Not everything that is offered is inspiring enough for an artiste, says Radhika Apte, who decided to board the Apple TV Plus series Shantaram as it presented her with the opportunity to collaborate with director Justin Kurzel on one of the most popular novels of current times.
Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, has been on the wishlist of many filmmakers including Mira Nair, who at one point wanted to adapt the book with Johnny Depp in the lead role but the project fell through.
Now Apple TV Plus has announced that they will adapt the book with Charlie Hunnam in the title role.
Apte, who inspired viral memes with her back-to-back projects on Netflix last year only to follow it with a short gap, is looking forward to Shantaram and a few other projects that she has signed but is yet to announce.
“I don’t have a rule book but there should be something exciting for me… It can be the character, the director, the story or sometimes the banner. It is always difficult to find a story or a project that completely satisfies you or inspires you or challenge you as an artiste,” the actor told PTI.
“I didn’t sign anything for months because I didn’t find anything inspiring enough. Now I have signed Shantaram’ and there is another project I’m about to sign,” she added.
Shantaram follows Lin (Hunnam), a man on the run from an Australian prison looking to get lost in the teeming city of Bombay. Cut off from family and friends by distance and fate, he finds a new life in the slums, bars and underworld of India.
Apte, who will playing a journalist in the series, said though the character was miniscule in the book, the series will see her in a prominent role.
“It’s a very miniscule part in the book, but they are writing it as one of the series regular part. I’m just waiting to know more about the character. I will meet the rest of the cast soon then we will start preparing and reading for the show,” she said.
The show hails from Anonymous Content and Paramount Television. Kurzel is attached to direct the first two parts of the 10-episode series.
Apte said she had seen Kurzel’s 2011 biographical crime drama Snowtown and wanted to work with the filmmaker ever since.
“Justin Kurzel was the one to audition me and I remember telling the casting director that this is one of the best auditions I have had. I enjoyed it a lot. It was so much fun working with him. He was around with me throughout the audition and it was very motivating. I really wanted to work with him,” she added.
There is a lot of talk about how Indian actors are faring better in the international arena but Apte is of the opinion that the roles are still limited or bound by ethnicity.
“There is not much Indian representation in abroad. This series happens to be taking place in India. The reason why Indians are cast are because they are supposed to be Indian.
“I think Danny Boyle’s Yesterday’ was those rare films I have seen where an Asian person is cast for no particular reason. That doesn’t happen very often at all. Any project where Asians have some big part they are cast because they are suppose to be Asian for a particular reason in the script, she said.
Apart from the web series, Apte said she is doing a few projects in India as well and the official announcement will be made soon.