The Twitter was left in splits recently, after Katrina Kaif was chosen for the Smita Patil Memorial Award. Those who mocked Katrina for this decision didn't do any justice to her, but those who took the call really messed it up big time.
If we really want to confer an award in the name of the talent called Smita Patil, who had left us at an age of 31, there is no dearth of suitable candidates. And among those, Radhika Apte is certainly a frontrunner. It is too early to compare 31-year-old Radhika, with Smita now as some have already said, but there are enough signs that this young actor has a world to conquer.
When Radhika was called a "revelation" after her Bengali film 'Antaheen' was released in 2009, the adjective was not overstated. The actor, who was just into her first regional film and third overall, delivered a powerful performance as a feisty television journalist.
Radhika's journey towards the peak had started from the word go, something even the mainstream commercial actors do not always experience - despite the bigger platforms and more popular entertainment that masala movies provide.
The Honest Self-Assessment:
Radhika could have also joined the bandwagon and secured the box office fortunes. In an industry and time when uncertainty rules the roost, it takes a heart to say: "I think the last few years have been good for people like us who are not from the industry per se and don't really fit into the blockbuster, commercial kind of cinema. We are getting meaty roles to play now even when the films don't revolve around the women. I think it's a good sign for us."
The actor had told this to The Telegraph, in an interview last year when she was asked whether this is an exciting time for women actors.
This comment speaks about an honesty and a perfect self-assessment. However, if one compares Radhika with Smita, the latter had eventually taken up glamorous roles in mainstream films like 'Shakti' and 'Namak Halaal' in the early 1980s after remaining exclusively associated with the small cinema for a considerable time.
In today's times, however, the strict compartmentalisation between 'commercial' and 'art' films do not exist like earlier, and one hopes Radhika will have a better time in dealing with things as they come.
But it is not the genre of her films that makes Radhika special. Her appeal lies in that fearlessness to experiment, may be a quality that artistes from second-rung cities acquire during their formative years.
Whether it is Badlapur, Hunterr to the latest Parched or in mini-films like Ahalya or the blockbuster Kabali - Radhika Apte has made her mark, despite the time allotted to her roles in the script. That's how powerful actors make themselves different from the rest.
The Radhika Aptes and Nimrat Kaurs are fortunate to have been born in an era when the meaning of women's role in Bollywood has undergone an overall change. Even the mainstream actresses today are not the same as their predecessors used to be 20-30 years ago.
Whether it is Priyanka Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Deepika Padukone or Kangana Ranaut - women's roles in films have been liberalised to a significant extent and this widening of the horizon has done the not-so-mainstream women actors a world of good.
The perception about women actors no more includes the candyfloss factor and is more substantive. This makes the generation of Aptes assertive.
Of course, the multi-layered film industry today also creates fresh challenges for the actors as there are ample chances of them suffering from an identity crisis, but for creative artistes like Radhika Apte, no challenge is bigger than the art itself.