When California-born Avantika Vandanapu had moved to India in 2015 as a 12-year-old, she got the chance to act in a handful of films as a child artiste, one of which included the 2016-Mahesh-Babu-romance–action Brahmotsavam.
Even as a child artiste in India, Avantika had worked hard at the sets, sometimes
shooting between 3.00 a.m. and 7.00 a.m. Then, by 2018, when she’d accumulated several films and ad commercials in her portfolio as well as deep insights into how the industry works, Avantika decided to go back to the US in 2018.
“I was interested in the performing arts but the range of roles for teenage female actresses in India seemed to be limited. Also, I wanted to discover myself more while trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to do, and so I decided to go back to the US,” Avantika explains in fluent Telugu.
After returning to the US, Avantika got into theatre and started taking acting classes, and studying filmmaking techniques to understand what aspect of the art drew her most. “To dive deeper into the craft, I studied various acting theories — including the Stanislavski Method, Alexander Breathing and Movement System, and the Meisner Technique.”
All of the hard work and studying acting seem to have paid off for Avantika, for she got the kind of break many young actors aspire for — an audition call from Disney’s production house. After auditioning for the part in the US, she was chosen to play a significant character in Disney’s forthcoming film, Spin, for which she subsequently started shooting last year in Canada.
“It’s crazy and the project was everything I could have ever dreamed of,” Avantika tells us about the Manjari Makijany directorial, which is set to release on 15 August. “In the film, I play an effervescent role for the character named Rhea. She is a dreamer, navigating through various things in her life. The film chronicles her journey of how she balances everything in life.”
The balancing act
While her experience as a child artiste came in handy for grabbing Spin, Avantika points out the differences between working in India and in the US. “In the US, I am more protected when it comes to child labour,” she shares.
Of course, managing studies and films have been challenging for the youngster, but Avantika has been working hard at striking the needed balance.
“When I was in India, I was home-schooled, but since I’ve been back in the US, I’ve got great support from my parents and teachers even during my shootings,” reveals the actress who was part of several Telugu films.
Avantika’s already been a part of a few Hollywood flicks such as Senior Year as well as television series such as The Wilde Bunch, BRAT and Prince Ea. She has also lent her voice in the series Mickey Mouse Mixed-Up Adventures....