For Nitya Shetty, acting and movies have become part of her. Since she was a child, she had begun acting, won awards and gained popularity. Case in point is the movie ‘Devullu.’ Despite getting opportunities to have a stable desk job, Nitya Shetty has only one focus in mind and that is a career in Cinema. An independent woman to the core, the actress truly appreciates each moment in life. Just as she had a great body of work during childhood, there is every bit of effort going into creating a noteworthy repertoire of films.
Without much ado, let’s learn more about this cute child who metamorphosed into a beautiful woman, inside and out.
Nitya Shetty is a single child to father Malleswara Rao MVN and mother Vijaya Lakshmi M. She was born on 29th January in Hyderabad.
While dad worked as a Chartered accountant, mom gradually rose to become her strongest pillar of support. Because Nitya Shetty started working in films from the tender age of 4 or 5, her mother became her manager ever since. This had kept her busy and didn’t give an opportunity to do anything else. With the absence of siblings, the complete attention was on Nitya.
However, she was never pampered. On the contrary, Nitya Shetty was brought up in a very disciplined manner that is self sufficient and self reliant. She was taught to be independent in terms of both finances and individuality. She was given the liberty to have opinions, take decisions and make mistakes. She owns those mistakes and has learnt from them. Family has been her biggest support through the years and they’ve always had her back.
Nitya’s mother had consistently supported her career. She is the reason she is in films. Her encouragement and interest got Nitya her opportunities as being a kid she didn’t know anything.
Even now, when the actress is making a comeback, many have discouraged her. But, her mom fought against the world to support her. If she does a good job or if someone appreciates her work, it makes her mother the proudest and happiest.
The first time she did an art documentary film in 2001-2002, it was a Hindi movie called ‘Maya.’ The entire production team was from Los Angeles and she was the only Telugu actor in the movie, having played the title role.
On the last day of the shoot, the director had walked up to her mom and said thanks for letting her daughter be a part of it and that it would not have been possible without her. Nitya Shetty feels that was the proudest moment for her mom and most memorable for her.
Education, ever important
Nitya Shetty finished her schooling and under graduation from Hyderabad. She went to Oxford Grammar School because no other school would give her admission, considering that she was in the movies.
The school’s chairman is the brother of a very famous film director, B Narsing Rao. He is a national award winning director, who understood, supported and encouraged Nitya to pursue acting.
Under graduation in Electronics and Communications was completed from Institute of Aeronautical Engineering. During this time, Nitya Shetty wanted to get into ISRO and be a research scientist. She was obsessed with electronics, antennas, satellites and communication. She went there for a student camp, gave the exam, but failed by two marks. “Then I became an actor,” she chuckles.
When Nitya Shetty was in school, she barely attended any annual days or sports days. There was a point through her high school where she was missing a lot of classes due to back to back movies. This was after she did Devullu and later Anji, for which she was shooting for 2-3 months in Kerala.
So, she missed school a lot. Her classmates and her teachers were supportive as they sent her photocopies of notes to her location. Her dad would pick them up and she would study on set. Even if she didn’t appear for unit tests on the same day, they tried to accommodate and compensate for that by taking another exam when she went to the school. She is very grateful for all the efforts that they have put in.
Memories from college
Nitya Shetty had always been a good kid, an ideal student and an ideal daughter. So she never skipped any classes and finished her assignments on time.
However, there is one embarrassing story from college. She reveals that when she was in her first year, ragging was a part of college culture. At that point it was fun.
Here, there was one senior who had asked her to write his records or complete his assignments. So, she had been writing his records for a while. One fine day, he approached her and said she doesn’t have to call him Sir anymore.
Nitya Shetty was happy and excited because she secretly liked him and assumed he liked her too. She shared that he wanted her opinion on which chocolate she liked, to bring her the next day. Once she told him, he said don’t call me sir, but call me ‘bhaiyya.’ That was when she realized that the next day was Rakhi festival. She laughs that he wanted her to tie him a rakhi, which resulted in her heartbroken.
Her inside circle
One person who tops the list of people who stood by her is her mom. Nitya is very close to her and shares every detail of her life with her, be it professional or personal. Mother allowed her to make mistakes, fall down and get back on her feet.
Other than family, she talks about her friend in Melbourne. They were friends since their Narayana college days, during Intermediate.
She is one person the actress has no filter with. If there was ever a book written on her, the one person to reach out to is Apoorva. She would have all the information, the good, bad and ugly, without judgement.
Experience, the best teacher
Nitya Shetty has never attended any workshops for acting proper. She almost grew up in the film industry, which taught her the most important skills on the field and through experience.
However, she did train for Kuchipudi. She trained under Dr. Shobhanaidu and Dr. Alekhya punjala, who have been her gurus. She says it has been a while since she got back to dancing, but the training will stay with her forever.
Speaking about skills that helped her within the industry, Nitya Shetty states that it is important to place oneself on the map. “You could be very talented, you could be immensely skilled.
But if you are not able to showcase that to the people in the industry, it won’t take you anywhere,” she wisely says. One life skill she suggests everyone to pick up is to be able to talk to people and get placed on the map.
Of the many events that helped her forge ahead in her career, Devullu is one. It had, she reveals, happened accidentally. When she was working with Koti Ramakrishna in Anji, he had a script that required a female child actor.
This was an important role and for some reason he couldn’t cast her in it. That’s when he said he was writing another script and stated, “I know this will make your career.” That was how she became a part of Devullu.
“Even when I was working on the movie I had no idea that this would fetch me this kind of stardom,” Nitya says. She continues that it is safe to say that Devullu has made her who she is today.
More than an actress
Nitya Shetty had recently picked up gardening as a hobby. She took to it in a big way. Fact of matter, her ‘Viral’ film director Brijesh had gifted her a cactus. That gave roots to her hobby. The actress is also an avid reader. It is one thing she absolutely enjoys doing, she says.
Be it fiction or autobiography, books have been her best friends growing up. She started with Enid Blyton and then moved to Sidney Sheldon and Mills N Boons. Ayn Rand, John Grisham and many other authors took her interest. Lately, she has been reading a lot on financial education, investments, business education and management. This is because she has been managing a business actively.
All her present readings help her pursue that. Her favourite books are Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead and The Secret. She is a great believer in the law of attraction, hence her pick.
Biggest speed breakers
According to Nitya, every actor, whether they come from a big family or not, has to face a certain amount of struggle in the industry. That is inevitable and she shares she had her fair share of it. She had to go through a number of rejections.
Apparently, people labelled her as ‘Telugu ammayi’ although she never understood how it was a bad thing. She was even advised to get a nose job and jaw correction. Standing her ground, Nitya was keen on not going under the knife.
She elaborates, “in today’s world, makeup and camera and technology can make a person look anyway that they want to. I definitely don’t need to go for a surgery to look a certain way.” She philosophises that if you’re passionate about your craft, no amount of struggle will stop you.
Meryl Streep is someone Nitya looks up to. She says the Hollywood powerhouse can make anybody believe in the character and not Meryl Streep as a person.
Nitya Shetty had always looked up to her and her variety of roles. She had always wanted to be known as an actor rather than a star, because stars come with a certain flair. The actress feels it may deviate her from pursuing this art that is acting.
Nitya did her first movie when she was 4 or 5 years old, hence couldn’t remember anything. Her mom tells her that she took her for an audition.
There, they told her that if she memorized her lines and repeated them, she would get a chocolate. Since she was a fan of anything sweet, the coaxing worked. It was a movie with Soundarya. She says that although there were about 5-6 kids she got to play a better role than everyone. She had more lines and this marked her entry into the industry.
Most impactful movies
Since then she has completed nearly 27 movies. In her view, she will always be proud of her movie ‘Maaya.’ Coming from a Southern Telugu speaking state and working in a Hindi movie was not easy.
She had a language expert to get her slang and diction right. She cheerfully agrees that she did it pretty well. She is also proud of her recent film ‘Viral.’ She had not just the team that supported her to push her boundaries but had the freedom to explore the character range. She is excited to find out how the audience will welcome her in the movie.
Nitya asserts that she is yet to reach the pinnacle of success as she feels she had just begun. She is now taking baby steps, but one motto she stands by is to do whatever it takes and never give up.
Not just this industry, she says, but anywhere, there is nothing called failing. “There is only quitting.” If you quit, it means you’re failing and the only foolproof way of not failing is not quitting. This is what she has been following in her acting career too.
For Nitya it was pure passion that brought her to this place in life. For a brief moment in time, she worked for Infosys as a dot net developer, of which she had done a fair job.
However, she never had contentment, though she was happy. The one thing that she is confident about and knows she can do very well is acting. That is how she came to be here.
She believes in having a life plan. Many people plan vacations, marriage and such, but fail to plan their life which needs to be the most important thing. Over the last couple of years, she has evolved as a person and her perspectives have changed. She would like to plan her day, her week and wherever she is right now, it is because of the plan.
Well deserved recognition
Nitya received many awards as a child actor. She received two state level recognitions for ‘Chinni Chinni aasha’ and ‘Little hearts.’ There was one gold plaque recognition at the Chicago film festival for Hindi movie Maaya.
She had received nominations from Toronto Film festival, Paris film festival and others for the same movie. Bharata muni award is also one of her recognitions. Nitya feels she did more challenging roles back then.
A journey of emotions
For her personally, every time she gets appreciated for her work in general and not just box office hits, gives her a high. She says that the lowest point for any actor is when there is no work and everyone who meets him or her keeps asking them what movie they are doing next.
She shares that it is embarrassing to admit that there are no projects in hand right now. Nitya has been through this phase. Now, she doesn’t shy away from saying out loud the truth of the situation.
More than one passion
Nitya agrees that she is also passionate about entrepreneurship. She has been running a business for the past two and half years and it is something very close to her heart.
She never thought she could have a passion for anything other than acting, but becoming an entrepreneur changed that. Candidly, she says she hopes to be a part of Forbes and not just Femina.
Nitya just had the trailer launch of the movie ‘Thalaivi.’ She has a very small but important role in the movie. She had been receiving much love for the trailer as it has a small portion of her scene in all 3 languages. People across states have been calling and texting her about it.
Later, she has Viral in the pipeline. They have finished the shoot and post production is now in progress. Nitya reveals she has put in a lot of soul into her character and that it is close to her. She says she will also never forget her Viral team, that they will always be her special people.
She has worked on another project called ‘Writer Ranga,’ which is an independent film with a lot of enthusiastic people on board. More than the script, it was the people who were the reason she agreed for the movie.
Considering her focus and the interesting opportunities she is choosing, Nitya is poised to take flight and fly high.