It is widely believed that one needs to have a toned physique to click in the entertainment world, but there have been some very popular actors/entertainers who have made it big in the tinsel town despite having a plus-sized body, thereby paving the way of success for others like Nandita Srivastava, an avid dancer and aspiring actor who has taken her first step towards success with trending short video app VMate.
Nandita hails from small town of Chaibasa, the land of Jharkhand’s folk hero Birsa Munda and a mining hub, and she rarely got a right platform to showcase her various talents during her growing up days. However, things began to take a turn when she moved to Jamshedpur after marriage. The first major opportunity that came her way was participating in a popular dance reality show, ‘Dance India Dance Super Moms’. However, she could not make it beyond top 40 and the performer within went dormant. Years passed by and Nandita satiated her creative self by choreographing performances of children in some schools and society clubs. It was during this period that Nandita got introduced to the world of VMate, one of the most downloaded social media apps worldwide.
She began posting her acting and dancing videos and discovered that they were well received on the app. This new-found acceptance acted as an encouragement for Nandita who made it a point to keep posting videos on VMate amid the hustle and bustle of household. Within a short span, she bagged ‘top creator’ badge and made it to the list of VMate’s top 15 creators. Though her husband and 10-year-old son were supportive of this new avenue, her in-laws and other relatives weren’t very pleased with the idea. But thanks to Nandita’s consistent efforts, she went on to be adjudged the winner of VMate #GharBaitheBanoLakhpati bumper prize of Rs 5 lakh. And this milestone changed the perceptions of everyone around.
In her own words, “When I started making videos, my in-laws did not like it much but they never stopped me from doing it. Winning this award has changed their perspective completely. Those who mocked me for being overweight are now lining up to congratulate.” She added, “This is like a dream and I still don’t believe I have won so much money. I took time out of my daily chores and made the videos. In fact, this is a second life for me.”
The prize money, which Nandita calls a “life changing amount” got even more special as the one choosing her video for the bumper prize was none other than her role model and popular television personality Bharti Singh. The star comedian was in fact the one who called up Nandita personally and broke the news of her winning the bumper prize.
Playing a significant role in Nandita’s soaring popularity is her portrayal of ‘Kokilaben’, a character played originally by TV actor Rupal Patel in one of the most popular Indian television series in recent times. Referring to the inspiration she drew from the fictional character, Nandita said, “I like her ‘dabangg’ style. The character is very cultured and at the same time very strong. The different facets of Kokilaben make the character extremely appealing. Our physique matches too.”
Short video platforms such as VMate have transformed several lives and provided an easily accessible platform to the common man to showcase their talent for the world to see. Attributing her success to VMate, Nandita said, “I am an overweight person and I am fond of making comedy videos. Thanks to VMate, now people have accepted me the way I am and they love my talent.” Notably, VMate has a Rs 100 crore creator fund to support its creators, making it a platform where creators can earn money by shooting videos.
It was special moment for her to know through her Mumbai-based sister that her videos were touching lives in ways she had never imagined.
“My sister, who is stuck in Mumbai due to lockdown, called me and said that her neighbours told her that they watch my videos and keep laughing. They said that my videos were their dose of entertainment and that they waited to them each day…it made me really happy and proud of myself,” says Nandita.
Nandita’s message to other fellow video creators and aspiring actors is simple but meaningful – “keep working hard and be positive in your acts and life”.