Scam 2003 and Heeramandi actor Nivedita Bhargava: When destiny works, things fall in place - Hindustan Times
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Scam 2003 and Heeramandi actor Nivedita Bhargava: When destiny works, things fall in place

Jun 25, 2024 06:31 PM IST

Lucknowite Nivedita Bhargava on starting to act at 50 and working in projects like Heeramandi, Scam 2003 and The Railway Men.

After singing, production designing, teaching and multiple jobs, acting happened to actor Nivedita Bhargava at the age of 50. Last seen in Heeramandi: The Diamond Bazaar, she played protagonist Abdul Kalim Telgi’s mother in Scam 2003 and Babil Khan’s mother in The Railway Men: The Untold Story of Bhopal 1984.

Nivedita Bhargava at Lucknow Short Film Festival
Nivedita Bhargava at Lucknow Short Film Festival

“Yes, I graduated from IT College, Lucknow in 1986, and 10 years later I graduated from the National School of Drama (1996) and 20 years after that (2016) I got my first acting assignment with writer-director Purva Naresh’s play, Ladies Sangeet, where I acted and sang some bandish composed by Shubha Mudgalji. I believe in karma but much later understood that destiny plays an important role, and when it works everything falls in place,” says Bhargava.

The actor says, “I started acting at 50 which I never thought I would do, and today, I cannot contemplate anything outside acting! It’s the best thing that happened to me. So, there is no age to start. I have taken every day as it comes and am ready to take on everything that comes my way with full dedication and honesty. And probably, that’s the reason I delivered as I had the experience of singing, production designing, assisting in direction and scriptwriting, teaching and so many things I did on my way to surviving in Mumbai.”

Nivedita with Sanjay Leela Bhansali during shoot of Heeramandi song where she lent her voice
Nivedita with Sanjay Leela Bhansali during shoot of Heeramandi song where she lent her voice

She recalls how her first work was a blink-and-miss role in Sacred Games. “In Season One, I play a grieving mother with a naqab which was shot from behind. (Director Anurag) Kashyap liked the shot and in Season Two he gave me a proper shot with actor Saif Ali Khan. So, one thing led to another. In Heeramandi, Sanjay (Leela Bhansali, director) ji came to know about my singing and used my voice in the folk song Main Teri Chanda Jaisi Naar and in another Punjabi track, where I played the dholak as well,” says the 36 Farmhouse (2022) actor.

“OTT is the best platform that has happened to me. I am working with Subhash Ghai’s acting college, I did TV production, theatre and lots behind camera in films but this recognition is phenomenal. People ask me ‘kahan thi aap ab tak ?’ but things happen at their own pace,” she adds.

‘I will always remain a Lucknow girl’

“I left Lucknow in 1994 after getting admission in NSD, but by heart, I will always remain a Lucknow girl. We have a house on La Touch Road and every time I come, I take a rickshaw and visit my school St Agnes’ Loreto, IT College, Aminabad, Qaiserbagh and Hazratganj buying local stuff and savouring delicacies. I refresh my memories and miss them a lot,” says Bhagarva on her visit to her hometown, to participate in the Lucknow Short Film Festival.

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