Niveda Thomas
Niveda Thomas

Niveda Thomas talks about her role in ‘Gentleman’, learning Telugu, why she didn’t feel like bidding adieu to the unit and balancing architecture with films…

More than being nervous, Niveda Thomas is gung-ho about her Telugu debut, ‘Gentleman’ in which she is cast opposite Nani. “My present situation is like, ‘How do I make the film interesting for me?’ And there’s another me who is like, ‘You don’t have to do anything because the film is as interesting as it could get.’ I’m just trying to do calm down,” she begins, promising that ‘Gentleman’ is a kind of film that the Telugu industry is yearning for long. “Industry would be proud of it once it opens.”

The Chennai girl plays Catherine, a VFX designer in the romantic thriller. “Catherine is an independent, vulnerable and modern girl who is ready to take on any challenge head-on. She is very romantic too but doesn’t open up very quickly,” she points out, further revealing that after director Indraganti Mohanakrishna narrated her part, she had two months to think and get into the psyche of the role.

‘Gentleman’ is Niveda’s debut in Tollywood. She had done a bunch of Tamil and Malayalam films, notable of which include ‘Papanasam’, ‘Jilla’ and ‘Veruthe Oru Bharya’.  So, Telugu must have been difficult? She informs that it was not difficult but at the same time not easy too. “When I first dropped by the sets I was expecting a lot of Malayalis and Tamilians around but to my surprise I discovered none.

Everyone was speaking in Telugu. Vasthunda… raledha… It was very new for me. In addition to Malayalam and Tamil, I know English and Hindi very well and when I started conversing in Hindi, the unit had a trouble communicating back. It was when I decided to learn Telugu. I thank my hairdressers and makeup men in this regard. I can now speak in good Telugu,” she states, smiling.

Given the fluency with which she speaks in Telugu now, wasn’t she tempted to dub for her role? “In fact, the unit wanted me to, as much as I wanted to. But I had to rush back to Chennai to give my architecture exams,” she sighs. She continues after a pause, “Many directors are narrating me scripts in Telugu these days. They are like, ‘Telugu vasthunda meeku (Do you know Telugu),’ to which I’m like, ‘Konchem slow ga matladithe ardham avvuthundi (I understand if someone speaks in a slow accent).’”

Niveda insists she was made to feel like home on sets of ‘Gentleman’ and that she couldn’t have got a better launch pad in Telugu. “When I first met the cast and crew for a script-reading session I knew everything was in place for the film. I am a big fan of Nani and I told him about it the moment I met him. He made me feel very much at home and we even discussed about Kamal Haasan while shooting. Surabhi (the other female lead) was like a sister from another mother, while Srinivas Avasarala is my bestie now.

We used to catch up every day after the shoot and even watched Nani’s ‘Krishnagaadi Veera Prema Gaadha’ together. We kind of bonded so well that I was crying on the last day. I didn’t feel like returning to home. I was like a kid in a kindergarten who doesn’t want to head back to home. I couldn’t have asked anything more for my Telugu debut.”

Especially with Surabhi, Nivedha says, she had a whale of time. “She was the first actor who I met in connection with the film and we immediately got along well. In fact, we got so comfortable with each other that as the shoot culminated it turned out to be difficult for Indraganti to shoot a particular scene involving both of us as we were constantly giggling,” she recalls with a smile.

Moving forward, the petite actress wants to maintain a balance between films and architecture, her second love. “I have two more years to complete my architecture course, post which I will devote significant time to films. I’ve been balancing both the fields since a very young age and I hope to do so in the future too. I can’t do away with either of them,” she concludes.

By Nagaraj Goud