'Length of role does not matter, but it has to have meat', says actor Radhika Apte

Post her Bollywood releases this year, Radhika Apte plans to go global with a British and an American film
Actor Radhika Apte
Actor Radhika Apte

Radhika Apte is on a roll. After being away from the screen for almost two years, she has returned with an impressive line-up of films. The Phobia actor was recently seen in Saif Ali Khan and Hrithik Roshan-starrer Vikram Vedha, which, despite not being a box-office hit, did leave a mark on critics.

A remake of the Telugu film of the same name, starring R Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi, the Hindi version was helmed by original directors Pushkar and Gayatri. “They were the reason why I did the film. Usually one chooses projects for different reasons. Sometimes it is the script or director; at other times, it is the subject, co-actors or money. Most of the time, we don’t get all of it. But Vikram Vedha was one such film where everything worked out well,” she says, adding, “The length of the role does not matter, but it has to have meat. I don’t want to be an artist waiting on the sidelines.”

In her latest film, Monica O My Darling, a dark comedy-drama with Rajkummar Rao, Apte plays a cop, a role she says was out of her comfort zone. “I was tense since I had never done anything like this before. I had to observe how women police officers move and talk, to capture their mannerisms. It was quite tough,” she says.

According to Apte, the key to acing comedy is by having a symbiotic relationship with your co-actors.
“My scenes with Raj were cracking as we looked for each other during the scenes. It is important to resonate with each other’s responses. If one of the actors is selfish, the entire scene can go for
a toss. At times, we have assistant directors giving us the cues, but it doesn’t help much. Fortunately, I have worked with actors who have been very cooperative,” she adds.

The 37-year-old is known for being experimental in her choice of films, and picking characters that challenge her prowess as an actor. From doing mainstream films such as Pad Man, Andhadhun and Badlapur, to taking up offbeat projects, including Parched and Manjhi––The Mountain Man, she has always aimed to push her creative boundaries.

“I was offered a lot of lead roles in the last few years, but I had to decline them, as I didn’t like those
parts,” she says. Those familiar with Apte’s filmography will know that she is a well-known name not just in Bollywood, but also in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi cinemas. Following her Hindi debut, Vaah! Life Ho toh Aisi! in 2005, she went on to act in Bengali film Antaheen, and two Marathi films—Samaantar and Gho Mala Asla Hava, all in 2009.

Not the one to rest on her laurels, the pan-Indian actor now plans to go global. Apte, who was nominated for the 2019 Emmy Awards for her Netflix series, Lust Stories, will next be seen in an American and a British film. “Everything is turning international because of digitisation. We are now competing with foreign films, so the quality of our content has to improve and match the global standards,” says Apte, who shuttles between Mumbai and London. Aptly said.

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The New Indian Express