Mission Mangal actor and South star Nithya Menen on why she was in no rush to sign Bollywood projects

Over a decade into her flourishing career in the South, Nithya Menen is ready to make her Bollywood debut with Mission Mangal. It is easy to see that she believes in content rather than calculated moves — the actor has no qualms foraying into the industry with an ensemble film, that also features Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Sonakshi Sinha and Kirti Kulhari. “The way I have operated has always been unconventional. I don’t have a strategy. When I select a film, it is on the basis that I would like to watch it,” says Menen.

Over the past few years, several filmmakers tried to woo her for Bollywood. Quiz her why it took her so long to explore Hindi cinema, and she replies, “For me, Bollywood is just another language as I work in four different languages [Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam]. I didn’t want to succumb to the pressure of doing a Hindi film. I felt that people weren’t able to understand my space. I have always been content-driven and that’s what worked with Mission Mangal. R Balki [producer] honestly told me that it’s an ensemble film. Jagan [Shakti, director] was aware of my work and had an understanding of the artiste that I am.”

While it was earlier believed that only B-Town stars enjoy pan-India appeal, the actor dismisses the notion. “Few months ago, I stepped out of a Mumbai restaurant and was surprised to see people asking me for selfies. Later, I figured that the dubbed version of South films are popular. It’s not necessary to be a Bollywood star to be recognised.”

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