Actor Radhika Apte says, as an audience, she enjoys watching thrillers and her upcoming film “Raat Akeli Hai” is a great whodunnit. Set in north India, the crime thriller follows a small town cop, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who is summoned to investigate the death of a politician. “Raat Akeli Hai” marks the directorial debut of casting director Honey Trehan, known for films like “Talvar”, “Udta Punjab” and “Delhi Belly”.
Apte said the film, slated to be released on Netflix on July 31, is a “stunning debut” from Trehan. “I love thrillers. This film is a great whodunnit with amazing ensemble performances. Honey is a director to look out for,” she told PTI in an interview.
The actor said working with the first-time director was a “fulfilling” experience as Trehan is someone who taps talent very well. “Honey and I have had a long relationship. I’ve auditioned for him many times. I’ve not been selected for many, many parts he auditioned me for because he needs to cast people who are absolutely perfect for the part. He always makes the choice which is perfect for the film.
“When I found that he was going to make a film, I really wanted to be a part of it because he is so good with actors that (I thought) it will be a great experience. And that was exactly the same.”
Apte said there were many instances when Trehan surprised her with a nuance she hadn’t thought of before.
“I liked the script. We did lots of rehearsals, readings, and had to work on my accent a lot. He just had such homework done for every single reaction and sentence,” she added.
“Raat Akeli Hai” borrows its name from the popular number from the 1967 hit film “Jewel Thief”. It is one of Apte’s favourite songs.
“Whenever we used to go on trips with my family and how sometimes stupidly parents were like ‘Oh! sing a song for them’ and I always used to sing ‘Raat Akeli Hai’. I still know the whole song by heart,” she recalled.
In the movie, Apte, 34, plays the mysterious Radha, who was to be married to the man who is murdered on the wedding night.
She said her character was of someone who has been “victimised and abused in our culture very often”.
“Radha is the mistress of the man who is killed. She has had a very difficult life, so she thinks that there is basically nothing to lose. She’s feisty.
She can come across as arrogant and rude, but she is quite matter of fact. There are a lot of things in her which I found more progressive than other people. But we don’t know whether she is tricking you or not.”
The film also reunites the actor with Siddiqui, her co-star in the films “Manjhi: The Mountain Man”, “Badlapur”, and Netflix series “Sacred Games”.
Apte said the duo have done various roles together so it has been a fun journey.
“Nawaz is one of the finest actors in the country. The good thing about him is that he is always present in the moment. He reacts to you. He doesn’t come to the sets prepared. So we can just play along with our parts, improvise a lot, and see what comes along.”
At a time, when the number of cases due to the coronavirus pandemic continue to rise, Apte said, like everyone, she is also clueless about the future.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen after the pandemic is over. I don’t think anyone knows. The only thing the pandemic has taught us is to live in the present. Let’s just live in the now. We’ll know what to do in future when time comes.”
The actor said OTT platforms are a saving grace when theatres remain closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We can’t go to theatres so it’s great we have OTT platforms. The film is viewed by so many people in so many countries. You get so much visibility,” she added.
Apte will next be seen in the American historical drama “Liberte: A Call to Spy” and Apple TV Plus series “Shantaram”. “‘A Call to Spy’ is releasing soon. ‘Shantaram’ will be shot next year. I have also done a series but I don’t know when it will release.”
“Raat Akeli Hai” also features Shweta Tripathi, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Shivani Raghuvanshi, Nishant Dahiya, Ila Arun, Swanand Kirkire and Aditya Srivastava.
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