Pune mulgi Radhika Apte, an actress known for her dusky good looks and unconventional role choices, recently visited her hometown to kick off the second edition of the Signature Startup Masterclass - a platform to inspire other people to turn their passion into a paycheck.
Over 200 people turned up at Kalyani Nagar’s Classic Rock Coffee Co to listen to Radhika chat with the evening’s host, actor Neil Bhoopalam, on how she went from being an Economics student to a sought-after actress, her childhood in Pune, her passion for dance and her first break in Bollywood.
Only passion can get you going
Radhika spoke about growing up in the Pune of yore, riding around on her bicycle, doing theatre and studying Economics and Maths. She said, “I don’t know if it just happens in Pune, but parents here send their kids all kinds of classes. So I learnt all sorts of things - drawing, watercolour painting, singing, acting, and everything else you could think of.”
In a nostalgic vein, she noted how her hometown had changed over the years. “If you stepped out of the house then, you’d know 80 per cent of the people. The weather was beautiful, there were so many trees, so many cafes everywhere. It had a small town vibe but with so much cultural richness to it,” she reminisced.
Radhika began her theatre journey with the Pune-based non-profit theatre group Aasakta Kalamanch. The actress got her first commercial movie break after actor Rahul Bose watched one of her theatre performances. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, Radhika’ is known for experimenting with her roles in both mainstream and regional cinema. She has dazzled audiences with her performances in Parched, Kabali, Rakht Charitra, Ahalya, Phobia, Madly, and Manjhi: The Mountain Man, among others.
It hasn’t been an easy journey, however. She’s also had to hunt for projects, face rejection, make ends meet on a small salary, and handle unwanted controversies. Taking it all in her stride, she says anyone trying to make it big goes through that kind of struggle. Radhika’s sage advice was that success is not an overnight phenomenon. It takes time. You have to be patient, and stick around for at least 7-10 years if you want to make it big.
Everyone has a different definition of success
Radhika hasn’t been a stranger to rejection. Now she laughs at it but that wasn’t the case earlier. “Rejection is a part of every business. I used to take it very personally, but then I realised that businesses don’t work without rejections.” She also added that it’s best to compete with your own self, and constantly work to be better, rather than depend on someone else. And no matter how ambitious you are, nothing is more important than your mental and physical health, she reiterates.
The actress, who is all set to share screen space with Akshay Kumar and Sonam Kapoor in 2018 release Padman, still doesn’t consider herself a success, despite having worked in movies in seven different languages. She explains, “I have a different dream. So my definition of success is definitely different from someone else’s. You should know what success means to you. Don’t go by someone else’s definition of it.”
The evening concluded on a musical note with a performance by Tejas Menon, known for his Ed Sheeran-like style of music.
The Signature Startup Masterclass is a web series being conducted in over 14 cities across India, which gives individuals from all fields an opportunity to network and listen to success stories of those who’ve turned their passion into a paycheck, and made it big.