Radhika Apte in Rupkatha Noy

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By Radhika Apte on playing a MELLOW WOMAN in Rupkatha Noy and her lessons from Soumitra Chatterjee
  • Published 20.08.13

We remember you as the girl-next-door from Antaheen. How different is your character in Atanu Ghosh’s Rupkatha Noy (releases on September 6)?

Oh, it’s completely different. The two characters and their backgrounds are completely different. In Antaheen I played a bubbly girl who was a journo.... My character in Rupkatha Noy is a woman who works in the IT sector and has a nice family but she has an agenda to do something which is very strong. So she is always very preoccupied and a little mellow and sad.

Your co-star in Rupkatha Noy is Soumitra Chatterjee, who plays the protagonist. Have you seen any of his films?

You know, very honestly, ages ago, yes. I’m always stressed working in a Bengali film because last time it was Aparna Sen (played her boss in Antaheen) and this time it was Soumitra Chatterjee, so it does become a bit stressful on the first day. But there’s this small incident that happened one day on the sets and that left me wondering about so many things. We were doing a scene where Soumitra Chatterjee had a lot of dialogue and he finished that and Atanuda said ‘very good shot’. And then Soumitra Chatterjee came to me and asked, ‘Achha, did you think it was okay?’ I was so nervous! (Smiles) What do I say? And he was so humble, so down to earth and honest, still vulnerable about his work... I think it was great!

What did you learn and unlearn during your scenes with him?

Well, you know he’s been working for donkey’s years, man... but he still has a freshness about him and that insecurity and vulnerability. I think an actor should never lose that. That is what I learnt. I unlearned to act experienced!

You do films in various languages and every industry has its upside and downside; which according to you is the best?

I can’t really pick any one because there have been very good projects in the regional film industries. It’s on project basis and people in that project are what inspire you. It’s not industry-wise.

Isn’t Bollywood a priority?

To be honest, earlier I wasn’t really focused on anything. Right now, I am focused on Bollywood. But you know some of the regional films are so good and sometimes the smaller the scale the happier you are working. People are nicer, there’s more of a group effort.... And I like Calcutta, the culture, the language, the food, the people, the warmth... I enjoy doing Bengali films.

It must be difficult for an outsider to get a foothold in Bollywood...

I think it is. But for everybody it takes years to, you know, be noticed. I did four films and then I went to London. I missed out on a lot of work when I was studying contemporary dance at London’s Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Now that I’m back, it’s a new struggle starting from zero. I have recently finished shooting for two Hindi films — Mountain Man directed by Ketan Mehta and Vasu by Harsh Kulkarni.

Do you take Tollywood seriously?

Yes. As seriously as I take any other industry. I haven’t done a lot of Bengali films because not a lot of work came my way. I would want to do one or two Bengali films a year at the most. I have been wanting to work with Buddhadebda (Dasgupta) for a very long time. But that didn’t happen. Now I want to work with the new directors of Tollywood.

Radhika and Soumitra Chatterjee in Rupkatha Noy

Do you keep in touch with Antaheen-maker Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury? What about another film with him?

Oh yeah.Whenever he comes to Bombay we meet. He is making his new film now (Buno Haash).We have been telling each other that we have to do another film. But I was in London when he started the pre-production of his last film (Aparajita Tumi).... We will do another film together for sure.

Are masala films a complete no-no for you?

No, that’s not true. I just finished shooting for a commercial film in south — Vetri Selvan.

Any regrets with the way your career has shaped up?

Regrets? Well, I don’t have any. I went to London and lost out on work but what I got in London is something you can’t compare with other things. I don’t think there’s any time to regret.

Kushali Nag

Do you want to see Radhika in more Bengali films? Tell t2@abp.in