It was a starry night on Wednesday as Pune residents got a chance to get up close with actors Radhika Apte and Neil Bhoopalam during a one-on-one interaction. The event — Signature Startup Masterclass — a web series that provides individuals from different fields the opportunity to network with and hear their icons share the story of how they became successful, kicked off its second season with Apte, who shared her journey from an Economics and Maths graduate to becoming one of the finest actresses in the country.
At least 200 people turned up for the event, held at Kalyani Nagar’s Classic Rock Coffee Co, where the actress recounted her life experiences. Signature Startup will be conducted in different cities across India with various stars joining in to recount their experiences.
Apte chatted with the host of the series Bhoopalam, discussing parts of her life, especially her childhood and her family in Pune, college life in Fergusson College, and her first break into Bollywood.
Observing how the city had changed from the small town she remembered to what it is now, with areas like Bavdhan and Aundh, which she remembered as desolate areas becoming residential areas, she said, “If you stepped out of the house then, you’d know 80 per cent of the people. The weather was beautiful, there were so many trees, so many cafes everywhere. It had a small town vibe but with so much cultural richness to it.”
Speaking about her journey from starting out with Pune theatre group Aasakta Kalamanch, with which she did multiple stage plays before getting auditions for Bollywood films, she recounted the obstacles she had faced — missing projects, living on a small salary while trying to make it big and all the problems that accompany becoming a star. She also discussed the difficulties of choosing projects and directors that she faces even now and the choice between regional, mainstream and artistic cinema.
Some words of wisdom from the actress — “Don’t take rejection personally, be rational about your abilities, know what success means to you, don’t take someone else’s definition of success. It is best to have your own self as your competition, however, ambitious you are, do not ever compromise on mental and physical health.”