GROWING up in a small city in Bangladesh, Sadia Nabila would often sit in front of the television, point at the glamorous actresses and say to anyone who’d listen: “That’ll be me one day”.
And her dream recently came true with the Ngunnawal local playing the main character in the Bollywood movie “Pareshaan Parinda”.
Feeling overwhelmed (in a good way) Sadia, 23, says the journey she’s been on over the last few years has been exciting.
She moved to Canberra in 2013 to study IT at the University of Canberra.
Not wanting to give up on the modelling and dancing she did back home, she continued to model and teach dance while studying.
“I wanted to see myself in the same platform so started doing it professionally,” she says.
“I didn’t want to restrict myself from just doing one thing, I just wanted to keep trying other things.”
Although from Bangladesh, last year Sadia competed in the Miss India Worldwide competition.
Always immersed in Indian culture through movies as a child, dancing and then later teaching at the Canberra School of Bollywood Dancing, Sadia slipped into the pageant well and came runner up.
After that requests came flooding in, asking for her to be in a music video or do some modelling and then, the big one – a movie.
“From the pageant, the production team came to know me and said: ‘We’re doing a film in Australia, do you want to come to an audition?’,” she says.
Three auditions later Sadia was given the role of Reena, but there was only one issue, she was not familiar with Hindi.
After three weeks of workshops, Sadia was ready for the production but it wasn’t enough time to master the Mumbai accent.
“This was a big step for me, I’d been doing theatre and short films but not a feature film like this,” she says.
“But I thought I should give it a try because I’ve always wanted to do it.”
With her first performance at the age of five, Sadia slipped into her role comfortably, while it was being filmed in Sydney.
She says she owes the movie, which was released on March 28 across several theatres in India and is soon coming to Melbourne, to her parents, who live in Bangladesh.
“I’m very lucky to have such supportive parents,” she says.
“Back home I would see so many talented people who were restricted by their parents.
“Unless your kids are trying to do something bad, you should let them do something they love.
“I want to be a voice for other girls who want to try something similar. It doesn’t matter if they fail, as long as they try.”