A green synthesis approach has been adopted to prepare nickel sulphide nanoparticles (NiS NPs) using banana peel extract (BPE) as a reducing and capping agent. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)/NiS nanocomposite films were fabricated using a cost-effective solution casting technique by dispersing different contents of NiS NPs (0-3 wt%) in the PVA matrix. Various characterization techniques were employed to analyze the structural, thermal and morphological properties of the PVA/NiS nanocomposite films. Further, the dielectric behaviour of these nanocomposite films was investigated at frequency range 50 Hz-20 MHz and in the temperature range 40 °C-140 °C. Also, there exists a significant interaction between the polymer matrix and the nanofiller as evident from the notable improvement in the dielectric properties of the nanocomposites. The dielectric constant (ϵ) value of PVA/NiS nanocomposite film with 3 wt % NiS NPs loading was found to be 154.55 at 50 Hz and at 140 °C which is 22 times greater than the dielectric constant value of neat PVA (6.90). These results suggest that NiS NPs were dispersed homogeneously in the PVA matrix. © 2020 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.