Monday, November 17, 2008

Why Niharika Singh is here to stay - An Exclusive Drift Interview

There is an Indian restaurant in the Chicago burbs that seems to be a particularly popular in the area. And whenever I'm there I find myself looking at a wall filled with pictures of the Bollywood A-list. There is a picture of Katrina, Bipasha and Kareena. There's Hrithik, Saif, Abhishek, Bipasha again (there is a reason I don't mind eating at this place), Salman, Preity, Aishwarya.

But there is one anamoly on this Wall of Fame. Right there between a picture of Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra is a framed photograph of...Niharika Singh.

Clearly, a lot of people even halfway across the world from Mumbai believe she is on her way to being a major star.

How exactly is she going about doing it? In 2005, at age 21 she was Pond's Femina Miss Earth. She followed it up by building an impressive modeling portfolio on TV (Milk n Roses, Sony Wega, Samsung, Asian Paints, Vagh Bakri tea) and print (Unitech, Samsung, and Oasis Telecom). She featured in music videos for Lata Mangeshkar, Jagjit Singh and Babul Supriyo.

Last year she broke into Bollywood by signing two movies with Himesh Reshammiya: John Matthew Mathan's A New Love Ishtory and Seema, Sudhir's Mudh Mudh Ke Na Dekh Mudh Mudh Ke.

I invited Niharika to stop by the Drift and tell us how things were going with her. Niharika, you are such a strikingly beautiful woman. What were you like growing up? Did boys throw themselves at your feet? Did you have to tie a zillion rakhees to keep them at bay? Did the girls either love you or want to be your best friend? Tell us about Ms. Niharika, school ki ladki.

Niharika: Thank you for the compliment...but you'll be surprised to know that I was a complete tomboy in my school days. I was in an All Girls Boarding School (All Saints, Nainital) and never cared much about my looks. It was only after leaving school did I realize what male attention was. Girls have always been very comfortable around me but I always chose my friends with care. You are doing two films with Himesh Reshammiya. Let's talk about those. I've heard you play a woman with way too much cash in A New Love Ishtory. What's the role like in Mudh Mudh Ke Na Dekh Mudh Mudh?

Niharika: My role in Mudh mudh ke.. is very different from the one I play in A new Love Ishtory. In Love Ishtory I play a rich successful businesswoman whereas in Mudh mudh ke.. I play a young NRI Gujrati girl who is modern and yet traditional at the same time. Another difference in both the films is that in Love Ishtory, Himesh is in love with me and in Mudh mudh ke.. I'm in love with him. Are you done shooting for Love Ishtory? What is the schedule like for Mudh Mudh Ke?

Niharika: I'm shooting for both the films simultaneously. We've finished shooting a major chunk of Love Ishtory and completed one long schedule of Mudh mudh ke.. as well. Both the films will release next year. How did you get the offers for both movies?

Niharika: There is no great story behind this one. Himesh called me one day and narrated Love Ishtory to me over the phone and asked me to go meet John Matthew Mathan. John auditioned me the next day and I was signed for the film soon after. I guess they must've liked my audition tape coz I was offered Mudh mudh ke.. right after that and I signed it even before I started shooting for the first film. Himesh is a pretty unconventional hero – he'll be the first to tell you this. Honestly did you catch yourself wishing you had Shahrukh Khan as your costar in at least one of those movies?

Niharika: I'm not retiring after these two films. I promise you that! I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to work with other actors in the future. Himesh spotted me and gave me a fantastic debut and I'll always be grateful to him for that. Tell us about your first meeting with Himesh. He seems to be a tremendous source of positive energy and encouragement. Did he sing Mashallah Subhanallah as soon as he laid eyes on you?

Niharika: Not exactly :) But you'll be surprised to know that I met Himesh face to face for the very first time (only) after I'd signed both the films. And the first time I saw him, I thought he had the kindest face I'd ever seen. Anything about Himesh that surprised you because you weren't expecting it?

Niharika: The one thing that surprises me and impresses me about Himesh is his ability to multi-task. He's extremely hardworking and shocks me with his energy. You were crowned Ponds Femina Miss Earth in 2005. You've done modeling. You are now an actress. What were the hardest things you had to learn in each profession?

Niharika: The hardest and the most important thing I've learnt at every stage in my career is PATIENCE! Ok Niharika, you've appeared in advertisements for lots of products. But I'm going to ask you about products you personally use.

What brand of soap do you use?

Niharika: I don't use soap. I use soap free liquid bodywash and a mild cleanser for the face. What brand of shampoo do you use?

Niharika: I love my hair and I take great care of I prefer using a herbal shampoo to protect it from any unnatural products Are you a tea drinker? What brand of tea do you drink?

Niharika: I don't drink tea or coffee Which cell phone do you own?

Niharika: Nokia N95 8GB Which MP3 Player do you own?

Niharika: Philips Home Theatre and my car's music system Where do you buy most of your clothes from?

Niharika: I love shopping...and I can shop anywhere! But I mostly pick up Western Casuals from Mango, Zara, Bebe, River Island, Forever 21.

I pick up Indian Wear from Ritu Kumar, Anita Dongre, Mandira Wirk and a couple of other Indian designers. Finally, this is a mandatory question for everyone on the Drift: can you fold a fitted bed sheet properly?

Niharika: I went to a boarding school as a kid and have been living on my own for the last seven years. I guess that should explain that I can do everything that needs to be done with bedsheets, pillowcases, curtains or upholstery of any kind :)

More: Niharika's catalog for Sia Lifestyles

Niharika in Babul Supriyo's video for Tere Liye

Niharika for Hair O Max


Anonymous said...

she looks rly pretty in the third where she's holding a cup.. like a better looking exotified drew barrymore

never heard of her before but she seems nice

95% of bollywood ladies say they were tomboys in school..

Anonymous said...

okay WTF is "It's complicated" under relationship status supposed to mean on Facebook

what's so effin complicated about a relationship, you're either single or you're not.. WTF


maxdavinci said...

damn! loved the first pic!

I know you're too cheeky to invite her just for the restaurant poster! The real reason being that she is the only female who would have done two films with Himesva!

It's an achievement in itself you know!

Another difference in both the films is that in Love Ishtory, Himesh is in love with me and in Mudh mudh ke.. I'm in love with him.

can't say more beyond this!

Anonymous said...

wow she seems rly nice. hope she has a gr8 career. she's better looking than most girls out there for sure.

Anonymous said...

megania, who are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Aspi, I have not seen Himesh's movies but seen pictures and promos. Niharika is the best looking actress he's ended up with. In that pix from Mudh Mudh he should be Mudh Mudh and looking at Niharika and not that other girl.

Anonymous said...

Finally a great answer to the fitted bed sheet question!! When are these movies coming out - any release dates? I think after Karzzzzzzz the pressure is on Himesh. Hope Niharika can be his good luck charm. All the best!!!

- Priti

Anonymous said...

If I had a nickel for everytime I heard an actress role defined as "modern with traditional values" I would be a rich person. Seems like every hindi movie either has a simple or a modern girl with traditional values which means they wear western clothes and at some point in the movie do a karwachauth fast.

Agreed, liked her answer with the bedsheet question and she does look like Drew Barrymore in that picture.

Anonymous said...

Aah, we now closer to a Himanshu interview on the drift...

NatC said...

Wow she must be really special cause she did 2 movies with Himesh bhai......She does look good too...
Thanks again aspi for a great interview.

Anonymous said...

..Himesh has the kindest face?? this is a new one.(sounds genuinely felt too since she could have said something more gushing)..
agree with m on the tomboy comment ha ha.
Maybe time for drift phaltu advice?
to rising stars - avoid saying things like 'I was a tomboy in school', 'got into modeling by accident - really wanted to be an architect'. 'this is a different love story' :)

Unknown said...

Hey, I'm glad Niharika stopped by. I won't lie: I was interested because she was Himanshu's heroine. But she comes across as a very down to earth and canny person. She's friendly but has a very well defined sense of boundaries. She's just super easy to like when you interact with her.

meena, I think the 'kindest face' comment might be on to something. We might well have unraveled the mystery of Himesh's global charm.

Anonymous said...

Wow, nice interview! Driftji, only a true blue HR fan would persuade his heroines for interviews too. I hope Himass loves you right back!

BTW, I too love her picture with the coffee cup.

Anonymous said...

And now the psycho-analysis:
This tom-boy-turned-model-turned actor...
Women can be very psychologically harsh to each other. All girls hostels are all about the pecking order and popularity. Competitiveness masked by sweetness. Great preparation for the Bollywood jungle....Niharika will survive and thrive!

Anonymous said...

that other actress in the pix with himesh is jennifer kotwal. ritu, i agree with where himesh should be mudh mudh ke. lol.

Anonymous said...

Well, well, well! Out comes the truth!
I thought we were frequenting the said restaurant because of the chicken tikka masaala. Instead, it seems the menu AND the ambiance have mirch-masaala. Hmmm----eesh!
So, it's the cute photos that put Driftji in the post-buffet stupor?

Unknown said...

Memsaab, anyone who likes Bips is good with me. Although a picture of Himesh up there would be best.

musical said...

She's cute! And i like her answer, "I'm not retiring after these two films. I promise you that!" :).

And i also like her choice of phone (a decent camera). iPhone camera on the other hand.....

Anonymous said...

Have not seen you comment on Slumdog Millionaire. frieda pinto is getting a lot of attention.

Unknown said...

anon, haven't seen it yet. But I have read much about Freida. I think its super cool that she has gotten the kind of exposure she has. But I can also hear teeth grinding from those who've waited in line :)

Niharika might give us some additional pics for this piece. Will put those up if I get them.

Unknown said...

Ok, why is AdBrite showing slutty chicks in my ad spaces? I set the filter to "family friendliest" now didn't I? Guess the definition of family friendly is changing.

Kind of like how everyone declared that America had changed as soon as Barack got elected.

Anonymous said...

Niharika Niharika
Mushkil hai tere bina jeena
Meri khwaish ho tum
Mere dil ka paseena

Anonymous said...

Didn't you use the same line on Katrina?

Anonymous said...

I love these Indian actresses. They all have names that let me reuse my poetry. After all yeh recycling ka zamanaa hai!

Anonymous said...

OMG! Hrithik just confirmed he signed SLB's next with

*be still my beating heart*


Kanan said...

Cool interview & Niharika looks pretty. I too like the shot with that hot water mug? :P She doesn't drink tea/coffee, right. She reminds me of someone.. can't figure who.

Aspi, gaylord doesn't have Madhubala pic? How utterly ridiculous is that!

Unknown said...

Gaylord does have a Madhubala pic. But its a super blown up picture on the special "Legend Chicks of Bollywood" wall.

Aish is on that too but I can't remember who else.

Anonymous said...

Yea she definitely has everything going for her in the looks department dunno about her capabilities in the histronics department. Her debuting with himes bhai doesn't hold much for her as he's known to keep all the limelight frmly trained on himself ( soo self obssesed!! Still I wish her all the luck. Nice to have a fresh faced chic with girl next doorish charm on a choked- with-Plastic bollywood horizon.

P.S: M & J For God sake she doesn't look anywhere close to Drew Barrymore. Guess you are a bit muddled up with Drew Barrymore's identity. DB is supposed to look like this:

Anonymous said...

on third pic she so does look like a pretty version of Drew Barrymore IMO

just without the downs that D.B. looks like she has, no disrespect

Kanan said...

Oh Aspi, that's nice to know she's on there. For a moment I wanted to start a morcha on that. :P

Btw, in that last pic, Niharika looks a lot like Sushmita Sen, doesn't she? Or it's just the shot and angle may be.

Unknown said...

She has a mild resemblance. I'll put some more pics up soon that she was kind enough to send so we can see more of her.