Chhota packet, bada dhamaka
HYDERABAD: At 12, she is conquering the world with her eyes that speak her heart out and her expression as graceful as a Ravi Varma painting. Avantika Vandanapu, being hailed as the new Madhuri Dixit of YouTube and expression queen of Tollywood, is busy juggling between homeschooling in the US and shooting in India. The girl who shone bright in the latest Mahesh Babu-starrer Brahmotsavam and stole our hearts is leaving no stone unturned in quenching her thirst for dance. She also has some beauty pageants titles in her bag.
This chhota packet, bada dhamaka categorically says she cannot live without dancing. “Even on my busiest day, I dance like no one is watching. It’s like water to me,” she shares.
Her mom Anupama shares, “When she was in my womb, she would start kicking and moving whenever she would hear music and stopped only after it stopped. She seemed to dance even before she could walk gracefully.”
Avantika is currently training in Kuchipudi, Kathak, Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary and Bollywood. “I started to go for dancing classes from the age of four. I went to Ranjani Manda, who taught me semi classical. I began learning Kuchipudi at the age of six from Hima Bindu Challa. I pursue Kuchipudi even when I come to India for a vacation. I go to Haleem Khan,” she informs. She is currently pursuing Kathak from Pragyna Das Gupta, Bollywood from the Nilesh Nanaware, Ballet and Jazz from American teachers.
She grabbed attention with her role as Mahesh Babu’s cousin in his latest but what made her an inexplicable sensation was her cute, innocent interview with Mahesh Babu where she asked him about animations and pani puri.
Born in Union City, California, Avantika was just a visitor to India, but her undeterred passion for acting and dance made her take a break and come to India. “There was an ad calling for auditions. We sent her YouTube dance videos and small video clippings of her acting videos. The casting manager selected her and asked us to come to India for final selection. We came and then got selected,” her mom Anupama reminisces.
Avantika has just wrapped up Chandra Shekhar Yeleti’s film Manamantha, Naga Chaitanya’s and Abishek Pictures first production of a Hindi remake movie. Avantika also finished her shooting for small role as a child artiste in a song in Gopichand’s movie Oxygen. She also recently acted in a message oriented short film called Swetcha based on Nirbhaya case.
Avantika can put a few of us to shame with her flawless Telugu. Her parents insisted that she speak nothing, but Telugu at home “My dad reads out Telugu stories which improved my command over the language,” she shares in her childish voice.
Avantika has won several accolades so far. A few include her performance in the Zee TV reality show Dance India Dance Lil Masters North America in June 2014 and was declared as the second winner. Avantika started participating in beauty contests at the age of 5 in Bay Area Telugu association’s (BATA) Padaharanala Telugu Pallaki and won the crown. Since then she has been participating in several regional and national kids’ beauty contests like California Fabulous Faces, Central Coast pageant, Hi City Life Beauty Hunt etc.
Her mother drives her around to different classes and makes sure she is nourished enough to stay strong and fit while topping in academics too. This teacher’s pet stood in the top 10 in the national level aptitude test last year.
Avantika loves to gorge on fruits, veggies and less spicy food. “I prefer vegetarian and half cooked, mildly-spice vegetable curries with rotis my mom makes. My favourite food is oatmeal cookies,” she reveals.
Avantika goes to gymnastics once a week and badminton classes thrice a week. She aspires to study in Stanford to stay close to her parents and is sure she will simultaneously pursue her twin passions - dancing and acting.