Shah Rukh Khan
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Radhika Apte has been swimming against the conventional current of Bollywood. What prospects does a 30-year-old dusky theatre artist have in mainstream Hindi cinema? Well, she is the living and (thankfully) rising example of the changing scene in Bollywood…
The mainstream Indian cinema is in a league of its own. Escapism and melodrama has always been its forte and every film is gift wrapped and presented to a much excited Indian audience with item numbers and songs. We love watching our fascinations come alive on screen. Pick 5 recent item numbers and compare notes - the actress wears a midriff bearing attire and dances suggestively with seemingly aroused men around her trying to "catch the fish".
In an "industry" where actresses usually hide their age to look younger, play young characters and keep the ball rolling in their court, Radhika Apte is a 31-year-old, dusky actress who looks like your neighbour who moved in a few months back, trying to cope with the new environment, being genuinely sweet to make new friends. Radhika started with theatre, at Aasakta Kalamanch in Pune. In 2009 she acted with Rahul Bose in the Bengali film Antaheen and Amol Palekar’s Samaantar. In 2010 she had 4 releases! But, the world only took notice of her in Shor In The City. Right after this she went to London and studied contemporary dance at London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance for a year. On coming back Radhika had, admittedly, lost whatever little hold she had in the filmi duniya. She was type casted as the ‘village’ girl from Shor In The City.
But, that didn’t kill Radhika’s spirit. The actress ventured into regional cinema. Today, she has done a handful of Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi films. Her upcoming Tamil film is with the legendary actor Rajinikanth in Kabali. Radhika never anticipated this to happen. She bared that she was only looking to chase away the stereotype trap. The actress said that shedding clothes on screen was liberating (in Hunterrr and Badlapur). She hopes to play the lead in a female-centric Hunterr-ish film someday! In Madly, a portmenteau film, for which she won the Best Actress in an International Narrative Feature (the first Indian!), she played a bored housewife who grows interest in her young neighbour. Always looking for a challenge, Radhika Apte has unknowingly brought in a new wave in Hindi cinema. People are taking note of her even though she hasn’t done item numbers and acted as the damsel in distress. With open arms, we welcome this change!
By Aditi Mukherjee
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