In a different league

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By PRATYUSH PATRA
  • Published 12.12.13
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She had just woken up when t2 went to meet her. The hectic shooting schedule last night had left her drained out, but Radhika Apte was spirited enough to answer all questions t2 asked. The very talented actress is in Bhubaneswar for a weeklong shoot for director Nila Madhab Panda’s film Kaun Kitne Paani Mein. Here’s the chat with the dusky beauty

How did an economics graduate turn into an actor?

I have been doing theatre since my college days, but films happened because of theatre. I travelled all across the country with my theatre group. So people noticed my work. There was no big break sort of a thing for me. Over the years, I have been engaged in various projects from Calcutta to London.

When your debut Bengali film Antaheen won the National Award, did you see it coming?

Absolutely not. It was a wonderful opportunity to have worked with the likes of Aparna Sen, Rahul Bose and Sharmila Tagore. It was an enriching experience.

Have you been very selective of the work you take up?

I had done almost 20 films when I decided to take a break from work and went to learn contemporary dance for two years. After the hiatus, I have again done about seven or eight films. The character, story and director are factors while taking up a film. I have recently done two films Lai Bhari opposite Riteish Deshmukh and Hunter opposite Gulshan Devaiah. Both the films would release next year and are typical masala films. I don’t want to be typecast in an industry that loves to do so. I have travelled a lot and thus have accumulated a lot of experience and I want to bring all that into my acting.

How would you assess your career till date?

I am a very impulsive person. People warned me against taking the hiatus. After Shor in the City, offers were pouring in. The Saibo song was a smash hit. But I wanted to learn the fascinating art form of contemporary dance. Living in London was wonderful where so many art forms including independent filmmaking are thriving and growing simultaneously. I met so many new people and learnt so much that I never regretted my decision.

How are Nila Madhab Panda as a director and Kunal Kapoor as the co-actor?

Madhab is very passionate about the subjects he chooses. With this film he has taken up a social cause that has global relevance and is not merely a story of Odisha. I think he is also a kind of man who practices what he preaches, which I think is an essential quality in every human being. His passion is very inspiring and he is very liberal when it comes to trying out new things. I believe the relationship between an actor and director is equal which he understands. Honestly, I have never met a more sincere and hardworking actor than Kunal Kapoor ever. One can learn from his dedication and he is also a very good writer. We three get involved in various aspects of filmmaking and thus, it becomes a wholesome experience.

You don’t exactly fit the conventional definition of Bollywood heroine who is supposed to be tall, fair and beautiful. But then there are likes of Nandita Das, Chitrangada Singh, Tannishtha Chatterjee and yourself who have broken these conventions.

Forget beauty, I don’t believe in any kind of convention and thus never give much thought about them. I believe everybody must respect how they look. The industry would create hindrances for you no matter how you look. But the day you make a mark, everybody thinks you are perfect. I mean people who are fat or dark have made it big in the industry as well.

Your hands seem to be full of various film projects.

I have been shooting continuously for three-four months now. It has been great. They are all lined up for release early next year. Then I am doing a bilingual film called Parched to be produced by Ajay Devgan.

How has married life been?

It has been a year and marriage has not changed anything. Benedict (Taylor) and I have been the same with each other from the time we have known each other.

Three things you did not know about Radhika

Her favourite getaway is her farmhouse in Pune

She loves many actresses,but she never had any role model

She does not even have a favourite film. The last film she liked was This is England