People | Feeding A Passion

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Feeding A Passion
Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena and Photograph by Poulomi Dey
Published: Volume 21, Issue 11, November, 2013

In a quiet, understated way, actor Nimrat Kaur held her own in the critically acclaimed film, The Lunchbox and is looking forward to raising the bar with her next project

From slowly licking her fingers after relishing a chocolate at a red light in an advertisement, she was next noticed in the critically acclaimed film, The Lunchbox, where she filled daily dabbas with finger-licking food and notes. Nimrat Kaur who is straddling both these genres – and the medium of theatre as well (her stage repertoire includes All About Women, Red Sparrow and Baghdad Wedding) – is unfazed by the sudden spotlight post the film, saying, “Perhaps the stars aligned themselves to make everything happen right now. I filmed the Cadbury ad a week before The Lunchbox went to Cannes.” And Nimrat found herself in Cannes for the second time – her first outing there was for Anurag Kashyap’s Peddlers.

Her flair for acting is a childhood trait. She rewinds, “I used to love narrating tales and generating reactions in people. In school, I was always involved with debates and dramatics. Some people have an inclination for numbers and words. I have an affinity for acting – and when I admitted it to myself I decided to give it my all.”

So, the girl from Punjab, who travelled all over the country going wherever her father was posted (she lost her father Major Bhupender Singh to Kashmir), moved to Mumbai to follow her dream. “My mother (Avinash) was a little worried as she is a simple middle-class housewife,” she states.

After the routine unsuccessful auditions and pitches at production houses, she was seen in Kumar Sanu’s music video, Tera Mera Pyar. And, 80-plus ad films and even more print ads followed which put her on the road to the spotlight.

As far as her latest offering is concerned, Nimrat believes, “The Lunchbox chose me. I read the script, loved it and knew that I wanted to do it.” She had her own take on how she wanted to play Ila. “I found ways to change my appearance. I tried to look more and more neglected. I stopped threading my eyebrows for I knew that this was a detail that would be noticed. I cut my nails short and put mehendi on them. I really reduced my social life and went into a lot of quietness. Luckily director Ritesh (Batra) was on the same page and things worked out.”

For Nimrat, acting is a way of living many lives, playing different characters. Despite her restrained, yet strong, performance in The Lunchbox she is not worried about being typecast, pointing out, “I don’t think anyone can escape the typecast tag. If you debut in a glamorous avatar, you tend to be typecast in that mould. Glamour is just a perception. I have done all kinds of work. Ultimately you have to fit into the world created on the page. It is all about your aesthetics.”

Ask her how she will raise her bar after her critically acclaimed performance and she replies, “I am waiting to see what scripts come my way. I want something that pulls me in.”

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