Radhika Madan: ‘Shooting for Kuttey was physically challenging but it was worth it’
Radhika Madan is having the time of her life. After a solid debut with Vishal Bhardwaj’s Pataakha in 2018, she is now part of the power-packed ensemble of Aasmaan Bhardwaj’s directorial debut Kuttey, releasing today. Radhika talks about her transition from TV to films, her upcoming projects and why she chose to be a part of Kuttey.
What was the biggest trip for you about Kuttey?
Radhika Madan: The script. When I read the script, I called Vishalji (Bhardwaj) right back and said I was doing the film. There are very few scripts where you don’t feel the need to change even a word. That is the magic of Vishalji’s dialogue writing and Aasmaan’s story. I just wanted to be a part of that world.
What was the actor-director process with Aasmaan Bhardwaj like?
Radhika Madan: A lot of workshops. He gave me a questionnaire with a hundred questions that I had to answer from my character’s point of view. I had never done that before, even with Vishalji (for Pataakha). So, that was very new and now I incorporate that questionnaire in every film that I do. It really works.
Did you feel any pressure while acting with an ensemble cast of magnificent actors?
Radhika Madan: I felt blessed, lucky and grateful that I got to work with such actors. I have grown up watching films of Tabu ma’am, Koko ma’am (Konkona Sen Sharma), and Naseer sir (Naseeruddin Shah). I watched Eeb Allay Ooo (2019) during the lockdown and I told my manager to get the numbers of Shardul Bharadwaj and director Prateek Vats. So, when I got to know that this was the cast of Kuttey, I was thrilled. I knew that I was going to film school and would learn a lot of things from these actors.
What was the most challenging part of doing Kuttey? What made everything worth it?
Radhika Madan: The most challenging part was shuffling between two projects. I was simultaneously shooting for Homi Adajania’s series in Jaipur and Kuttey in Mumbai. So, I would shoot in Jaipur during the day, catch the evening flight to Mumbai and do the night shift for Kuttey and then go back to Jaipur in the morning.
Plus, the way Aasmaan has placed the film — it has rain, jungle and night. So, it was physically very challenging. You get wet in the rain, then you dry up in the break. Then you have to get wet again. We were shooting in December and it was pretty chilly.
Apart from that, we had done the prep pretty well. So, we were pretty sorted with the emotional aspect of the character. I have seen the film and I know the impact of what has come on the screen. So, I think it was worth it.
Are you happy with the roles that are being offered to you?
Radhika Madan: I am excited. I am getting to play so many different characters. I have two films on my shoulders. I don’t think it was possible a decade ago. Actors like Vidya Balan, Kangana Ranaut, Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt have paved the path for all of us. That’s the reason people could believe that they could helm a film on a female actor.
It’s a great time to be an artiste. Because of the digital era, there are so many things getting made. For the first time in my life, I am seeing that all actors have some kind of job. Everyone, from actors to models, is shooting something. Earlier, the opportunities were limited. So, I feel blessed that I have come into the industry at the right time.
What was the big revelation for you as an actor during your transition from television to film?
Radhika Madan: When I was transitioning, there was no Netflix or Amazon. It was either TV or movies. When I made that decision, I remember telling my parents that in the next five years, digital platforms were going to take over and there would be many opportunities. They used to laugh at me saying, ‘Hey, it’s not the best. So, stop thinking that way. If you have something safe in your hands, do you really want to leave it?’
I said, ‘Yes, I wanna leave it. It’s a very exciting time. Why not?’ Now they recall it and tell me that I was right. The thing is that you need to stay updated with the times. You need to know what’s happening. We’re still going through a transition. We still don’t know who’s going to rule – OTT or cinemas.
Watching a movie in cinemas is an event for me. The whole environment of buying popcorn and spending time with your family is really special for me. I don’t want that to stop. I am just going with the flow with the transition. I am only focusing on playing different characters and giving my everything to them.
What are your upcoming releases?
Radhika Madan: Apart from Kuttey, there’s a series directed by Homi Adajania coming out in March. There’s Kacchey Limbu, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, and Sanaa, which premiered at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Then there’s Soorarai Pottru’s remake with Akshay Kumar sir. I’m doing Teacher’s Day with Nimrat Kaur. I’ll be starting a new project for Maddock Films. So, you’re going to see a lot of me.
You’ve worked with some exciting filmmakers who are characters unto themselves. Would you like to share the screen space with any of them in the future?
Radhika Madan: Most of them are really shy in front of the camera. I think it would be interesting to act with Vasan (Bala) sir in front of the camera. And I think even Homi is a great actor because he understands emotions really well. Homi would also be pretty exciting.