For an "adventure seeker" that Nimrat Kaur says she is, professional acting came as an organic career choice to keep in touch with her "inner child" and make her life interesting.
Living the life of an actor is "nothing short of a dream" said Kaur, who believes in growing each day with less baggage.
"It's been nothing short of a dream. I have never planned anything. I just go from day to day knowing that I want to keep my life interesting. I want to keep working with fun people and I want to keep learning from them... Unlearning the stuff I think I know. It's very important to grow with less and less baggage," the actor told PTI in an interview.
Kaur started off as a model and till date remains etched in the minds of the indie pop fans as the vivacious 'girl in the theatre' from Kumar Sanu's hit song "Tera Mera Pyar" in 2005.
Eight years later came "The Lunchbox", a tender love story, emerged as a turning point for the actor who played Ila, a neglected housewife who forms a bond with a stranger through a delicious change of fate.
Since then, Kaur said she made sure to attach herself with people who compliment her curiosity for life.
"What keeps me going is (the urge) to keep the freshness of life alive, to keep in touch with the child within. I always make sure I attach myself to people who are like that. I'm a curious person. I'm an adventure seeker. I'm not a wild girl. I don't live wildly, I live everything through my parts," she added.
Whether it was appearing in the acclaimed American series "Homeland" as an ISI agent, ALT Balaji show "The Test Case" in which she played an Indian Army officer, or a homemaker who refuses to let of the Chief Ministership after she tastes power in "Dasvi", the Pilani-born actor said she tries to do justice to her roles to the best of her ability.
"... Whatever I've been able to do so far, it's been really fun to become different people because I think that's pretty much why all of us are actors, because our real lives really don't interest us beyond a point. And it's almost to live your own life knowing that you won't be able to escape it and become somebody else. So I have a lot of fun with everything I do," she added.
Even while working on her latest project "School of Lies", the 41-year-old said it was difficult for her to stay in the serious zone of the mystery drama series because the team was shooting in some of the most picturesque locales of Ooty and Coonoor.
"We were in Lawrence School, Lovedale, by far one of the most beautiful campuses I've ever seen. It was actually very hard for me to remain serious because it was so pretty. It was raining and I love having my chai, pakoras and coffee and all of that good stuff... So with every project I feel like life is only getting more and more exciting and we are really spoilt for choice." In the series, currently streaming on Disney+ Hotstar, Kaur plays Nandita Verma, a student counsellor with a moral conflict who tries to decode the mystery behind the disappearance of a 12-year-old boy from a private boarding school in the fictional Dalton Town.
The actor said she was "all ears" when she was offered an interesting character like Nandita Verma.
"With this part what comes is the interesting perspective she has which is non-judgemental about some very complex situations. It also then probes her to delve deeper within and address some childhood issues which she hasn't before and her demons she carries as an adult," she said.
Recounting her childhood years, Kaur said she changed schools a lot as an Army kid and the only challenge was how to start friendships again.
"I moved schools till I was 11 years old. Then after that I was in one school from 8th to 12th standard. But by then I had already changed five schools. So, I had no childhood friends. I still don't. I don't really have thick school friendships. I wish sometimes that I had that as an adult where people know each other from age two and four," she said.
Somehow moving schools and cities, the actor said, prepared her for her future profession.
"I found it highly exciting to pack bags, go to a new place, and then make that home. And that's probably why you find so many of us (Army kids) in the industry because we know how to blend in wherever we go. That is something almost like I was being prepared for this job as a child because it's a job requirement.
"So it was all good, I have never had any untoward incidents, I've never been bullied. I think I was also a very entertaining person, so the one thing common that kept running through all my schools was that I was always on stage... debating, sports, extracurricular activities. So, that was the one way I knew that everybody would know me," she added.
Talking about "School of Lies", the actor said the series shines a light on some necessary conversations which remain unaddressed by adults.
"I have seen that in our society it's almost encouraged to not speak about stuff because it's inconvenient... So, if you go through something very often the way out is to keep silent. I feel that is the bedrock of a disturbed life and an adulthood that doesn't see its full potential. You always kind of carry that baggage whether you've been through abuse, molestation, bullying, or anything of any sort," she said.
Kaur, whose series credits also include Fox's "Wayward Pines", said she is happier working as an actor today than she was a decade ago.
"Such great parts are being written for women. There's such great work happening. People are making a 'School of Lies' because they can. This would have not been a film or it would have faced so many challenges had it been a film. I love working as an actor today, so much more than perhaps 10 or 15 years ago when your choices were few and far between," she added.
Next up for the actor is "Happy Teachers' Day", "Section 84", and season two of Apple Original series "Foundation", which premieres in July.
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