Actor Radhika Apte reveals she started getting offers of sex comedies after she starred in Sriram Raghavan’s Badlapur, where her character stripped to save her husband from being killed.
At We The Women event, the actor opened up about the problematic mindset of many in the industry, who slotted her as a “seductress” after a particular scene in Badlapur.
Radhika Apte made the revelation when Barkha Dutt asked her the kind of films she turns down. “Comedy franchise films and sex comedies. I was offered a sex comedy after I did Badlapur.”
“Because I stripped and I had done a short film, Ahalya, they said ‘you are constantly playing the role of a seductress.’ I said, ‘can you tell me where’? They said Ahalya and Badlapur. I have been rejecting so much work. I don’t know if it is good for me or not,” the actor said.
As the conversation delved into misogynistic art, Radhika Apte shared she is left disturbed by most Bollywood films, even those that are celebrated as endorsers of gender equality.
She said, “I don’t think they are talking about equality on many occasions. I don’t find myself in agreement with a lot of people. It is isolating. I sometimes wonder whether I am a bitter, cynical person or am I not getting something.”
“I feel people, in the name of ‘progressive’, write anything. Hating men is not being progressive, for example. It’s a storytelling medium, but as a director, writer, you are interpreting something. Your interpretation, perspective is the most important thing for me. I can play a male chauvinist, but as a perspective, what do you show is most important. If I disagree with the perspective and interpretation of the maker, then I don’t do the film,” Radhika added.
Owing to her politics and clarity in film choices, Radhika Apte doesn’t find it easy to grow as an actor in Bollywood.
The actor said, “What happens is dissatisfaction keeps building. As an actor, there is fame and success, but it’s an individual journey. As an actor and person, I want to grow. But you will only grow when you have certain challenges or if you explore certain aspects that make you grow. But if the films we make are just convenient and compromised—by and large, then how will we grow?”
One of the lessons that Radhika has learnt in her journey in the Hindi film industry is that one needs to reach a position in power before he or she can afford to say no. And that distance is often travelled with some compromise.
“I have learnt in my life that saying no and standing up for myself constantly has gotten me nowhere. I have learnt to have different rules – say no to certain things, suck it up a little bit and then reach a place and say no and make a bigger impact. I am trying to do that. When I was a nobody and I came here, I couldn’t do anything. Today, I am working for a very big production company, and I put my foot down, saying till you pay me as much as the (other) actors are getting paid I am not doing it. And I got that money,” Radhika Apte concluded.