Former Miss India is Himesh Reshammiya's latest leading lady

By Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, March 23 (IANS) Niharika Singh is no stranger to fame. At the age of 21 she won the Ponds Femina Miss India Earth pageant. She is now debuting opposite Himesh Reshammiya in John Matthew Mathan's "A Love Iiisshtory".

Not only that, Himesh has also decided to cast Niharika in his next film "Mudh Mudh Ke Na Dekh Mudh Mudh Ke".

And it isn't just an ordinary you-sing-I-dance kind of routine debut for the model-turned-actress.

Niharika plays a young prematurely affluent millionaire with enough money to buy her own private jets in all her favourite colours.

"I don't know how it happened," Niharika laughs. "I never tried for the role, never approached anyone. I never even thought I was eligible. One fine day I got a call from the director asking me to see him. I think Himesh and John must have seen my ads," Niharika told IANS.

Niharika is at the moment preparing fiercely for her part. "I'm attending Barry John's classes every evening to prepare myself before the shooting starts in April. But this period between being signed and facing the camera is excruciating. I don't know how other debutantes cope with the waiting period. I'm going nuts."

The role requires Niharika to play a standoffish no-nonsense heiress who deals with billions across the table and has forgotten how to have fun.

"I play an heiress who doesn't enjoy wealth...until this street-smart dude played by Himesh enters her life. It's actually like playing a female Vijay Mallya, though much cooler than him."

So what does the heiress do to have fun? "Listen to Himesh Reshammiya tracks, I guess," Niharika laughs.

"It's a challenge to play a haughty heiress because I'm nothing like that in real life. I'm a very middleclass girl with values to match. And if Himesh and John think I can carry off the female tycoon's part (earlier attempted by Sridevi in 'Laadla', Priyanka Chopra in 'Aitraaz' and Bipasha Basu in 'Corporate') then I guess I must be good!"

An out-of-towner with no connections in the entertainment labyrinth of Mumbai, Niharika arrived in the city five years ago with her kid sister Garima.

"My father who's in the tourist department of Uttar Pradesh trusted me enough to let me be in-charge not just of my own life at that early age but also to take care of my sister's future. I wish more parents in our country would trust their daughters as much as they generally do their sons," says the 25-year old actress with endearing spunk.

So is she a fan of Himesh's tracks? "Who isn't? I love his music. Sadly I can't sing in his voice in my film."

As an after-thought she adds, "There're two Johns in my life right now...John Matthew Mathan and Barry John. Now all I need is John Abraham. Maybe in my third film. Who knows! Right now I'm just excited about two films with Himesh."

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