She is best known for her award winning role as Advocate Aanchal in popular television serial ‘Haasil’, in another serial ‘Ek Duje Ke Vaaste’ and more recently in Shahid Kapoor starrer film Kabir Singh (as Jia Sharma). Meet actor Nikita Dutta, a Miss India finalist in 2012, who loves being an “organized nerd”. Hailing from a family that has served Indian Navy she, having no background of films or entertainment, managed to make way in the film industry! Here is a conversation with Nikita straight from the heart…
Who is Nikita Dutta in real life? (Behind the camera)
It is probably the toughest thing to describe oneself! One sure thing I know about myself is that I like to be in control of (things) to whatever extent I can. From planning a day to chalking out what to do next, I enjoy having a plan of action for the next moment!
How do you review your journey in the entertainment industry?
It has been roughly eight years since I started off my journey in this industry. Back in the college days I was quite unaware about how it all worked here (in the film industry). Even small things like applying make-up or dressing up in a glamorous way, or posing in front of the camera- these were all distant dreams to me. I have been blessed to work with some great people over these years because of whom I have learnt so much. Every day at work is a lesson (to learn) in some way.
When did you realize you wanted to become an actor?
For the longest time I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do until I started anchoring a show. It made me fall in love with the camera. This is when I got to know that acting is my forte and it really makes me happy. So I gradually started exploring options and eventually acting happened to me.
What kind of support did you receive from your family?
Even though people around me had some other notions and plans about my career, they have been extremely supportive ever since I started off. I was an Economic honours student and my father wanted me to appear for the civil services exam considering my family background. When Miss India happened I was still in college and wasn’t sure how my parents would take it. To my surprise they were fine with it and told me that I need to be confident of what I was doing.
How was the experience of doing Kabir Singh with Shahid Kapoor?
It was a fabulous experience! I always feel there is a lot to learn from co-actors. Shahid is undoubtedly a phenomenal actor. Apart from sharing the screen with him, it was a great experience to watch him get into his character.
Kabir Singh was a huge success in the box office with some amazing performances and direction. But it faced some criticism too. How did the team take to the upheaval?
I believe the team has handled it well. It has been loved by the masses, which is the best compliment a film can receive. Though we must remember it’s a fictional character and a point of view. Everyone doesn’t have to agree with it!
How difficult was it for you as an “outsider” to make it in the industry?
I find the tag “outsider” strange. However it does exist in reality! I have lost out on a few projects as a result of not being “known enough”. But that’s the bitter reality- you have to accept and keep moving.
To put it short, it has been 8 long and difficult years for me, yet this tag remains and I still feel I haven’t got it off completely!
How has success changed the way people look at you?
Its people’s perspective and I wouldn’t be the right person to judge it. But there are instances where some who earlier threw an unpleasant arrogance now have switched sides!
What truths did you unravel along the way?
Every day is a new expedition for me in some form. With some bitter and sweet truths about life, relationships at work or with friends, there have been some eye-opening moments. But it’s all an experience for the good I feel.
Have you changed as a person after entering the industry?
In some ways I think I have! Over time I have mastered the art of multitasking and organizing. Also as a person I would get stressed very easily. I wouldn’t say I don’t get stressed at all now, but I am getting better at handling it!
What are your interests apart from acting?
I enjoy running and yoga apart from my regular workouts. A hobby that I had picked up in school was solving Sudoku and Kakuro. So I still keep a book of either of these with me at all times. It’s the best stress buster and also a good way to reduce screen time on phone or television
How do you deal with negativity on social media?
There was a time when I had an influx of comments on a post of mine regarding my show coming to an end. A lot were trolls, abuses and even some death wishes. I hate to accept it but that did get to me a lot. But after that I have maintained the discipline of not reading comments just for my own sanity! Also I make sure I do this regular social media detox just to ensure it doesn’t rule how I think.
Are you prepared for the unpredictability of the profession?
Anyone who has spent a couple of years should have got used to it by now. There are times when you are craving to get maybe a couple of hours to breathe and relax and on the contrary there are also times when you don’t have much to do for days! But this is what comes with the job. One has to learn how to deal with it. I generally try and keep myself occupied and constantly try to learn something new or spend time with my folks.
If you were given a chance, to swap lives with someone, who would it be and why?
I doubt I’ll pick someone in the present but I would love to be born in the 1900 era. There is so much I have read about and heard stories from my grandfather that it fascinates me the most.
You were one of the finalists in Femina Miss India 2012. How was the experience?
Femina Miss India in my world was like an introduction to the industry. I was still in college, enjoyed my comfortable dressing and junk eating habits. Miss India had a huge role to play in getting the discipline back in my life that my father would insist on always. In fact sometimes I do feel not winning was a blessing in disguise for me. It pushed me to make myself better!
How do you think beauty pageants have evolved over the years?
Over the years they have got extremely commercialized which has its own pros and cons. However, the one thing I do feel is that amidst all the grooming that they take you through before the pageant you can possibly get detached from reality.
Do you see yourself acting forever or do you have other dreams?
At the moment I know being in front of the camera, playing unexplored characters makes me the happiest. I can’t say about years later!
Do you believe the audience has become more critical over the years?
Yes it has. And I believe it’s for the good. The audience has started praising and hailing good content which also keeps the people involved (in the making of the film) on their toes.
Who are the other directors you’d like to work with?
The list is a long long one. I hope I can tick mark at-least fifty percent from that!
What keeps you going as an artiste?
It’s the drive to do better than what you have already done. We set standards for ourselves every day. At whatever pace it maybe, the idea is to outdo your previous self.
Are you open to love?
Yes indeed! Who isn’t!?
What is your favourite memory as a child?
It was visiting my grandparents in their village. I used to love the smallest things around. As a child, Bournvita and milk was a mandatory wake up meal. And I still remember the amazingly different taste of that fresh buffalo milk!
What do you love most about yourself?
I will keep it short lest it sounds like excessive self-love! Though I do love how I don’t give up on anything easily. It’s something I learnt while running marathons. You set a goal and just keep going.
Who are the actors you cannot wait to work with?
The list is excessively long, though the fan girl in me would love to share screen with Shah Rukh Khan some day!
Your makeup routine?
When not shooting I have a lip balm and a thin line of kohl on my eyes most of the times. Though I follow the basic skin care routine of cleaning up before going to bed and not stepping out of the house without a layer of moisturizer and sun-screen
Who is on your speed dial?
Mom! That’s an emergency contact for love, help, assistance, food or anything!
What is your spirit animal?
I am obsessed with unicorns! Non-existent but a lot of detailing in there!
Which book character would you like to play if it was turned into a movie?
I have always adored Jane Austen books. I would love to play one of her characters like Elainor Dashwood from ‘Sense and Sensibility’ or Elizabeth Bennett from ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
Favourite place in the world?
Home! Favourite place can be in any corner of the world but as I always keep saying- ‘Home is where the heart is’.
The first thing you bought with your own paycheck?
My first paycheck was of Rupees 5000 from a summer internship. I had taken my first self-paid trip to Goa with friends then.
What TV shows do you binge watch?
The show Friends has been on this list for long now. I would have watched it too many times and still don’t miss it! There are a couple of other shows like Brooklyn99, How I met your Mother, Big Bang theory that I like to shuffle between.
Please tell us about your future projects?
Currently I am looking forward to a Netflix Original Film slated for release soon.
A social cause is close to your heart
Body-shaming. I feel every person should accept themselves the way they are and work on being a better version of themselves rather than criticizing yourself by comparing it to trends and norms.
- Magazine: The Lifestyle Journalist @tlj_magazine
- Photography by Navin Dhyani @navindhyaniphoto
- Make up Ayesha Seth @ayeshasethstudio
- Hair by: Satish Gole @satishgole03
- Stylists:Hima Dangwal: @himadangwal
- Shirt and Pant: @missfetchofficial
- Outfit-Rudraksh Dwivedi: @rudrakshdwivedi
- Jewels-Diamantina: @diamantinafinejewels
- Heels-Steve Madden: @stevemaddenindia
- Location:Earth Cafe: @earthcafewaterfield