Best of Weekender: A tête-à-tête with lawyer-turned-actor Nidhi Bisht, a date with singer Nikhita Gandhi, and why Echoes of Earth was India's coolest music festival

This weekend, we meet the highly talented quartet, The Thayir Sadam project, chat with young author Sarthak Rathi, and find out why Upma Kapoor, Founder, Teal & Terra, believes that true heroes are men and women of great courage.

Before the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and closer home, platforms like TVF, there weren’t many avenues for women in comedy. They were either offered bizarre roles or slapstick dialogues that were far from funny. They completely lacked the subtle comic charms and timings of their male counterparts. But thanks to the expanded scope of comedy today, made possible by various OTT platforms, women in comic roles have come of age, says our writer who spoke to actor Nidhi Bisht.

In an exclusive interview, Nidhi, who is a lawyer-turned-actor, talks about her experimentation with a variety of roles, right from Caller Naina, Chai Sutta, Bisht, Please, and her new role in the upcoming TVF series, Cubicles as a woman boss in an organisation.

Read all about her days as a lawyer, her move to TVF, and her role in her new TV series.

Nidhi Bisht

Remember Nikhita Gandhi, the Indian playback singer who sang for Deepika Padukone for the title track of Raabta? After having worked on her personal studio album and singing in regional films, Nikhita got her biggest break when she performed the song Ladio, which was composed by A R Rahman.

With multiple feathers in her hat - including famous numbers like Qaafirana from Kedarnath and Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe from Stree, the 28-year-old has now launched a single, For Now, in an attempt to promote Indie artists. 

Don't miss our interview with this award-winning singer.

Nikhita Gandhi

Can a 12-year-old write a book? Yes, s/he can and it can become a big hit too. Meet author Sarthak Rathi, who has a written and published The Wanderers – The Sound of the Lake, the first in the five-book Wanderers series.

The book, which was published last month, has sold around 500 copies, including online and offline, and is at No. 4 in the sci-fi category on Amazon.

Read all about this talented and promising child writer in our article.

Sarthak Rathi

Who hasn’t heard of the Thayir Sadam Project? The brilliant music quartet performed in Bengaluru recently and was a great hit as usual. The group comprises Bindu Subramaniam, Ambi Subramaniam, Mahesh Raghvan, and Akshay Anantapadmanabhan.

The four are well-known musicians individually. Mahesh Raghvan is a Carnatic whiz with the iPad; Bindu, a vocalist, and Ambi, a violinist, are children of violin virtuoso Dr L Subramanian. Akshay is a mrindagist and konokkol artiste who collaborates with musicians at New York University on projects.

The quartet also aims to create a social impact by working closely to promote the United Nations’ Sustainability Development Goals.

Don’t miss reading about these four youngsters who are trying to make classical music cool for a younger generation.

The Thayir Sadam project

It was a beautiful night in Bengaluru city when Echoes of Earth launched their festival against the backdrop of the lush green lawns of The Embassy Riding School. Among the many talented artistes, the festival featured Fakear, who had the most adulation, followed by Acid Pauli and Prabhdeep, who also garnered a lot of attention from their fans.

One of the installations at the Echoes of Earth Festival

Most of the installations were breathtaking. ‘The Mahseer Installation’, by the Wildlife Association of South India, caught everyone’s attention. Often referred to as the “Tiger of the Cauvery river”, the Mahseer is one of the largest of 16 Mahseer species found globally and is one of the largest freshwater fish in India.

The organisers put up an interactive installation of the Mahseer built from scrap items found in the Cauvery river. Other than the art installations, the flea market was also very popular.

Read our coverage of the festival and find out why it was one of the coolest music events of the year.

Are Alan Watts, Joseph Campbell, and Mirza Galib your favourite writers? Do you love Spiderman because of his ability to stay strong against all the odds in his life and help other people with his power? Do you admire Leonardo Da Vinci, because he had so many interests in so many subjects, learned so many things, and still desired to learn more? Are your heroes in real life the people who have the courage to listen to what their heart and gut are telling them, and act on them to create a positive impact?

Upma Kapoor

If so, you would love to meet Upma Kapoor, Founder, Teal & Terra, an organic cosmetic company, who wants to bring a paradigm shift in the organic beauty industry.

Read all about her greatest loves, regrets, treasures, and more. Her motto, “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation", reveals her love for innovation and the power of creative enterprise.

Don’t miss her responses to our Proust questionnaire, where she talks about her heroes and her greatest regrets and achievements.