There is a scene in Breathe: Into the Shadows, where Nithya Menen, who plays a chef, has a face-to-face, unexpected encounter with cop Amit Sadh while she is at work in a hotel. Her calm composure while she answers his probing questions, her casual instructions to a fellow chef on the dish that she has left to cook in the kitchen, and the huge sigh of relief she gives out after she is done answering questions. These are fleeting moments that required contrasting emotions, which Nithya portrays with enviable ease. And this is just one of the many scenes, where she steals the show with her understated yet convincing performance. As she makes her OTT debut, we caught up with her for a quick Q&A. Excerpts from the interview:

From starring in huge blockbuster films in the South, to making a digital debut with Breathe: Into The Shadows has the transition been easy?

Nithya Menen Prime Video

The transition has been nothing less than an adventure! I feel I have been really fortunate to have received opportunities to work across such impactful and incredible projects. For me everything just happened one after the other, it was just last year that I made my debut in Bollywood with Mission Mangal and this year I am debuting in OTT with Abundantia Entertainment and Amazon Prime Video for Breathe: Into the Shadows. I feel that with hard work and perseverance dreams do come true!

What drew you to this web series, which was probably missing in the films that you were doing?
Working on the digital space wasn’t really a conscious decision. But when I read the script, saying yes was a no-brainer, it was so unique. Abha, the character I play has many complexities and layers that make her so much more intriguing. It goes beyond than just being the quintessential onscreen helpless mother. The experimental nature of the medium offers a chance to explore the character’s emotional graph in a much more elaborated manner. I think this is one aspect which I feel is different from movies, otherwise, it's more or less the same.

Just like OTT has given content creators a fresh lease in terms of creativity, do you think that actors too now have more avenues to explore for their talent?
Yes, of course. OTT is the creative boom that everybody needed in the entertainment space. It has helped in creating a wide array of opportunities not just for us actors but for creators as well! Even for the audience, it provides a diverse range of content that everybody can enjoy as per their tastes and preferences.

OTT is the creative boom that everybody needed in the entertainment space. It has helped in creating a wide array of opportunities not just for us actors but for creators as well!

The Madhavan starrer Breathe was a huge hit. Amit Sadh has been in that one too. So did you and Abhishek Bachchan as newcomers feel any pressure?
The pressure of giving your best to your art remains constant across platforms; irrespective if it’s a movie or a series or in this case, a new chapter for a particular series. The pressure is never off but that is what makes it challenging and more exciting. In the case of Breathe, the first season was a completely different story. A person who hasn’t seen the first season will still be able to enjoy and catch on with this new chapter.

Fridays are big for film stars as that’s when the verdict of their films is mostly out. How will you adjust to OTT where every episode has a different reaction?
That is not true because eventually everything on the streaming platforms, especially, something like a thriller or a romantic comedy is judged over its binge-worthiness. The audiences and critics judge the whole series together. Maybe there will a few scenes or episodes that standout or disappoint but as far as web series are concerned, they are judged in their entirety, just as cinema.

Nithya Menen Amazon Prime Video

Finally, you have been acting for long, is direction/production on the cards soon?
Right now, I am getting a lot of acting opportunities and wish to focus on that for a while. But you never know, maybe in the future if the right idea or script comes along, I might be tempted to try it. I believe in trying everything and wouldn’t say no if a great opportunity arises.

Quick Takes

  • When you are not shooting, you love to: Be normal, rest, rejuvenate.
  • What new skill did you learn during COVID lockdown: Dance, started learning a language
  • Your favourite show to binge watch on: Modern Family, Space Force
  • Your comfort food: Dal and rice
  • Family for you means: Memories
  • Friends for you mean: Understanding