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Being on top: Niruta Singh


- Arati Gurung

I first saw her when I was doing my school homework in front of the TV. I grew up dancing to her hit number ‘sapana bhai aankha ma’ and for the last couple of years I’d been seeing a lot of her on that huge Muna chiya billboard at the Tripureshwor junction. I am not a movie buff so I barely know anything about the actress, I never intended to be sort of ‘growing up’ with her - it was just that she was easily noticeable. So when I met her for the first time last week on the sets of ‘Daar’, I was surprised to see she was just as small as me (even slimmer) and still as young as I’d first seen her on TV. As we got down to chit chat, I found out there was more to Niruta Singh than what I’d seen of her, but obviously.

Many of us know Kollywood came to Niruta Singh in the form of director Tulsi Ghimire, who also happens to be her father’s friend. Mr. Ghimire convinced her parents into getting the young Niruta into films and although initially her parents didn’t allow her to work for any other director, Niruta’s success cast magic on the Singh family and the rest is history.

With the country’s last blockbuster Darpan Chaya (released seven years ago and grossed NRS 20 million) to her credit, Niruta Singh’s popularity made her one of the very few artists to have work even during the peak of the country’s insurgency, a time that took the industry down to making 8 films a year.

Does that mean Niruta Singh has no competitors? ‘No there are amazing actresses in Kollywood, but I think my competition is with none but myself. I have never been happy with any of my work; I’m always looking at myself on the screen and questioning how I could have been so terrible and I make note of what I should do better next time.’

So there’s never been a satisfying movie till date? ‘Sadly no, but I think that’s good for me because it’s what keeps me going.’ she says with a smile. She continues to tell me about her desire to do different roles, ones like Aishwarya Rai in Umrao Jaan or Jennifer Lopez in Shall We Dance. ‘Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere have mesmerized me, I watched that movie 5 times already and I still can’t get enough!’

And what about her, who does Niruta think she looks great on screen with? ‘Everyone says Dilip Raymajhi and I look good together and I think since we are good friends off screen, we have good on-screen chemistry.’

She takes up a mirror and checks on her make up. She crinkles her nose and tells me of her obsession with mirrors; is it because she knows she’s beautiful? ‘On the contrary’, she says with a broad grin, ‘I don’t know what people see in me, I find myself okay. I think I look at the mirror to find ways to make myself more attractive! I am constantly looking into it, complaining about this or that and sometimes I get so fed up I throw it away just to pick it up again!’ she laughs at herself.

Is she as obsessed with fashion, is that where all her money goes? ‘I’m crazy about shoes and bags’, she admits, ‘but I’m not that crazy to spend my hard earned money on fashion. I save and invest.’

Talking about craze, I ask her what she thinks is the reason Nepali movies have not been able to create that craze among the middle and upper class society. ‘It’s clearly because of the lack of educated, disciplined professionals in the industry. Be it with the movie production or the celebrities individual lives, people here should know how to carry themselves and their work with dignity.’

Is her superstar status why she hasn’t accepted acting in the various videos and telefilm’s offered to her? ‘No that’s not it at all; I didn’t accept those offers because I just don’t have the time. Even with movies, I am taking it one at a time. I have learnt that I shouldn’t outrun myself and that quality is more important than quantity.’

Her cell phone rings and as she excuses herself to receive it, she shrieks out ‘Dijju!’ Ten minutes later she settles back in her chair and tells me how she misses being with the family on special occasions. Is that a complaint? ‘Yes, the only time I get frustrated with work is when these irregular work times take me away from family gatherings and celebrations. Otherwise I’m always praying that this make up never comes off, as heavy as it is!’ Both of us laugh at the comment.

Sensing how happy she is, I had to ask her if there were any regrets of getting into the film industry. ‘ I was doing my graduate studies when I was offered my first role and I do regret I never got to complete my studies.’ Will she ever get back to it? She promptly replies ‘I will, I don’t know when but I know I will.’

Come to think of it, what would she become had destiny not brought her here? ‘An interior designer!’ she responds with a twinkle in those famous eyes. She tells me of how she’d done the interiors for two other movies and has also chipped in some of her ideas in her latest movie ‘Darr’. ‘I think it will be what I will do after my life in cinema’, she says.

What about a life partner then? I tell her of a rumor that stated she was married. ‘The media has had me married a hundred times already!’ she laughs. I had to ask her, whether she believes in finding her own man or if she’s leaving it to her parents. ‘Even if I do fall in love, my parents will have to approve of my marriage. I cannot go against my parents wishes and so far, I haven’t fallen for anyone so I guess my parents will do the deed!’ Will the lucky man be from the industry or out? ‘Honestly, I would want a man outside the film industry because I don’t think I will feel comfortable mixing my professional and personal life together. It would be interesting to have a man who has his own world and I have my own!’ 

The sun seems to have gone into hiding and it starts to get pretty windy, she offers me a cup of coffee and I can’t resist, for herself she orders black tea. Does she have any strict diet to thank her figure for, I ask.. ‘I used to do regular exercising earlier but lately due to the odd hours of work, I don’t have much time to work out. But I do keep a watch on what I eat.’

As we sip on our drinks, I inquire how Niruta Singh was as a child. ‘Growing up as the second youngest among 5 children, I did get a lot of attention. I remember I seldom did my homework like a normal child; I was always wearing my mom’s sari’s and makeup pretending to be a teacher! I couldn’t finish my homework without acting out the scene!’ 

The director has sent for the actress’s next scene. I quickly ask, besides the people’s love, what else makes Niruta Singh happy that she joined the industry? ‘My parents are very proud of my achievement, they light up when people take my name as an actress and for a daughter there’s nothing more soul satisfying.’

As I watch her get ready for her scene, I can’t help but feel how genuine Niruta Singh is and how firm she is to her values. Something in me says the actress will ultimately get where she aims to be, in the people’s hearts not as just another actress - but a one of a kind artist.

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