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Exclusive: Nitu Chandra Srivastava on why she shifted to Hollywood, ‘No one was writing roles for me in Hindi films’

Nitu Chandra Srivastava made her Hollywood acting debut with Never Back Down: Revolt (2021). The National Award winning producer has also created her mark in Bollywood with films such as Garam Masala (2005), Traffic Signal (2007) and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008) among others. The Free Press Journal caught up with her for an exclusive chat. Excerpts:

How do you look at your journey?

I started my own production house 12 years ago. I am trained in action. My Hollywood film Never Back Down: Revolt has been released. It’s been very tough to wait and watch things which I wanted to do. When I decided to do Hindi films, no one was writing roles for me. So I went and did a Greek film. Then I went to New York. I am Black Belt in Taekwondo. 

What’s the difference between working in India and abroad?

India is our country. We have our own people and we can travel all over the place in just a short span of time. But abroad, we have to sweep and swap as well. We have no house help out there. Being a sportsperson, my sportsperson spirit helped me to take everything as it comes. I have to do it or die. I always competed with myself. If you are not strong, nobody will be strongly associated with you.

How did you start your journey in Hollywood?

We have to do the same that we do here. Keep running behind your auditions, look tests and meeting people and be positive, confident. I had gone with a good body of work and was doing theatre Umrao Jaan.

How did you break the ice to get the film?

I was called a foreigner when I went for my first special screening. I was like why am I called a foreigner? A thin tall blue eye blonde is a foreigner. For them curvaceous, black hair and brown eyes, brown skin is a foreigner and they love it. When I went for the special screening of a film, everybody turned around and started looking at me. They felt I am unique and different so I was like, ‘Does it scare me?’ 

Go on…

I met David Zelon the producer and he explained to me that there are many actors coming from all over the world. ‘What is that one thing in you that we should cast you?’ I told them, ‘I am a black belt in Taekwondo and I am very confident that if you cast me, you will not regret your decision. I promise you that’. I met the writer Audrey (Arkins) for lunch at the end of the lunch meeting David told Audrey to write and design a character around me and my skills and that it has to be one of the main leads. I was the only actor from South Asia in the film. 

Elaborate about your Hollywood franchise?

Today my Hollywood film is on &Flix, I play one of the main leads. It’s a franchise of Sony Never Back Down. I am in the fourth part tilted, Never Back Down: Revolt. It’s a female-oriented action packed movie first released in 2008, 2011, 2016 and then this is the fourth one.

Hereafter, are you getting more films Hollywood?

I have two more projects but I cannot reveal much about them. One could be with the same production house as they have signed me for a two film deal. These are two different films from different productions. One is a horror and the other is again an action one.

How do you look at your transition from Bollywood to Hollywood?

It has been very good. Working in Bollywood is a part of my journey. I’m looking for quality work over quantity. I have a South Korean project for which I will be flying in the third week of April. It’s so funny that Bollywood is not ready to acknowledge it. I am not against anyone and I’m not interested in creating controversies.

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