A successful practising cardiologist in England, Dr Niharica Raizada, granddaughter of legendary musician O P Nayyar, has debuted in a hit Bengali romantic comedy 'Damadol' with an item number.
Niharica has also been signed up for three films by a major Bollywood production house.
Asked what made her take a plunge into the world of showbiz, Niharica told PTI at a special screening of 'Damadol', "I don't see why someone pursuing cardiac science cannot take a plunge into a creative world. Are these two irreconcilable, specially in this age?"
Niharica, who was born in Luxembourg in Europe and studied medicine in London, subsequently specialised in her favourite subject of cardiology at Johns Hopkins (Baltimore), under a Fulbright scholarship.
Insisting that her foray into the world of performing arts was not a flash-in-the-pan decision, the doctor-turned-artiste said she had been practising classical dance and ballet from a very young age.
"I remember that I was just five when I performed Bharatnatyam dance in Germany. But I admit I have qualms in being an eye candy for the audience, I want to play a today's woman," she said.
"After graduating from Johns Hopkins, I had the choice of taking a break from a career in medicine to follow my inner calling in arts and acting and that's what I am doing," she said.
Another feather on Niharica's artistic cap is that she was the former Miss India Worldwide and a former Miss India UK besides being a gifted musician. She had also walked the ramp at New York Fashion week.
Recalling the days when she was visited by her grandfather, Niharika, who has released an international album in French, said, "He had taught me not to bother about what others thought and said, 'It is OK if you think you are right'."
She is keen to pursue her latest calling and said she was happy to be here in the "content-driven film industry" and want to do roles like those portrayed by Vidya Balan or Madhuri Dixit-Nene.
Niharika, however, has reservation over the expression "item dance number". "Just like one can't demean a woman by branding her as an item, her choreographed dance is a work of art. Labelling her dance as an item number amounts to an insult," she said.
My song "Garam Cha" does not have provocative postures and I thoroughly enjoyed Apuda's (Saswata Chatterjee of ‘Kahaani’ fame) steps, which I had to match. As a senior actor, he accommodated me in more ways than one," she said.
Directed by young filmmaker Manoj Michigan, 'Damadol' also stars young Bengali film hero Samadarshi, Saheb Bhattachajee and others.