She’s arguably, the most coveted actress in India today; her body of work over the last few years endearing her to extreme ends of the spectrum – from auteur film intellects to popcorn entertainment seekers. Her whimsical personality needs no further introduction than the disparity between her last two releases: the crime drama Badlapur and adult comedy Hunterrr! Yet, the biggest sign yet that Radhika’s hitting a career peak unbeknownst to most actresses came just a few days ago – when she was confirmed as the lead heroine in Superstar Rajinikanth’s next film directed by Pa. Ranjith, touted to be a saga on the life of an ageing gangster.
“I’m extremely humbled they thought of me; it’s an amazing opportunity to work with a legend like him. Only three actresses from Bollywood have had the honour of acting with Rajinikanth, and I’m thrilled to be in such elite company! I can’t say much about the movie for now, but I will be doing some research for the role. My last Tamil film was over a year ago, and I need to start from scratch all over again to get a grip on the language. I’ll be travelling to Chennai very soon to meet Rajinikanth in person, and I’m pretty thrilled about it,” Radhika smiles.
Having worked in a number of regional industries across the country, Radhika is no stranger to adapting to different work cultures and diverse teams, and she plans to keep experimenting – “Kollywood is definitely different from Hindi film in terms of its culture and people, but I’m enjoying being a part of it. I not only want to work in various languages, but in other countries too. See for me, there are only good and bad films irrespective of everything else, and I want to keep performing to better myself as an actor across all fronts.”
And she truly has lived upto her ideals - if Radhika’s stirring portrayal of a common woman dealing with sexual harassment in everyday India received widespread acclaim in Anurag Kashyap’s That Day after Everyday, her interpretation of a bewitching beauty alluring someone with her mere persona in Sujoy Ghosh’s Ahalya made her quite the darling of social media.
Were doing these shorts a calculated risk for a leading lady? “I’ve never possessed an image about myself like that. At the end of the day, it’s a platform, be it theatre, short films, digital, television ... things are changing now in the industry, and audiences want the theatres to come to their smartphones and laptops,” she quips.
She is in Bengaluru to promote her next, Manjhi: The Mountain Man with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, that is already touted as an award favourite, and Radhika admits she’s slightly nervous, “We actually finished the project over three years ago, but our director has really fought to bring this inspirational real-life story to life and finally release it. Films are such a powerful medium to highlight such issues, and I’m both nervous and excited over its outcome.”
With fame though, comes controversy, as Radhika recently found out when leaked explicit clips of her from her upcoming Hollywood film hit the Internet – yet, the star has maintained admire calm in the face of the controversy, “I don’t want to talk about it now, as there’s no context to it yet. When Parched releases, that’s the right time for me to address the issue – I will have a lot of things to say about it then.”
Lastly, will we see the 29-year-old ever collaborate with her husband, British musician Benedict Taylor? “He might actually compose the score for one of my upcoming films, but nothing’s confirmed yet. We’ll have to wait and see!” she grins and signs off....