Behind the Scenes: Nitanshi Goel on Laapataa Ladies and Kiran Rao

In an exclusive conversation with Deccan Chronicle, the Phool Kumari from the path breaking film—Laapataa Ladies, Nitanshi Goel talks about her transition from the small screen to the big screen. She also reveals how her extensive TV experience prepared her for the role of Phool Kumari in Laapataa Ladies.

Congratulations on the roaring success of Laapataa Ladies! How did you bag the project and how does it feel?

We have put our heart and soul into the movie. Since we were not big stars, we only sought blessings from people. But I never imagined all the blessings would work miracles like this and make Laapataa Ladies one of the most trending films. Everyone is just loving the film and Phool Kumari. I didn’t have the faintest idea that we would get so much love from people. I am just overwhelmed and grateful.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the film

My most favourite scene is when Phool gets her salary—that’s her first step of independence and she learns how to stand on her own feet. That scene is very, very beautiful and close to my heart. In fact, I am happy that a lot of people out there are saving that scene so much, like that scene at this point has a different fan base altogether. I read so many beautiful comments about it.

Tell us about your work experience with Kiran Rao?

I have to go like this for a whole paragraph to answer this. She's a sweetheart and one of the bestest directors I have ever worked with. The whole experience was not of just directors and actors working together. It was like a mom and daughter on a project together, all ready to portray this beautiful story. I would be a bit scared at first, wondering how to approach her, because I am the newbie here. But she would treat me with a warm heart and say, “Whatever your opinions are, we will work your way.” She was very warm.

You have worked with male directors as well as female, what sets them apart on the sets?

In my opinion, female directors have their own sensitive, yet beautiful way of approaching every subject and every character. To be fair, because of the way Kiran ma'am approached Phool Kumari and envisioned Phool Kumari, there is this beautiful feminine quality, a beautiful sensitiveness, which comes up when you work with female directors, and it's somehow just way more warm and welcoming altogether.

What was the most challenging aspect of playing phool?

The most challenging aspect was to be able to portray the body language of Phool in the most honest way possible, because Phool Kumari doesn't talk much in the film, but still her story is beautiful. And she tells her story through her body language and her eyes. So her body language was a bit tough for me in the beginning, which is why I prepped. I watched all kinds of old films like Balika Vadhu, Sui Dhaga, Nadiyon Ke Paar, to get the essence of the women back in the 2001 era, and to create that magic on Phool.

What part of Phool do you relate to as a person?

Phool Kumari is in fact very similar to me. I feel like I am a 2024 version of Phool Kumari. Because firstly, she is hopeful, she is optimistic, and her innocence, I relate to that a lot.

Any funny or memorable moments from the set or with your co-stars?

There were so many. In fact, there was one memorable moment that happened when Manju Maai and I were shooting our goodbye scene. It was already a very emotional scene and it was one of the last scenes that we were shooting. We were already getting that goodbye feeling. So when the action happened, we both actually got emotional and started crying while performing that scene.

Why do you think Laapataa Ladies clicked?

I think the simplicity of the film and the innocence of the characters attracted people. Arijit Singh’s first song and the last scene, the hug scene worked.

What are your upcoming projects?

There are many in the pipeline. I cannot reveal much. It has to be confidential.

All I can say is that I have signed an interesting subject. I will be filming for it very soon.

How do you think your experiences working on TV shows influenced your approach to your current role in Laapataa Ladies?

Working on TV shows helps you understand the working life way better. Because I did almost nine TV serials. So I would learn the script in three minutes— that too those long monologues of four to five pages. Then to be able to act and to be able to perform on toes right at the moment. That's what TV shows taught me. A few lessons learnt I used during the shoot of Laapataa Ladies too.

How did it feel to receive the IMDb ‘Breakout Star’ STARmeter Award?

Somebody said, Nitanshi, you are trending on IMDb. I was like, where am I trending? And I was shocked when I checked IMDb. I could not process it. Because in that same list, there was me, SRK, Aamir, Deepika, Priyanka and Alia. And I was like, oh my God, did I really just top this list?

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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