‘As an actor, you’re never satisfied’
Radhika Apte says she would like to work more and take up challenging roles
She began her acting career with a theatre group in Pune before making her feature film debut with a small role in Vaah! Life Ho Toh Aisi! (2005). And ever since, Radhika Apte has proven her acting acumen with consistent, powerful performances. Now, as the actor readies for the release of Pad Man, we chat with her about Akshay Kumar, her career, and the new film.
It has been 13 years since you made your film debut…
I was in college at that time and had just started college, so I don’t think you can consider that as work. It was like a summer project. But yes, I have been doing theatre for about 14 to 15 years now.
Overall, what do you think of your acting career?
I never had a plan, so things are taking their own course. I am making my own choices, so I don’t know. Let’s see. You learn different things every time you choose something, and then you make similar as well as different choices and also change what you want to do. So, it’s a constantly changing process.
Talking of Pad Man, what made you accept the role?
For starters, it was the fact that Balki was making it. Plus, the subject is great and the script is very funny and entertaining. I haven’t done something like this before. Also, I had never worked with Akshay before and I grew up watching his films. Most importantly, I play a character who is the polar opposite of who I am.
Could you identify with the ‘taboo’ issue that the film addresses: menstruation and menstrual hygiene?
I talk about it very openly. So, of course, I could relate to it. I remember, as a child, I was at my best friend’s house and her mother wouldn’t let me in the kitchen, because I had my period. I used to feel very angry, because we didn’t have such practices at my house. Somebody asked me the other day if Pad Man’s subject is a hard-hitting one, and I was like, ‘No, it’s like talking about food or giving birth to children’. It’s a fundamental reality that you can’t live without, so what’s the problem in talking about that?
You said you have watched a lot of Akshay’s films while growing up...
It’s true, but I don’t remember all his films from the Khiladi series (laughs). In the beginning, I remember it all felt a bit surreal — you have grown up watching somebody, and suddenly, you are working with him. He is so funny and he’s a great person. Plus, we had rehearsals and we gave our inputs too, because Akshay wants everybody’s inputs. It has been great.
As an actor, do you change gears depending on what the character needs?
Not really. If you want to do anything seriously, you put your heart into it. If you are expected to do something that you actually don’t believe in but have to do it, then you just put your thinking cap aside, and say, ‘Okay, what you need?’. So, it depends on what kind of compromises you are ready to make. Like, I will probably not do a Housefull, but Pad Man is equally commercial, so I don’t know how to tell the difference, as I think every films falls somewhere in the middle. So, it goes from zero compromises to full compromise.
We hear travelling and a break is on the cards?
Yes, I do want a break, but right now, I am going to shoot a film. I’ll probably take a break after that.
Are you satisfied with your career graph so far? As an actor, honestly, you can never be satisfied, so I won’t say I am completely satisfied. I would like to do more challenging work and work more. There isn’t much work for women. I get very irritated if I’m out for a shoot for two months and the male actor is shooting every day while you don’t shoot for most of the days. I am tired of that schedule. I want to shoot every day too. Radhika Apte