The roaring success of her recently released short film ‘Ahalya’ directed by Sujoy Ghosh might not have been a surprise for actress Radhika Apte, but what astonishes her is the type of questions being asked after it. One of them is whether she fears being stereotyped in the seductress-kind-of roles.
“I have played seductress in just ‘Ahalya’. In ‘Badlapur’, I’m being molested and in ‘Hunterr’ too, I play a girl who is refuting a guy’s advances. So, I don’t know why people would think like that. But yeah, I do get stereotyped. Everybody does.”
“So, after I did ‘Shor In The City’ and ‘Raktcharita’, I got typecasted as a sari-clad woman. After I did ‘Badlapur’, I started getting offers for this whole franchise of sex-comedies, which I find so bizarre. Just because they thought I could strip, I could do the sex-comedies very well. I refused all of them. So, everybody does, but I am trying hard no to get stereotyped. It might as well be possible that after ‘Manjhi’, I will get typecasted as a village girl,” says the ‘Badlapur’ actress.
Ahead of the release of her upcoming movie ‘Manjhi – The Mountain Man’, Radhika Apte, who plays the protagonist’s wife’s role, was in New Delhi for the promotional duties. A bit tired, but still excited and raring to go, Radhika spoke at length at about how she can’t stand objectification of women in the movies and hence, tries not to do such kind of roles.
“I cannot stand objectification of women; I cannot be an item in a song or movie. Though ‘Hunterr’ was said to be a sex comedy and was marketed like that, it wasn’t. The character was objectifying the women, not the filmmaker and I think that’s fair. The ‘Hero’ can’t always be shown as great and perfect. All the actress’ parts in ‘Hunterr’ were really strong.”
I just cannot stand that whole thing like shaking your body and running around and I hope I won’t be a part of such movies,” quips Radhika.
“I think things are changing now. Some movies like ‘PK’, ‘Piku’, ‘NH10’ and ‘Badlapur’, they had nice roles for the actresses and were commercially viable as well. Really good storylines as well. This year has been so good with ‘Queen’, ‘Tanu Weds Manu Returns’ and others,” she adds.
Radhika had taken a two-year sabbatical from movies in 2010 and came back only in 2012 to find herself inundated with roles of women who belonged to the lower strata of society.
The actress says it took her all of 2012 to make people understand that she could do roles beyond what they were thinking. “I got ‘Manjhi’ and ‘Hunterr’ by the end of 2012. But it was only Sriram Raghavan who cast me in a li’l upper class role,” she adds.
Talking about the much-talked about ‘Ahalya’, Radhika says, “Ahalya has been really good for me. Nobody could think of casting me as a seductress and Sujoy did that and it clicked.”
“But I think as an actor, it’s upon me to try do different kind of roles. Also, what works is the faith of the director in you. If he/she believes you can do it, chances are you’ll do it well.”
“I want to play diverse roles, which I can relate to. I cannot play the shy, coy roles, for I don’t think such characters exist. These are fantasy characters and that too, uninteresting. In our industry, what happens is you are a hero, a heroine or a character actor. So, I think the lead should be playing a character. I want to play characters,” adds Radhika.
The “blunt, blatant and honest” Radhika Apte, as she describes herself, has achieved a rare feat of working in seven different languages including Bengali, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu, the Tamil one being with superstar Rajinikanth.
The actress opines that for a better understanding of a role, one needs to understand the language properly.
“I remember when I was doing a Bengali film, I learnt the language and started speaking it quite well too. In South films, I haven’t got an opportunity where I felt that I should be learning a particular language. I have asked the makers of Rajinikanth sir’s film to give me the lines beforehand, so that I prepare well,” explains Radhika.
The actress recently expressed on Twitter that superstar Shah Rukh Khan was her childhood crush. But does she have a wish list? “I don’t actually. Probably Jake Gyllenhaal,” she says.