Nisha Aaliya is a British Actress based in London. Dutch born, from an Indian and Burmese decent.
Nisha is increasingly being seen in Indian films shot in the UK. She appeared in the Sony
Pictures-India production of Shakuntala Devi, a 2020 release, which streamed on Amazon Prime and stars acclaimed Indian actress Vidya Balan.
Nisha has also featured in the Punjabi feature film Musafir (2020) and the Hindi film
thriller Badnaam (2020) which starred well-known actor Mohit Sehgal (2020).
Her recent release is The Girl on the Train (2021) released on Netflix.
The film is an adaptation of the iconic and award-winning Hollywood film of the same name. In the film, Nisha plays the best friend of Mira, the lead character played by Parineeti Chopra and is seen in several important scenes with her.
Soon to release are two more films: the thrillers Rat on a Highway starring Randeep Hooda;
and Firrkie, starring iconic actor Jackie Shroff.
Nisha, tell us a little about yourself, have you always wanted to be an actor? (Some history would be great)
I am an actress and dancer based in London. Ethnically, I am mixed raced – Indian and Burmese. My family base in in the UAE and I was born in the Netherlands. Before becoming a TV & Film actor, I worked In a tech company, and did not have plans to pursue a career in the arts as it was not the norm for south Asian women – especially a few years ago. I studied English literature at university out of the love for reading and contextualising various texts, which has proven to be a great foundation when dismantling a script. So I feel, the signs were always there and I took the leap into acting when it dawned on me it could be my reality.
Nisha, tell us a little about your role in The Girl on The Train?
I play Piya, Parineeti Chopra’s character (Mira) best friend. She is her sounding board, humanising Mira and knocking sense into her. She’s the only one who sticks up for and stands for Mira in the movie.
For someone who is from London, tell about your journey into Bollywood?
So growing up, I’ve learnt Hindi mainly from watching a tonne of Indian films and then practicing whenever I could. I’ve found a niche here in London for myself as an actress who can speak Hindi, when Bollywood produce in London, they reach out to my agent and then I audition for the roles.
Their are many aspiring actors, writers, directors who want to move across the pond and explore the Indian Film Industry – what sort of advice would you give to someone who is starting out?
I would say to know for sure what it is you’re looking to do, and be direct with it. The industry has tonnes of artists and talent so knowing what makes you unique is important. Find the right training/area for your desired field, I feel people often think that they need to go about things the long way if acting is your thing, get yourself an agent for acting – owe it to yourself and give yourself a chance, then others will bet on you. And lastly, Always listen to your instincts, they’re usually right.
Since the release of the film on Netflix – what has the response been like for you?
The response has been uplifting and emotional. The arts community in the UK and the wider community have been so solid with the support. I had so many messages and calls about them
Watching the movie because I was in it! It trended here number 7 on Netflix just after a day of releasing! I feel grateful and more motivated knowing how many people are rooting for you.
How were you approached to play the role of Piya?
My agent had an audition for me, which I did a couple of times. I was initially called in to play a character called Parminder, but then it was decided I would play a character called Piya, who would have a bit more of a storyline and would be Mira’s only best friend.
As Cinema-Goers how do you think the pandemic has changed the way audiences view films?
I feel creativity never stops, and it’s found a way round the pandemic, in some cases, I would say it has multiplied given the tough times. I feel people are enjoying the OTT platforms netflix, Amazon and Disney plus are a few of my favs. I also feel that selecting films to watch now has become a task, so a gripping trailer is usually the decider of whether they are going to invest the next couple of hours or not over dinner.
Do you have a role model you look up to within the Indian Film Industry?
I have always looked up to priyanka chopra from a work perspective. I cannot believe she’s seen the girl on the train – which basically means she’s seen me! OMG! I have had the pleasure of working with her in a music video with nick jonas and spoke to her for a few mins which was the biggest fan girl moment I’ve ever had. I am also lucky to have worked with Parineeti Chopra, both of them are absolutely smashing it.
OTT platforms seem to the way moving forward, are you open to working on web-series?
I would love to work in webseries and OTT platforms. I have auditioned for a few things so let’s see what comes of it in the near future. I have enjoyed Made in heaven and Four more shots particularly.
What does 2021 look like for you? Are you able to share anything about your upcoming project?
I’m excited about the rest of this year. I am about to work on a couple of projects in the next few weeks and have some previous work releasing further down the year.