When Ridhima Sud told her family that she wants to be an actor, none of them believed her. They thought she was joking and going through a ‘phase’. But not one to give up, the ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ actor persisted until they eased into the idea.
“They didn’t take it seriously for a long time. My father was amused at first, then he got worried; I come from a family that has no connections with the film industry. But this was something I had to do,” she says.
Her initial days in the industry were much like a game of hide-and-seek. “I didn’t want to worry my parents about the struggles I went through, especially since they were struggles they couldn’t understand. I would tell them that I’m going to stay with a friend in Mumbai, and instead go for auditions. I wanted them to think that the roles came to me easily!” Once they saw her face on the television regularly, they came to terms with it.
Like most children with anxious parents, she tries not to worry them too much. “I love to travel, and I recently went on a backpack trip to Argentina and Brazil with a girlfriend. But I told my parents that we’d be going with a group of 10 people, of which six were boys who could act as our bodyguards. So, in every public space or beach, we’d take pictures with strangers and send them to my parents,” she says, laughing.
They, however, dropped the pretence when they came back home because, “Once I knew I was safe, I told them about what I’d done!”
Ridhima, who acted opposite Ranveer Singh, as his fiancee Noorie in the Zoya Akhtar film, made a drastic career change by becoming an actor. She holds a double degree in economics and politics from New York University and did an internship at Wall Street.
“Every teenager should know how the world works on a macro level, so I am grateful to my college days. I took the job at Wall Street to prove to myself and my parents that I could get a job and be financially independent. It doesn’t hurt to have such experience.”
Although she didn’t enter Bollywood completely inexperienced, she says she was a nervous wreck when she auditioned for ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’. “Zoya Akhtar is one the top of my list of favourite directors! I had modelled in college and acted in about 10 commercials before this, but when I went for the auditions and saw Zoya, I was shaking.”
She isn’t sure whether she was shaking because of unsteady nerves or an overdose of caffeine, but it did take her a few tries to nail the audition. “Three, to be specific.”
Talking about why she loves acting, she says, “Why should I choose one profession, one dimension or personality to be when I can see things from multiple perspectives? I could be a journalist working in UP or an heiress of a financial empire. Now, I get to see the world and meet different people.”
Ridhima also thinks that the visual medium has a strong impact on society, “Films add value to society; it’s a way to give back to it and think beyond yourself. In films, my emotions become my strength; people spend so much of their life trying to contain their emotions because they think it’ll make them seem weak. I don’t have to worry about that. The visual medium has affected me greatly.”
Global cinema and popular culture have made their mark on her in particular.“I was exposed to different kinds of films in New York. Other than acting and travelling, I love to watch movies, TV shows, read books and spend time with family.” Her all-time favourite show is the classic comedy ‘Seinfeld’. “Larry David is brilliant! I also love ‘Empire’, ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’.”
How would she describe her perfect weekend? “It’s when I can wake up without an alarm and don’t have to workout. I like to spend time with my family and friends, especially when I’m in Delhi,” she concludes.