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I'm in this for the long haul, says Nimrat Kaur


Published on: June 5, 2023 | Updated on: June 5, 2023

Nimrat Kaur

Nimrat Kaur is finally coming into her own as a versatile actor, thanks to the boost she has been given by OTT. She says no matter what surname you possess in Bollywood, it’s ultimately only talent that matters. Read on for more of her views on the film industry

"There is a lot in me that I want to explore as an actor, that is absolutely untapped currently," says Nimrat Kaur, who has once again proved her prowess in front of the camera with the critically-acclaimed web series School of Lies.

It has been a decade since her breakthrough role in Ritesh Batra’s celebrated film The Lunchbox, opposite the late Irrfan Khan. The 41-year-old actor reveals that though it’s hard to break perceptions, she is finally having fun, exploring different characters, as she is being offered varied roles and getting a chance to work on different subjects.

Seeking release from the stifling box

The hurdles of perceptions and stereotypes in the film industry are difficult to navigate, and Nimrat says that has been her biggest challenge by far. Despite the 2016 blockbuster Airlift opposite Akshay Kumar adding to her weight as an actor, it was not until the 2022 socio-political satire Dasvi that she was able to expand her horizons as well as showcase her versatility. "It is a perception-led business, you get judged in a certain way, and the same kind of parts keep coming your way. It takes one stroke of genius from someone who has the imagination to reimagine things to take you out of the box you’re being stifled in and give you that second lease of life.  I know I am not alone in experiencing this, nor am I the first one to do so", she notes.

"My role in Dasvi was such an out-of-the-box character for me; I couldn’t have imagined myself playing a part like that. When you’re finally given a platform to stretch yourself in a different direction, that is when you are incentivised to challenge yourself as an actor/artiste," she says.

Uncomfortable stories that must be told

Playing a school counsellor delving into the disturbing psyche of teens in Avinash Arun’s gripping eight-episode series School Of Lies on an OTT platform has won her much praise for her performance. "I admire Avinash Arun’s work, the way he looks at the world —  there is something so profoundly poetic about his gaze. That apart, sometimes, as an actor you come to a place where you feel compelled to do something, because it’s important for you to be part of an uncomfortable story. We are all so trained from a young age to keep silent on matters of abuse, be it bullying, domestic violence or discrimination. I feel it is our responsibility as creators to wake society up to hard truths and normalize these conversations," she says.

What’s in a surname?

The debate on outsiders vs. insiders is endless, and so is the discourse on how it is way easier for those with illustrious surnames or being members of coveted camps to get prized projects. But Nimrat, despite being an outsider, is far from cynical. "Yes, initially it may be easier for those who have connections or big names on their speed dials, to make headway. But is it a long-term formula for success? Absolutely not!" she asserts. "At the end of the day, you are as good as the work you do, and as an audience, we, including  me, would not want to watch someone’s film because they are connected to someone or is someone’s son or daughter. If I like someone, I love them for their work. Eventually, it all evens out; the law of averages kicks in. There are no exceptions."

Nimrat has also had a successful stint abroad, having played a pivotal role in the award-winning international show, Homeland, and a cameo in Season 2 of the sci-fi series Foundation.

The actor, who has a few other projects in the pipeline too, says diversity and inclusivity are here to stay. "Cross-pollination is the word. Everyone is working everywhere. I feel producers and filmmakers abroad are interested in tapping the fan base of Indian actors, knowing that it is just a matter of time before the world wakes up their talent," she adds.

Boredom is death

Acknowledging the boost and impact streaming platforms have given actors, Nimrat says, "People are writing such interesting parts. We know the same boring stuff won’t work. We are thinking out of the box, and are no longer dependent on those three to four films which will be released on a Friday. Everyone needs to bring on their best game. It is awesome that so many of us who were relegated to character actors in movies, are finally finding a niche for ourselves."

Patience and perseverance are hallmarks of the actor, who has never been afraid of hard work. "I have my own style and artistic language that I bring to anything I am given. I want to deep dive into all possibilities. I am in this for the long haul, so I don’t want to be repetitive. Boredom is death!"  she says bluntly.

Nimrat’s upcoming projects include Happy Teachers Day with Radhika Madan, but it is Section 84, a courtroom drama  opposite Amitabh Bachchan which excites her the most.

"Working with Mr Bachchan was on my bucket list. I have so many things to share about it, I am making notes so I don’t forget anything. It is such a delicious experience," says the delighted actor.