We caught up with the lovely Radhika Apte at a suburban restaurant just few days before her new film 'Phobia' hits the big screens.
From what made her green-lit this film to why she doesn't mind repeating genres the actress talks about a lot of things.
Excerpts from the conversation-
Q. How did you prep up for your role in 'Phobia'?
A. I knew about phobias and mental illness right from my childhood and was aware of it. I know somebody who had agoraphobia and few people who have panic disorders. My parents are doctors. But yes, I needed to prepare a lot for my role. So I had quite a lot of material to read and watch. I met a psychologist and worked with him extensively. I met doctors and patients. We had a lot of discussions besides the script.
Q. What made you choose the film?
A. The concept was really interesting. When Pawan Kriplani (the director) told me the idea and particularly the climax, it really interested me.
Q. The whole movie revolves around you and your character. So was it difficult or were you nervous to carry the entire film on your shoulders?
A. No, not at all. In fact I loved it. I love working everyday and being in every frame.
Q. So does 'Phobia' have any jump-scares?
A. There might be a few jump-scares. It's not a horror flick but a psychological thriller. It's not as scary as people think it is. It's like more layered than 'Oh we are here to scare you'.
Q. How do you select your films?
A. I don't select films according to genres. I select films on the basis of the script. So it doesn't matter what genre it is. If I like the script I will do it. I will repeat the genre 50 times if the script is different from the other and there is no repetition.
Q. Psychological thrillers haven't evolved much in Bollywood. What do you think is the reason for the same?
A. That's true. I don't know what the reason is but there are very few psychological thrillers in India. Also the thrillers and horrors that come, a majority of them ain't my cup of tea.
Q. So how did you bag 'Phobia'?
A. Pawan (Kriplani) approached me one day for this film. He just said that I was his first choice apparently which was very flattering. He didn't have a script that time but just a concept which I liked a lot. He was working with a friend of mine called Pooja who is the editor of 'Badlapur'. She was co-writing the film. And so it was a yes from my side. A year later they got money and the script and we started working.
Q. How was your working experience with Pawan?
A. It was really good. Pawan and I were always on the same page. We collaborated throughout right from the scripting to the editing. He involved me in everything for which I am very grateful to him. On the sets and rehearsals I used to bring everything on the table from my side and he accepted it and guided me through it. He gave me the freedom to do that.
Q. What do you take back from the film?
A. A lot of things. It's hard to analyse and point them out. But you go through a process and learn a lot of things from every film that you do. It's a constant learning process.
Q. You have done a lot of unconventional roles in the past. Was it a conscious decision to carve a niche for yourself?
A. No. You can say that my choice of films is unconventional because I just do what I like.
Q. Would you ever do a slapstick comedy like 'Housefull 3'?
A. I won't do a 'Housefull 3' because it's not my cup of tea. It's great where it is but I don't categorize films either. So if a 'Housefull 4' comes to me and I like the script I might do it.
Q. Your Marathi film 'Lai Bhaari' worked well at the box office. Were you offered any other Marathi films?
A. Yes, quite a few but I refused all of them. I have finally said yes to one now. It's an amazing project with a female protagonist. It's a big project and currently is in the scripting stages. It will go on floors either end of this year or early next year.
Q. With the success of 'Sairat' do you think that the audience is accepting Marathi films now with open arms?
A. The Marathi film industry is really booming. I am very happy about that because otherwise the language shouldn't die in its own state at least. These films are working because they have great content.
Q. Tell us something about 'Kabaali', your film with Rajinikanth
A. 'Kabaali' was like a double whammy for one. Firstly because I got to work with Rajinikanth and secondly the subject is really good. It has a very strong subject and my character is very strong as well. So I was just happy from every side. It turned out to be one of my best experiences because he (Rajinikanth) is one of the most professional actors I have met. He is completely inspiring. Just to watch him wait for his next shot is quite inspiring. There was really a lot to learn from him.
Q. What are your upcoming projects?
A. I have doing a new film called 'Ghoul' which is slated to go on floors in June. It's a horror film by Patrick Graham which will be produced by Phantom Films, Blumhouse and Ivanhoe. It's a kick-ass project, something like never been made before in India.