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Nitya Mehra: “There Is A Bit Of Me In All My Characters”

She assisted Mira Nair in The Namesake and Ang Lee in The Life Of Pi. And now young and pretty Delhi girl Nitya Mehra is all set to unleash her first independent directorial venture on an unsuspecting world..

And no, Baar Baar Dekho is not about time travel.

Laughs Nitya, “I’ve been getting a lot of that response ever since the trailer came out. But no, Baar Baar Dekho is not about time travel, not in the sense that we mean it to be when some weird scientist puts the characters into a machine that takes them back in time.This is not that area of cinema at all.My film is about regret and making up for lost time. There is that sense of déjà vu that always strikes our lives when we feel we’ve been through a situation, and what if we could change it?”

So what is this strange story where the male protagonist Jai(Siddharth Malhotra)  begins to age fast?

Says Nitya mysteriously, “You will have to wait for the film to come out. I am glad the trailer has whetted people curiosity. When I decided to turn director I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall into the trap of doing the usual boy meets girl story.I wanted to do  a love story that would move the audience and make them think.”

Nitya cast Siddharth Malhotra first. “I wanted to get the casting of  my male protagonist in place first. I choseSiddharth Malhotra because of the warmth and mystery in his eyes.I had seen him in Hansee Toh Phansee ….There is a thehrao(stability) in his personality and an earnest warmth.About the aging,I was never bothered whether he would look 40 or 45 or 50. I knew the makeup guys would take care of the age. I needed someone who would convey a certain warmth. With Katrina also, the good looks were an asset. I had only seen her in two films ZindagiNa  Milegi Dobara and Raajneeti and liked her performance in both.But there is a quality of mystery about her. No one really knows the real Katrina. I wanted to tap that mystery.”

So is there more of Nitya in Sidharth or Katrina? “I think there is a  bit of me in all my characters in Baar BaarDekho including Ram Kapoor . The Punjabi side of my personality is manifested in him.”

Nitya’s early days in Delhi were far removed from the film industry. “My life was not anything that could be considered even the least Bollywood . But I always wanted to direct films. So I headed to Mumbai. Unfortunately a family crisis beckoned me back to my home in Delhi.And there I remained for the next few years. Luckily for me a lot of international films are shot in Delhi, so I got a chance to work with the likes of Mira Nair and Ang Lee.”

Nitya has also worked with Anil Kapoor in 5 episodes of the series 24 “He is so inspiring. So is Farhan Akhtarwith whom I’ve had the chance to work closely.”

Nitya has never felt like a female director. “I am not making feminist statements through my films. Nor are my films going to be about women’s empowerment. But I won’t shy away from making a film with a female protagonist either.’

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