Interview: Nabha Natesh speaks about her theatre days, love for saris and why she enjoys painting
As Maestro is all set for a release today, we catch up with the gorgeous Nabha Natesh for a quick tête-à-tête
ONE OF THOSE rare phenomenons, actress Nabha Natesh was a hit from the word go. Popularly known as the ‘iSmart beauty’ in the Telugu states (a moniker she earned because of her role in the film iSmart Shankar), she began her career when she was merely 19 years old. Now, all set for the release of Maestro, (Andhadhun’s Telugu remake), Nabha steps into the shoes of Radhika Apte’s character, Sophie. In a freewheeling conversation with INDULGE, the popular actress spoke about her journey so far with detailed anecdotes and gave us a peek into her life beyond the big screen. The talented actress also chatted with us about her passion for dance, saris and more. Excerpts:
Being an engineering graduate, why did you decide to get into movies?
Even as a child, dancing and acting were two things that I enjoyed the most. The prospect of sitting at a desk and running my fingers on a keypad did not excite me. It was my mother who suggested that I pursue different things. It was then that I started to try modelling and theatre. Being a model was not something I enjoyed; wearing someone else's designs did not interest me. Then, I tried theatre and I was the happiest when I was on the stage. I, then, decided that I was cut out for acting.
Did you enjoy your theatre days? Do they have an impact on the kind of movies you pick or the prep that follows?
Yes, they were indeed the best days of my life. I was the most reflective when I was on stage. Acting is my primary craft and theatre sort of puts you in a place where you can understand the tone, and body language of your part. I also took up classical dance classes to understand my rhythm, zone of expression and emotions.
I am not sure if I can use 'impact' here but yes, it does help me with the way I work on my characters. The first lesson you get from theatre is that your primary goal is to work on the character and keep it organic. When I listen to the script, I already start working on how to play it, in my head. But, some roles really push you, like iSmart Shanker. I had to play a girl who was aggressive and the role required me to change my body language and personality. So when something like that is thrown at me, then the process and the prep change. Otherwise, the way I look at my work has remained the same.
Is there a dream role you wish to portray?
The thing with us theatre folks is that we are greedy. We want to tap into every genre, and experiment as much as we can. But, I do want to play an intense and grey character. Not in a thriller though. In that genre, the character becomes a part of the story. But to play a flawed and layered role in your regular cinema would excite me.
Would you call yourself a fitness enthusiast?
Not really. I am extremely lethargic and manage to exercise only four hours a week. It is my diet and eating habits that are saving my life.
What kind of food do you prefer? Do you have cheat days?
I am a huge fan of South Indian food and I cannot do without my idlis for breakfast. I also enjoy a bowl of sambar rice or biryani.
To be honest, I do not believe in cheat days. I like to keep it clean, simple and mostly eat only homemade meals. But, if I wish to indulge, then a bar of chocolate is harmless, right?
We love your sari posts on Instagram. What is your favourite piece in your wardrobe?
(Laughs) Yes, I do love saris. I learned how to drape one when I was just eight years old. I remember when I was in college, ‘traditional or ethnic’ day was something that I looked forward to. I would spend about three hours draping saris for my friends and it made me happy. I don’t think I have a favourite, but I really like lightweight saris that are easy to carry. Kanchi pattu saris are also very dear to me, but I do need help draping and carrying them around.
Apart from saris, do you have a go-to fashion look?
Yes, I do. For me, a simple t-shirt and a pair of jeans with my favourite sunglasses is a look I often go for. This is a classic and one cannot go wrong with it.
You are also an artist. How often do you paint?
I’ve enjoyed painting since I was a child. It clears my head and helps me get a better understanding of aesthetics. But, for a long time, I could not paint and I think during the first lockdown, I challenged the artist in me and kept creating as many pieces as I could. There was so much free time, you know!
Tell us a little bit about what the lockdowns were like for you?
The first lockdown did not affect me much. I was home, I painted, worked on myself and thought of it as a good break. I also had two releases — Solo Brathuke So Better and Alludu Adhurs — after the first lockdown. I think it was the second lockdown that affected me in a different way. The increasing cases and deaths in the country were scary. Going out for work seemed like a distant dream and even with two releases, the whole period was stressful for me.
What do you do when you are not working?
When I do not work, I am home hanging out with my friends and family. I do not really enjoy social events, so I prefer staying home. It is safe to say that I am a couch potato.
I do have a few interesting projects across languages that I will officially announce soon. Hopefully, things do not get shut down again.
Maestro releases today on Disney + Hotstar.