She is natural on-screen, effortlessly slips into her characters, humble in real life and stole our hearts with her portrayal of ‘Tanya’ in the TVF series Permanent Roommates. Nidhi Singh talks to Indian Ad Divas about her forever dream of being in the acting field, life so far and how her city (Allahabad) is the biggest motivation
How did your foray into the acting/modelling happen?
As a teenager, every time I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer would always change but acting was one thing I’d come back to again and again in my head. Although, I never said it out loud to anyone till I was about 16. My father is a doctor and mum is a teacher and my older brother is a qualified engineer; so being an actor didn’t seem very practical to me. I’d always day-dream about it and pretend like I am one. Haha! It was a ‘weird child’ alert. I loved literature and I am so glad that I got to study Shakespeare in school; I’d recite speeches running around in my lawn, without any reason.
Although I was a hopeless student, I did always ace the extracurricular a bit more than anything else in school so I think my family can now join the dots. My teachers loved me but always worried about me (big smiles). The question about college started popping up and that’s when I broke it to my parents. They did freak out a little bit especially because I was a science student and they probably didn’t see it coming, but they were very calm about it. I was told “finish your graduation first and then we’ll see.” So I chose to do BMM, got an admission in St. Andrew’s college in Mumbai and specialised in advertising. I could not jump into acting straight away because firstly, I had no clue how and secondly, I had to sustain myself. I got lucky and worked an advertising agency called JWT, Mumbai. Considering JWT is one of the finest agencies, it was a minefield of exploding talent and their work was extremely exciting, I was absolutely smitten with the charm of the advertising world. More often than not, my mind would stray into wanting to be in front of the camera but I’d think I am being stupid since I didn’t feel I was good enough to be there.
During this time I got a chance to meet Shernaz Patel while she was shooting for an ad with JWT. She is someone I have admired all my life and it’s my good fortune that she turned out to be extremely friendly, funny and insightful. For some reason she had a sweet little chat with me and that kind of re-kindled my desire to be an actor. I didn’t quite understand what an epiphany meant till that moment.
After having worked for two something years in advertising, I quit JWT and started working as a freelance assistant director on ad films. Freelance work gave me the time to start doing part-time theater. I did this for about a year and a half, after which I decided to really give it my all and started pursuing acting full-time. After a few billion auditions, I landed my first gig which was a Minto gol commercial. I kept acting in plays and going for auditions and very slowly and steadily it all started rolling in a certain direction.
Which city are you from and what about the city do you carry with you?
I am from Allahabad and that city has given me the best childhood memories possible. It gave me my first taste of freedom, the belief that I can do anything, a child like amazement about the big outside world and very precious friendships. Those set of experiences are very close to my heart and I visit them very often, especially when I lack motivation.
What kinds of roles do you dream of playing? Between Tanya of Permanent Roommates and the assistant girl in K.I.D. (TVF), what are you more partial towards?
There are so many but ‘Aileen from Monster’ and ‘Francesca from The Bridges of Madison county’, are two portrayals that have always been on my bucket list. I like being goofy and making people laugh but most definitely Tanya.
Would you settle for a guy like Mikesh in real life?
Mikesh is adorable and perfect but I am not Tanya so I don’t know. I am very moody. Haha
When and how did the collaboration with the TVF gang happen for you?
I think the first time they watched me performing was in a play. We did know each other from before but very briefly. Post that they called me in for a meeting and they asked me to do the spoof called “Emotional Attyacharge” and I readily agreed.
Any offers from Bollywood and other TV shows?
Nothing I can talk about as such yet.
People often wonder if you are married or not-would you like them to keep guessing or would you like to let your fans know?
I am not married. (smiles)
What can the viewers expect from the next season of Permanent Roommates?
Well I’d simply say – stay tuned. (big smile)
You can follow Nidhi on: Instagram