I was once told I should consider plastic surgery: 'Lunchbox' actress Nimrat Kaur
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During the premiere of The Lunchbox at the Festival de Cannes in May, I was introduced as the "modern-day Charulata". Though I liked the tag, I wondered whether it would stay on. Today, I am not afraid of being typecast because the six scripts I have read after The Lunchbox offer me roles that are diametrically opposite to Ila, from a romantic film to an action drama to a thriller.
This, for me, is a sign of changing times. So is the release of a movie like Ship of Theseus in 35 Indian cities. Not once have I been asked if The Lunchbox is an art or a commercial movie. People have talked about my deglamourised appearance in the film, but it's a perception. What's deglamourised ? Not putting on make-up? That seemed normal as I had to fit into Ila's character. I let go of a few things. I stopped threading my eyebrows, bleaching and taking care of myself about four months before the shoot began.
I come from a completely non-film background. My father was an army officer. He was posted in Kashmir when terrorists took him hostage and killed him in January 1994. Following his death, my mother, sister and I moved to Delhi where my nana-nani lived. I went to DPS, Noida, for five years and later graduated from Shri Ram College of Commerce. My family was not much into movies, but I remember watching films featuring Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi and Anil Kapoor. I also enjoyed movies like Masoom, Mirch Masala and other Smita Patil films.
In my school and college days, I often found myself on stage during debates or cultural shows. After graduation, I figured that nothing resonated with me as much as performing arts. When I came to Mumbai, I did lots of commercials, even music videos, as I knew theatre did not pay. I met people for roles in films too, but I was wise enough to realise that I can't live with the hope of being spotted at a coffee shop by a filmmaker. So I chose to learn. When I came here in 2004, I did not even know how to read a script.