, people were with much more less hierarchy.  

Q. Being Mission Mangal your debut film with ensemble cast do you think you might be founded as just one of them rather than having Nithya Menen in bollywood?

Nithya: You know, Never has it ever been so important to me that I have to be at the center of the attention. I always see myself as an actor, a film is bigger than an actor and that’s the only way we can make good films. When we make a mediocre film is when the actor becomes bigger than the film and that’s when everything goes unbalanced. So as actors we should always understand that the film is bigger than us. I am an actor and play a character and I do it well, I’ll do it to the best but its never like look at me or I am the one…. I don’t have such needs to be noticed, it will come on its own for my merit.

Q. Malayalam film industry is going through a revolutionary time where women’s are choosing not to have a plastic face and stay original. How do you look at it?

Nithya: I see more of such dissatisfaction with everything that you have. I sometimes wonder how one can say my face not ok so just fix it, that is a very negative way of oneself. People have to start understanding that each one of us are different, everyone has a beauty of their own. It’s very ruthless the kind of trolls the actors face, I am sure that affects people…. You have to be very resilient to understand and say “NO, its not a correct thing.”

Q. how do you deal with trolls?

Nithya: I see life much more vast than films. Films for me is one part of my life, so if it was all-consuming everything in my life than 1 would hit me that this is it. But I am very much spiritually inclined, I also have a lot more things in life. The film is a career and profession but then life is much more than that. Of course, it hurts me when I do get upset or I get hurt, but what happens when I get hurt or insecure. What you do from then that is important, so I am in that state than I detach from it, I say “NO, this is not the right thing”, these are people who are ignorant, these are people who are trying to be rude and mean and I detach from it and console myself saying “You will be fine.”

By Rupal Purohit

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