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Wearing The Mantle

Every year sees newcomers being launched in our Hindi film industry. Some are industry kids and some are not. The next few months will see Nidhi Dutta, ace director JP Dutta’s daughter making her debut in Jee Bhar Ke Jee Le. Over to her:

Being an industry kid

I was lucky to accompany my father (JP Dutta) to his film sets as a kid as it was a learning ground for me. Not many people have the opportunity to meet so many creative people and learn from them. As far as I remember, I always dreamt of becoming an actor. I remember how much I loved dancing to the Chuma chumanumber when I was young.

But being an industry kid comes with responsibilities. Of the 100 years of cinema, my family has been part of the industry for 62 years, a combination of my father, mother and grandfather (O P Dutta)’s presence in Bollywood. I am accountable for my actions as I have the opportunity to take the legacy forward.

Assisting JP Dutta

I assisted my father in Umrao Jaan back in 2006. My father has always made male-oriented films and Umrao Jaan was the only film which had strong female characters. I learned so much from Shabanaji (Azmi) and Aishwarya (Rai Bachchan). For the whole year of production, I used to address dad as ‘sir’. I learned a lot on the sets and creatively it was a fulfilling experience which further groomed me.

On bagging the film

I was at dad’s office as I usually help him with his work. Apart from him, the director (Binoy Gandhi) and my mother (Bindiya Goswami) were also in the office. I was reading the lines with Diganth, who is also acting in the film. I did such a good job that everyone said I too should act in the film. That was it, no auditions!

Since I am the producer’s daughter, I was a part of the film’s production. It came naturally to me as I love everything about filmmaking. I helped out on the sets even on days when I had no shoots.

On her role

I play a travel blogger in the film, which is a youth-centric comedy based on friendship and love. I researched my character thoroughly as I didn’t really know what a travel blogger did. It was a surreal experience as I got to travel to so many new places in India.

Mother’s advice

Dad was creatively involved in the film but it was my mother who helped me with my character and acting. She used to explain scenes to me and tell me what it demanded of me. She was my support system throughout the making of the film. Since she knows the craft of acting so well, I could depend on her on every step of the way.

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