Radhika Apte’s Kalindi, a fiery college professor in the first Anurag Kashyap’s Lust Stories got her nominated in the Best Actress category in the International Emmy Awards. Her first reaction on hearing the news was similar to how anyone of us would have reacted. She “googled Emmys a bit and found out if it was the same Emmys.”
Apte’s nomination and the nomination of Netflix’s Sacred Games in the International Emmy Awards speaks volumes about Indian content being accepted across the world. The acclaimed 34-year-old actor feels the idea of television has changed in India. Thus, our content has gained recognition on the international platforms.
She tells indianexpress.com, “I think it is about television. So far the television we had was not at par with the world content at all. Let’s call it a revolution or whatever, but with the digital medium, the world has become so small. Everyone’s viewing each other’s content. The idea of television has changed completely which is why we are making content which can be viewed across the world. And, this is why there are so many nominations this year. If we continue making such content, I am sure we’ll have nominations every year.”
But does it mean, we are at par with other industries or we still have a long way to go? Apte says, “We will have to wait and see since we have been producing digital content only for two years now. So, let’s give it another two-three years to see if our content becomes better or balanced or if it gets dumbed down.”
While Indian web series are gaining prominence in the international sphere, a lot of debate is going on over their censorship in India. Violence, intimacy, obscene language and characters smoking on-screen—scenes like these have often irked a section of the audience. The Sacred Games actor doesn’t understand this criticism of online content for being inappropriate for the Indian audience.
She argues, “The web is a great platform and reaches to a lot of people at the same time. You can watch both longer and shorter format stuff. Now whether if you use it to your advantage or you just waste your money on it, it’s on you. As a medium, I don’t think there’s anything bad in it. If we talk about the misuse of freedom from censorship, I don’t agree with it at all. We are all becoming very right-wing. We are all so extreme, we are trying to ban everything. We have the freedom to express. What is ‘misuse’? I mean if two people are intimate, it happens in every household.”
And, this is why she thinks her anthology film Lust Stories which is a take on ‘Love, Sex and everything in between!’ found its audience in India. “There’s nothing more common than sex. We are one of the most populated countries. People just don’t like to talk about sex but they all relate to it. It’s the most relatable thing. Lust, love, attraction, sex, all of them are the most relatable things. That’s what it is. Cinema is one the mediums where we feel emotions which we don’t talk about openly,” suggests Apte.
Apte will soon start work on Australian filmmaker Justin Kurzel directorial Apple TV+’s upcoming series Shantaram. It is based on Gregory David Roberts’ bestselling India-set novel of the same name. Talking about her decision to star in the series, the actor says, “I accepted it without even knowing what my role was. I think that is because it’s such a big book. It is Apple first series. The people involved are really great, and I like their work. So I thought that it would be quite an interesting project to work on.”
Lastly, we ask Apte who has surprised the audience with her every performance, to describe the evolution of Indian cinema. She replies, “The content has changed, more people are up for this industry, there are more subjects and different stories being explored, suddenly our content is being consumed by audience across the world. So, the standard has changed. But I think it is still a male-dominant populace and there is still a lack of equal parts for women. We are still massy in many ways and we still have to do a lot of compromises.”
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