Radhika Apte has always impressed us with her unconventional choice of roles. Irrespective of the length of the character, the actor manages to pack a punch with her performance. After enthralling us in Sujoy Ghosh’s short film Ahalya, Radhika will now be seen as a woman suffering from Agoraphobia in Phobia, a nail-biting thriller that releases today. In a chat with Pandolin, she shares her experiences from the film, being a part of various film industries, her journey so far and more.

Radhika Apte

Radhika Apte

You play a character who suffers from a certain phobia. How did you prepare yourself for the role?

Since childhood I’ve been aware of phobias and mental illnesses. I know somebody who has agoraphobia and a few people who have panic disorder. My parents are doctors so I’ve grown up with psychologists. But I needed to prepare a lot for the role. I had quite a lot of material to read and watch. I also met doctors, a psychologist in particular and met patients too and we had a lot of discussions. So all of this helped me in preparing for the role.


How were you approached for this film?

Pawan (Kripalani, director) told me that I was his first choice apparently, which was very flattering. When he told me the idea, he didn’t have a script, he just had a concept but I liked it a lot. He was working with Pooja (Ladha Surti), who was the editor of Badlapur and has co-written this film, and happens to be a friend of mine.  So that’s how it was a yes! It was a no-brainer actually. A year later they got the script in place and we started working.

What was the equation between Pawan Kripalani and you like?

It was really good; Pawan and I were always on the same page. We collaborated throughout as he involved me right from the scripting to the editing. And I’m very grateful for that. During the rehearsals and on sets too, he would give me complete freedom and guided me through the film.

Psychological thrillers have not yet evolved in Bollywood. What are your views on it?

There are very few psychological thrillers in India and I don’t really know the reason behind that.But there’s this weird connotation attached to it and we are trying to break that, in a way.


You have done a lot of unconventional films, which are not typical of what we see in Bollywood. Is this a conscious decision to carve a niche for yourself?

You can say that my choices are unconventional. Because I only do what I like. Phobia is very much a commercial film. But I wouldn’t do a Housefull 3, it’s not my cup of tea. But I don’t categorize films either. If a Housefull 4 comes to me and I like the script, I might just do it.

Radhika Apte in Phobia

Radhika Apte in Phobia

You’ve also been part of a couple of short films. Given the time constraint to tell the story, how different is the experience as an actor?

It’s just different. It’s very difficult to make conclusions about formats because it really depends on the films. It’s really difficult to make a good short film but it’s also extremely difficult to make a feature film. It can be hard to express something in a feature or a short film. So it all depends on what you’re doing.

Your Marathi film Lai bhaari did really well. Were you offered other Marathi movies as well?

I was offered quite a few but I refused all of them. I have finally said yes to a film but can’t reveal much about it. It’s a very big project that has a female protagonist and is currently on the scripting level.

Having worked in Hindi, Marathi and even South Indian films, how difficult is it to adapt to each of these industries?

I’m very easy to adapt, I simply adjust and mould myself. But it can get a little challenging because we don’t know about some cultures very well, so it takes time to understand the culture. You need to understand where people come from, what values they regard and so on.

Lastly, t
ell us about your upcoming projects?

There’s a new film that I’m going to start from June called Ghul.
It’s a horror film, which has a female protagonist and will be directed by Patrick Graham.

Transcribed by Kiran Dave

Photo ofRadhika Apte
Radhika Apte