Nimrat Kaur is an interviewer’s delight. She does not mince words and in a frank conversation, the actress talks about her Hollywood resume, her foray into digital entertainment, feminism and love. Excerpts:

Who the hell do you think you are! Yes, that’s the question your co-actor Atul Kulkarni asks you towards the end of the first episode of The Test Case. And I will ask you – who is Nimrat Kaur?
(Laughs) I have no straight answer to that and that is why we get given lines so that we are clear and articulate in our lives. As a person, I am just an ordinary girl living an extra ordinary life.

nimrat kaur in lunch box movie
Image Source: passionconnect

What is truly extraordinary is that you have managed to stay clear of gossip, how do you manage to do that?
Well, yes, thank God for that. I hate to be in middle of controversies and I find them pointless. It doesn’t serve any purpose and I like to stay away, and so far I’ve been lucky.

What is the similarity between Capt. Shikha Sharma and Nimrat Kaur?
I think the one similarity is that both of us don’t like being told, ‘You can’t do this’. I’ve come from a background where I have attempted everything that came to my mind.

I saw the first episode of The Test Case on the AltBalaji app. So, let’s straight away touch upon the topics that were explored in the first episode:

Feminism, are you a feminist?
Yes I am. I now understand the term feminism a lot better than I did some time back. I think feminism should not be understood as a male bashing sentiment. The idea is not that all men are evil and all women are amazing. It’s misunderstood. Feminism to me is courage, standing up for your dreams, believing in yourself – it has nothing to do with gender.

The rising numbers of suicides...
I feel the sentiment of ending your life should be addressed with a lot of love and care. We have a blessing to live this one life. Immediate emotional attention is what one needs in a moment like that. One must be aware of a higher power that exists.

Girl child Vs Male Child: I love little girls. And people who don’t want a girl child need serious education and counselling.

Sexism and violence against women: I think sexists need to be treated with as little importance as possible and women should never be intimidated or affected by their comments because I honestly feel like they come from uneducated and silly places. A man who is brought up with a value system and patronises a girl, is empty from inside.

Argument with your boss, will you take a stand?
I would always take one.

Sexual harassment at work place...
There’s no place for sexual harassment anywhere.

While you act, do these issues play on your mind?
The part I played in Lunchbox stayed in my mind for a very long time because I stayed with that part for a long time. But now I have learnt to switch myself off completely because it is very important to maintain your sanity. I take the character as a job because sometimes we really tend to drown ourselves in an emotional scene and you are unable to detach yourself, so it is very important to stay sane and switch off, come back to reality.

Coming back to the show, you too have an army background...
I remember watching my father getting ready very, very clearly. I know the exact sequence – the uniform, lacing up the shoes. I have a very romantic picture of army life because I saw some of my best days as an army kid.

Nimrat, you have done shows like Homeland and Wayward Pines in the US. When did it all start? What was the turning point?
My work chose me. I haven’t chosen them. I just give a green signal the moment I connect with it.

nimrat kaur for gq photoshoot
Image Source: guyana

While many of your contemporaries are happily doing commercially viable films, the kind of roles you have chosen are quite offbeat. Is this an intentional choice?
Hmmm.. No. I don’t keep a track of who’s doing what. I am only concerned with what I need to do next. I think when we are starting out in our careers, it’s all about the kind of work that comes to us and from that we decide what we want to do and don’t. It’s part choice and part chance.

"My work over these three-and-a-half years is a surprise even to me,” you said this in an interview. Do you think you are satisfied as an actor?
I couldn’t ask for more. I am very thankful for the kind of opportunities and appreciation that has come my way.

Do you regret letting go off a project in the past?
Not even one (laughs).

I interviewed Irrfan Khan a few days ago and he said that there is a lot of difference between the work culture and treatment of actors in the West, compared to India. I would like to ask you the same question, what is the difference? Did you face any racial discrimination there?
Yes, there is a big difference. Culturally there is so much for starters. Emotionally, our makeup is different. The expectation of how we express ourselves as actors is different out there. And the work culture over there – there is a lot of dignity of labour and there is a lot of respect of time, which I really love. Everything is time bound and that is so inspiring and something that we can learn from.

Have you faced any racial discrimination?
I haven’t. Never.

Coming to the web-series, why chose a digital platform? Did you consider that people might find it difficult to relate to you considering you are a Bollywood actor?
I was asked this question when I took up Homeland also, that why a TV series after a movie. These are just perceptions which are quickly shattered as soon as something is successful and works. And web series is a world waiting to be explored and it is the future. The unknown is always rejected at first, it is given the step-motherly treatment. So, it’s a new audience we are trying to seduce and a new viewer we are trying to create – it’s an exciting journey.

nimrat kaur in homeland
Image Source: englishfashion

Nobody has escaped trolls and indecent comments on social media. You are doing a web series, do trolls bother you? Do you read the comments section?
I don’t pay attention to them. I do read the comments when I post something on social media, but I don’t care. It’s just silly and annoying but I just look at the emptiness it is coming from, and I don’t waste my time on that.

What is your biggest fear?
Fear of heights.

How important are awards for you? What is the biggest recognition according to you?
I’m sure it feels really great. I mean it always felt good to get awards in school but the love and appreciation of the audience is beyond anything. And the biggest recognition for me would be when my mother approves of it and likes it.

Are you an actor who would go back to the same director?
Absolutely. 100 percent. If I have liked working with them (laughs)

Did you at any point feel pressurised after Lunchbox’s success?
Not pressurised but I sometimes felt that the expectations were unreal. I mean, I didn’t create Lunchbox, Lunchbox created me. But as soon as I realised that it was not my problem, I was fine.

nimrat kaur in the test case webseries
Image Source: ilubiluImage 

Do you think actors usually refrain from stating their opinions, especially on religious or political issues, owing to the fear of repercussions?
I am not opinionated. I just don’t want to comment on things that I don’t know enough about, that I don’t care to comment on, and I reserve that right. I don’t have an opinion on everything and I only part with it when I feel like my opinion will make a difference.

If not an actor, what would you be doing?
I would be in the travel industry. It’s my happy place.

I got goosebumps when I saw you in Love Shots. Have you found love?
No. I didn’t see this question coming but No, I haven’t. (laughs)

Do boys trouble you on set?
No, not at all. We are the magnificent 8 as we call ourselves.

One advice you want to give to the women who want to join army.
Never be afraid of what people tell you will be difficult and you can’t do. Because what you can’t do only exists in your head.

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