Nithya Menen on her forthcoming projects, working with Vijay Sethupathi and living alone during the lockdown
When Breathe: Into the Shadows hit Amazon Prime Video in 2020, Indian and global audiences who’d not been exposed to south Indian cinema, got a glimpse of an acting talent who’s adored by millions across the country. Now, actor Nithya Menen is all set to star in the first ever Telugu web-series called Kumari Srimati on the same platform. The Bengaluru-based actress began work after spending five months at home during the pandemic and was in Kerala to shoot for the Malayalam film 19(1)(a) with Vijay Sethupathi. “The film is directed by Indhu VS, a first-time director and it’s right up my alley – not too dramatic. It’s about this simple small-town girl who gets her hands on some important documents and what she does with it later on,” says Nithya, who was thrilled to work with Sethupathi.
“We actually spoke about how we should do more films together. He’s a really nice person and we had a great time,” divulges the actress, who’s a Malayali herself.
Over the years, she has entertained fans in a range of movies across all four south Indian languages, such as Ala Modalaindi (Telugu), OK Kanmani (Tamil), Gunde Jaari Gallanthaindi (Telugu) and Ustaad Hotel (Malayalam). She even made a foray into Bollywood in 2019 with Mission Mangal. The actress’ schedule is now packed with a handful of Telugu projects abd she is also doing a Tamil movie with Dhanush. “I’m doing a Telugu film which was supposed to start in March, but we couldn’t shoot for it because of the lockdown. It is a satirical comedy and is written intelligently. That’s a genre I really like to watch too. I’m also doing Ninnila Ninnila with Ashok Selvan and Ritu Verma. As for OTT, I want to explore the area and see what more I can do. I’m also doing the first ever Telugu web-series, Kumari Srimati, which is about a small town-girl who accomplishes big things. I also have the sequel to Breathe coming up.”
On the personal front, unlike most of her contemporaries, Nithya likes to keep things private. Of course,
she’s active on social media and gives interviews. But often, she prefers to step back and soak in the company she loves most — herself. During the pandemic, the actress enjoyed time alone at her home in Bengaluru. While most people find living alone taxing on their mental health, Nithya enjoyed her own company. “I used the lockdown to do things that were purposeful – the period was absolutely brilliant for me, I loved it. Some really big changes happened personally and otherwise too. In so many facets of my life, things improved dramatically.”
Although her family also lives in Bengaluru, Nithya lives alone. “I always pick a house with a lot of greenery around, a lot of birds and no sounds of traffic – it is heaven for me. The uncertainty and the fact that we didn’t know what would happen next really excited me. There are two kinds of people – ones who get really worried when things are uncertain and people like me, who find it beautiful.” Living alone is liberating for the actress. “You need to be really sorted and have some kind of balance, otherwise, it can get really lonely. I don’t get bored at all. Sometimes, I can just be lying on the bed and listening to the birds. I have a temperament where I find a certain calmness in being by myself. During the lockdown, I also learned a lot of new things, did courses online and started learning Kathak,” she reveals.
As someone who’s born and raised in Bengaluru, the actress gets nostalgic about the ’90s she grew up in. “I really miss that Bangalore. It’s not the same anymore. After I returned home from Manipal in 2009, everything was different. I couldn’t recognise a lot of roads and remember going to CMH Road and feeling very disillusioned because I couldn’t recognise it. A flyover had come up and the boulevard lined on both sides by these huge Gulmohar trees where one could take a stroll, wasn’t there. I really wish I could see that Bengaluru again,” she reminisces.