The actress got her first major break in the Tamil flick Thalaivaa, opposite Vijay, who is a superstar in the Tamil film industry. The film is an action thriller film directed by A. L. Vijay and Nandwani has a key role of a North Indian in the film, which basically features Amala Paul as the female lead. Nandwani stated in an interview that all of her film sequences were shot in Mumbai over 25–30 days. The film was released worldwide on 9 August 2013 except in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, where it was delayed due to some controversies, but finally released on 20 August 2013. The film received good response from the audience as well the critics, but the film suffered a severe loss commercially due to its late release in Tamil Nadu.