Radhika Apte: I get rejected because I am not 'commercial' enough
The actor talks about the difference between working in Indian films and Hollywood, why she dislikes stardom, her upcoming projects and more.
A popular internet joke is about how everything Netflix makes has Radhika Apte in it. But the versatile actor has been missing in action for a while now. The break wasn't conscious, but has proved to give her a breather, admitted Radhika, in a candid chat with senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai, as part Indulge Time Pass, a series of webinars organised by The New Indian Express group. "After working round the clock for eight years, it feels good to not have FOMO and relax. I have nothing to complain to about personally, but what's happening around is quite disconcerting," said the actor, connecting from London, where she has been spending lockdown time.
"Contrary to what most people say about not being able to do anything, I feel that not having to be anywhere lets me do whatever I want. I want to do nothing," she said, laughing. But it isn't quite true though. Radhika has been spending her time writing several scripts. She also opened up about a short film she has directed, starring Shahana Goswami and Gulshan Devaiah. However, the actor refused to divulge much. "We just got into an international competition, but let's see; I don't know what will happen with it yet," she remarked.
The past year, however, has been big for Radhika, internationally. The actor was part of three foreign films: The Wedding Guest, The Ashram, Liberté: A Call to Spy. Increasingly, international content has had protagonists who hail from different parts of the world, including India. We see actors cross over more often, but has this portrayal improved? Radhika didn't think so. "I am grateful for representation, but usually if there is a Indian-American protagonist, there is a reason why it is so. An exception would be Danny Boyle's Yesterday, where the lead was Indian-Brit, but he could have been anyone. I aspire to do more work that is not linked to any place."
Radhika's last few Bollywood projects have been gamechangers--Andhadhun, for example. But the actor said it hasn't amped her 'commercial viability'. She went on to say that she still gets rejected because she isn't 'commercial enough'. "I might be generalising, but in India, we compromise when it comes to actors. We get the best technicians, but when it comes to leads, we pick the bigger stars. It has nothing to do with performance." And while she really likes acting, the actor admitted she doesn't always enjoy the gamut of other activities it comes with. "It is frustrating that appearances and networking lands more work, than actual skill-honing.The lockdown has made me wonder what I really want do. A career-change might not be that bad. Start a restaurant maybe," she said, with a laugh.
However, that doesn't mean that the actor isn't doing interesting work. She has completed shooting for a futurist mockumentary for Hotstar with Vijay Varma. "It is one of the best experiences I have had. Next year, I will be shooting for Shantaram," she said. But she added that she is quite happy not knowing what will come tomorrow. "I haven't thought about it much; I am quite happy not knowing what happens tomorrow. Happier this way."