PeepingMoon Exclusive: Irrfan played a key role in making my foundation in Hollywood stronger- Nitu Chandra Srivastava


Born in Bihar, Nitu Chandra Srivastava has mapped out her way to Hollywood in less than 20 years since her Bollywood debut. Her first Hollywood film titled Never Back Down: Revolt released in the US in November last year and now, the audience in India can also watch the action-thriller. 

In an exclusive conversation with PeepingMoon, Nitu spoke about Never Back Down: Revolt, taking a leap of faith after making a successful career in Bollywood, and her desire to explore various international film markets. 

Excerpts from the interview:

Never Back Down: Revolt is an action thriller. How did you prepare for your role?

I am a four Dan black belt in Taekwondo and I have represented India thrice- This is what I told the producer of Never Back Down: Revolt and hence I was offered this film. I play one of the main leads among two girls and I got to do my own action in London in 1 degree. I had the best time of my life getting beaten up every day.   

Who inspired you to take the leap of faith? 

I will not say that I was inspired by somebody. I’m from Bihar and was a school sports champion. I always wanted to go out of Bihar, see what more I can do and what opportunities I can create for myself. From Bihar, I went to Delhi to study and from there, I flew to Mumbai and made a career in Bollywood. In Mumbai, I was doing a lot of things. I started my own production house and one of the films titled Mithila Makhaan won a National Award. I kept myself busy with martial arts and much more. Amid this, I wondered what happens out of India if you make your own opportunities? My journey till now has been all about doing something when I think about it instead of just sitting. When I was in New York, I messaged Irrfan sir who was shooting in London in 2017. I told him that people call me a Brazilian, Lebanon and Italian too, so I was thinking of going to LA and trying my luck there. He connected me to his agents. That’s how I made contacts there. They told me if I have to work in Hollywood, I have to live in the US. Since I was a trained martial artist, I was looking at doing action stuff, which wasn’t happening much in India. That was one of the genres I wanted to try. It felt incomplete that being a martial artist, I couldn’t do action. That’s how I went out to make the world a platform and create opportunities globally. I met the producers of Never Back Down: Revolt during the premiere of Bad Boys For Life and they offered me the film.    

Did Irrfan play a key role in making your foundation strong in Hollywood?

Yes, he made the foundation strong.  

You are representing India on a global platform. Do you sense additional responsibility on your shoulders?

Never Back Down: Revolt has already released in the US and Canada and got 5 stars on Amazon. On the basis of my performance, I got two more projects here. Even in Bollywood, I am in talks for 2-3 projects. I see myself working globally. I’m aware that I am representing India and I am a brown girl on an international platform but at the same time, I’m confident about my work as the film has been received well by Indians and non-Indians. I’m sure people are India will also love it.  

You are now exploring international film markets too. Is it because Bollywood doesn’t have much to offer?

I cannot say that Bollywood doesn’t have much to offer. It is booming and making such good films. It is so courageous of the new wave of directors to make films on untouched subjects like women empowerment, LGBTQ etc. It shows that there is enough work for every actor. It is always about the right time and right place. Sometimes, a script demands a particular actor and if things don't fall in place, those projects don’t work. Bollywood has a lot to offer me. It was me who had to shine out and venture into super skills films. In a way, I have to thank Bollywood that when the time was there and I went out to look for the right projects, I didn’t get them and that pushed me against the wall to come and try my luck in the US.