January 28, 2023
Nidhi Uttam, who is an actress working in Indian television industry and film industry for more than a decade. She rose to fame as Nandini in Asia’s longest running show on Star plus “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai” . She was also seen in Anubhav Sinha‘s award-winning film Thappad in a crucial role.Being a trained martial artist, a stress level athlete and a freelance graphic designer.
Nidhi shared her journey and important tips to enter and retain acting in the industry.
Nidhi Uttam: I’m from a place named Kanpur. After finishing my 12th grade year, I moved to Mumbai to finish my education. I came here to study graphic design and animation. I had just been living in Mumbai for around six months when I was chosen as the lead actor for one of the shows produced by great producer Ekta Kapoor. When I was asked to join in the programme, Kasturi, I was quite nervous because acting is not something that most people outside of the industry do right away.
When I initially declared that I couldn’t pursue acting, everyone told me that I had been chosen and couldn’t refuse Ekta Kapoor. I spoke with my teachers at that time, and they all advised me not to say no since Ekta Kapoor has given you the opportunity, which is a dream for many other people. Once I started working in the field, I learned how important it was. Since I’ve been working in this field for around 15 years, it was a major turning point in my life.
Nidhi Uttam: Our first show is always special, in my opinion, and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai was the one where I received the most love. However, I was very young when I began, and throughout my acting career, from the first performance I did till today I have made really wonderful friends with whom I still keep in touch. As a non-actor, it served as a form of learning and stepping stone for me as I progressively learned how to act while performing.
In terms of movies, Thappad has been my largest endeavour to date. My next movie, Chaar Lugayi, which features me as the protagonist . In this movie everyone will see a different side of me. It is scheduled for release in February 2023.
Nidhi Uttam: It’s important to be consistent. Just don’t give up after one setback. You must maintain high ambitions and consistency in this field that, in my opinion, is the most crucial factor, along with maintaining focus. From the outside, this industry appears to be very glittery and glamorous, but the reality is that you have to work day and night. This requires more effort and concentration because timings vary depending on the shoot and there are more hours spent working. Additionally, there are no leaves,, especially when working on a television programme.
Nidhi Uttam: In terms of acting, last year has been really wonderful for me. Any actor’s desire is to appear on billboards and other advertising. This year, I ran a significant campaign and served as the face of the DLF mall in Nodia. I also did digital advertising there, and because I was the face of the mall, I appeared on all of the billboards. It was my greatest success.Throughout the span of these 15 years, I also had numerous other successes that made my family proud of me.
Nidhi Uttam: I think the most crucial factor in performance is whether you can create an emotional response from the audience. Any type of acting scene would do, but whatever it is, the audience must be impressed by your performance.
Nidhi Uttam: No, there was never any doubt about whether I liked acting or not because I was solely interested in sports and school. I’m more into sports since I’ve competed at the state level. I used to practise martial arts, but I hardly ever watched television. For example, when schoolgirls would talk about TV shows, I had nothing to do because we weren’t even allowed to watch it at home. When I first received an offer to appear in a show, I was very hesitant because I was so completely cut off from the media at the time. However, I firmly believe that God had other plans for me.
Nidhi Uttam: Even after my first performance, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue acting. You won’t have time for anything else when you work for a production company called Balaji. As a result, I was unable to complete the coursework for which I had travelled there and paid all fees. Since I didn’t know what I would do after my first show, I was constantly concerned about when I would finish my course and my studies at that time.
My teachers at the time were a huge source of encouragement, telling me not to worry because what I was doing was the fulfilment of many people’s dreams. And in 2007 people had trouble finding employment in the animation and graphics industries. I think that god gave me a golden spoon as a blessing. I was earning a respectable sum of money and getting show after show, which gave me hope and encouragement.
Nidhi Uttam: Either I would have been an animator or the owner of an advertising firm. Learning animation and creating animated films were my objectives.
Nidhi Uttam: I consider myself fortunate since I receive a lot of support from my fans. Most people recognise me as Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’s Nandini. Recently, I travelled to the small village of Mathura to film for a new movie. I saw hundreds of people coming out to see me on their terraces. This kind of fan love is so touching, I think I must have done something good to earn it. It is also motivating because it inspires you to work harder on your subsequent endeavour.
Nidhi Uttam: Competition, in my opinion, never dies and really makes you a better worker. Competition is necessary. Certainly, there is a lot of competition in our industry. There are a lot of fresh people enter the industry. People are hiring actors for less money, which may be a challenger, but competition usually arises between the performances of two individuals; if you can establish your calibre there, there is no stopping you.
Nidhi Uttam: I’m pretty good at doing emotional romantic scenes, but I’d like to focus on comic scenes because that’s a genre I haven’t really explored.
Nidhi Uttam: Though I can honestly say that as of now, I haven’t gotten any bad reviews, if I do, I’ll accept them positively. Constructive criticism help you develop your character. Feedback is a pretty crucial part of our journey.
Nidhi Uttam: I spent 12 years as a cast member of Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. I had about 500 auditions before this programme and was unemployed for about seven months. However, when I showed up for the Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai audition, they informed me that I had been chosen for the role of Nandini.The best part was they told me I was the only candidate they had considered for the role.
My character is completely different from the part or character I had portrayed. However, they promised me that they would remove my disabled character after three months, but once the show premiered and viewers began to enjoy my performance, they decided to keep my role for a very long period. I used to occasionally get frustrated with my part! But over time I came to understand that Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai is the reason I’m getting all the affection. I’ve actually encountered handicapped girls on numerous times or at events. They came up to me and told me that I inspire them and make them feel valuable.
Nidhi Uttam: I have not, and I have played positive roles. I’m picky when it comes to choosing a role. I receive a lot of requests for crime shows and other things, but I don’t do them. I haven’t played any negative roles up to this point. I’m willing to do negative roles as well, but if the script changes to a more good component in the future, that’s a different story. An actor needs to be prepared to take on any character.
Nidhi Uttam: If you’re interested in acting, I have one extremely crucial piece of advice for you. ‘ Always have a backup plan’. Since I’m an actor, I always wanted to work in graphics, I didn’t let my course in graphics go to waste. I now work as a freelance graphic designer. I keep learning how to use my programme by watching tutorial videos. You can use these backup plans if you don’t have any upcoming tasks or shows. Learn something new and work on it rather than falling into depression or doing something else.
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