First audition on Skype

Star trek

Actor Radhika Chetan describes how she got her first role, and her journey in Sandalwood

Movies just happened to me. It was my craze for dance that led me to the film industry. I would follow Madhuri Dixit as a kid and try to do her steps. I am a trained kathak dancer and I was also pursuing theatre at the same time. 

I joined WeMove Theatre as they were planning to branch out into dance too.

Eventually, I watched the play rehearsals happening there and got into a play. The energy on the stage mesmerised me and I was pulled to acting somehow. It was just magical. I kept doing plays after plays and Anup Bhandari, director of ‘RangiTaranga’, saw my short film ‘Bang Lure’. 

My first audition happened over Skype, which was a surprise for me. Anup was in the US. I had to depict a scene where I was drawing water from a well, I was instructed to dress up in a simple kurta with add-ons to look like a pregnant woman. I thought I did bad but Anup was convinced with my performance and told me I was good.  

The film started. I was used to the background of rehearsing and learning my lines before coming to work but here I had to familiarise myself with retakes, improvisations and doing one scene from different angles, like master shots and close shots.

I told myself that I would be as energetic as ever in every shot. I goofed up on the sets quite a lot initially. I wasn’t aware of changing lights for each shot and I had to adjust to this. The best part was when the cameraman did a focus shot, where the artiste is supposed to stay still. I was happily moving around, talking to people and then the cameraman shouted “steady for focus”, which is when I realised that I had to stay put. 

Nobody taught me these small yet important things. I learnt them on the go.

Everyone else in ‘RangiTaranga’ had their own set of experiences and I was a relatively fresh face. I was always worried about doing more takes etc.

Nirup was a great co-actor and he helped me a lot with different angles when the camera was focussing.

Each project turned out to be a lesson well learnt.

After ‘RangiTaranga’, I started focussing on my looks. With every film, I have taken back something with me. In ‘U-Turn’, I learnt the art of waiting. There would be times when I was on the set at 5 pm and I would be called for my shot around 10 pm. 

With ‘Kaafi Thota’, I learnt how to deliver lines on the spot. I was always used to having the script well beforehand. But learning things on the spot helped me push the actor in me. 

I’ve brought together all these experiences together for my upcoming film ‘Hottegagi Genu Battegagi’. I have worked a lot on my body language, my character and trying to keep in subtle.

Theatre makes one too dramatic and I had slowly mastered the need to acting subtly. I am a director’s actor, I remember Pawan Kumar would remind me during ‘U-Turn’ that I was a normal person and I didn’t have to look like a ghost.    

I’ve been trying to emote differently and have a different body language for every role.

In most movies, I’ve played meek characters but I have a very different role in ‘Hottegagi Genu Battegagi’. I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime-character.

I don’t believe in copying from anywhere and wanted to give the character an original touch. Anant Nag sir and the director helped me a lot to keep things unique and fresh.

Over the years, I have learnt many things and had to learn and unlearn a lot. Though I will never force my views on anyone,  I will definitely encourage co-artistes to perform better.

A film’s success is all about teamwork. After all, we are in this game together.

Radhika Chetan

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First audition on Skype

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