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Film Talk with Radhika Apte: Andhadhun, choosing films, and TIFF

By A. Sethi Friday, Oct 12, 2018 02:16: PM

Andhadhun releases this weekend and who better to get a behind-the-scenes look with than Radhika Apte, who plays a happy character in a film that has lots of twists and turns. She was recently at TIFF with The Wedding Guest and we spoke to her about how she chooses films. With Sriram Raghavan helming the project, it is obvious that the expectations are high…and with names like Ayushmann, Tabu, and Radhika attached…all the more so. Here’s our chat with Radhika:

 

 

What an intriguing trailer. Andhadhun is a thriller and we don't see too many of them in Hindi cinema. What drew you to Andhadhun?

 

You know, I play a very happy person in the film. She is like the sunshine in the film. I absolutely enjoyed it. I’ve not played a character like that. I have sort of played a happy person before, but she was different, unique. I did enjoy it a lot.

 

I think what drew me to the film initially is Sriram. I really love his films and love his work. I think a day when we wake up and have to go to Sriram’s film shoot is one of the best days. So it was a no-brainer for me. But, of course, the script was so great that I really wanted to be a part of the film in whatever capacity.

 

 

Also, a very apt name for the film. What did you think of it?

 

Yah, I think the name is really great. I think, actually, they had come up with a long list of names and they were all really creative but I think this one was absolutely perfect and unique.

 

 

There is some light comedy in the trailer - for example, "See you"...and then some hesitation, and your character says, "I'll see you". Do you prep yourself mentally to determine how you will approach such a character with the sensitivity it requires?

 

Basically, it is how to do my job. I mean, of course, you have a character and you develop a whole character sketch of why she would react a certain way, what is she, who is she, and you know, sometimes, when you are sensitive to somebody, you take special care and think about what you have said and done. Nuancing that with the director and writer on set basically so, yah, this idea was Pooja’s (Pooja Surti – editor) actually. It is a collaboration on set actually. You see what happens when someone comes up with a suggestion and see if it works or not. You also see if it goes with the particular character and how the character would react.

 

Many times, in a film, we often see chemistry in the eyes of two co-actors. How do you overcome that challenge in this film? How do you build that chemistry?

 

Chemistry is not just in the eyes…I think it is the whole body language. The pauses, the nuances, the hesitation, the smiling…and even if you are wearing glasses, your whole face lights up with whatever you are feeling. It affects your posture…tension affects that and everything changes.

 

What was the most challenging part of your role in this film? What was the one scene that gave you pause?

 

Ha, the most challenging part for me was to not feel jealous of Ayushmann’s part (chuckles) and not being sad about being on set every day.

 

 

Ayushmann and yourself, both have solidified your footing by doing projects and films that don't necessarily fill or follow a "pattern".  Similar to you and Dev Patel with The Wedding Guest, which was at TIFF this year. What inspires you to do a film? 

 

What is inspiring about Sriram is his work. But, for me, in general, if I admire someone’s work or if I am very excited to work with a specific director, or when a script challenges to think outside of the box, I don’t think – I just do it. I don’t think it is in a pattern, not in a pattern, if it is a conventional choice, I don’t look at choices like that. For me, that is not the criteria. For me, the criteria is how I excited I feel about a film.

 

 

With Tabu in the film, who has much to her credit, were you able to collect anything from her kitty of experience to incorporate into your own knowledge?

 

I’ve been a massive fan of Tabu’s for so long. It was so amazing to work with her. But I only have one scene with her. I really wish that in the future, I really get the opportunities to work with her more.

 

I remember in that one scene also, I was more involved in watching Tabu perform rather than being able to perform myself. And, I was so fascinated with what she was doing and how unpredictable she is in her approach when she performs. It’s just extremely fascinating.

 

 

Sriram Raghavan - You've worked with him before. What is he like as a director? What is the equation you share with him?

 

First of all, Sriram and I are really good friends and second of all, I really like the way he twists things to make them more interesting but they are still so human and so logical, however much he twists them and makes them unpredictable. He has this craziness in the way he thinks things in a way, but he is also very curious about everything. Every little montage – Sriram looks at it with so much passion and interest that it is sort of like his energy is contagious. I feel, invariably, very excited when I am on his set about whatever it is that we are doing that day. So, it is one of my best experiences to work with him.

 

 

Do you go into a certain mindset to do a thriller as an actor? Why do you think many thrillers are not made in Hindi cinema?

 

I think quite a lot of thrillers are made in Hindi cinema but the Sriram thrillers are very unique. It has the Sriram stamp everywhere because nobody makes films the way he makes films. I think it really depends on your character, the way you prepare yourself. The character that I have in the film, there was no such preparation, but of course, the character is going to go through twists and turns and promotions are hardest because you have to be so tight-lipped. You can’t mention many things.

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