For those of you who missed watching Aandavan Kattalai when it hit theatres last month, even a whisk through the trailer where Kaarmegakuzhali pounces with a ‘Di nu sonna sevuthulaye adippen’ would’ve told you that Ritika Singh has arrived yet again, Kollywood style. A Mumbai-born boxer, Ritika has this zing to her personality which, it seems, came quite naturally to her when she debuted as Madhi in her first movie, Saala Khadoos (the Hindi version of Irudhi Suttru).
Now on her third, shooting for Guru (the Telugu remake of Saala Khadoos) and Shivalinga, the upcoming Tamil horror-comedy movie by Vasu, the actress says things were different this time. “For one, the way both directors, Manikandan and Vasu, work. It took me two to three days to get adjusted to Vasu sir’s style,” she says, adding, “For example, Mani sir works on the reaction from actors, it has to be natural and evident. On the other hand, Vasu sir is more focused on the eyeball movement; I have to be calm, composed and subtle—something I’ve never done before,” she chuckles.
From a kickboxer to a journalist (in Aandavan Kattalai), Ritika has no explicit conditions wahen giving a nod to a script. For her, now is the time to explore and learn. “What I look for when signing a movie is the scope of performance. Are people talking about me? My character? That’s what matters,” she says.
Recalling her selection among 100 athletes auditioned for Saala Khadoos, Ritika says. “I was faced with a severe knee injury, which could’ve potentially ended my fighting career. I couldn’t walk, run or do any form of workout. Just when I was on the brink of a fallout, a new door opened, and Saala Khadoos became a turnaround of sorts.”
Ask her about her side-stepped boxing career and she notes that although acting is her priority for now, boxing will never go away from her life. “Even today, when I train, I focus on kick-boxing and martial arts as opposed to regular training,” she says. Moreover, with her father (a trainer) and brother (a fighter) by her side, Ritika carries a reassurance that she can balance both worlds. “At some level, I also want to prove that you can balance two careers. For example, you may be good at academics but you should hone your extra-curricular talents because you never know when it will come to your rescue,” she says.
With two movies scheduled for next year, we wait and watch how this perky boxer plans to sustain conversations around her experiments in the film