The weather outside is one filled with trademark Bombay humidity thanks to the incessant downpour. But in a studio in the city’s Lower Parel area, a bunch of us is huddled around a set built from the scratch to appear like Marrakesh. There’s sand everywhere along-with walls made to look like they’re built with mud, decorated with carpets and sofas injected with a Middle-Eastern touch. Here, we’re trying our best to capture Radhika Madan’s dynamic personality in the form of stills, just ahead of the festive season. Dressed in a printed pink lehenga from designer Ritu Kumar’s fuss-free line, Aarke, she finally takes a breather when she sits down for a chat.
Lehnga, Blouse and Dupatta: Aarkè by Ritu Kumar; Choker and Necklace: Tribe Amrapali; Bangles and Ring: Sangeeta Boochra available at Aquamarine Jewellery; Cuff: Stylist’s Own
There’s so much you know about Radhika Madan and so much that you’re yet to discover. Like, who is she when she is not in front of a camera – which seems to be a lot when you are someone who has been working in the entertainment business since around 2014. “When I am not in front of the camera, I am just your ordinary girl next door whose mother scolds her for not eating enough and looking skinny!” laughs Radhika. But there’s hardly anything about the actor that qualifies the phrase she associates with herself – girl next door. Before she made her acting debut with Ekta Kapoor’s show, Meri Aashiqui Tum Se Hi, Radhika was a dance instructor in New Delhi. In fact, if she hadn’t become an actor, she would have pursued a career in dancing. “I’d have gone to Broadway and become a professional dancer,” says Radhika.
Dress and Belt: Aarkè by Ritu Kumar; Choker and Necklace: Sangeeta Boochra available at Aquamarine Jewellery;Ring and Boots: Stylist’s Own
A lot of us may know her since Radhika made her big screen debut with director Vishal Bharadwaj’s 2018 movie, Pataakha, followed by her role in the hit movie, Angrezi Medium also starring Irfran Khan, or as Avani in her Netflix debut, Feels Like Ishq, but Radhika’s career, before scripts came to her in a systemic manner, was filled with the anticipation of what’s coming her way when she reaches the set. “In movies, you get the luxury of time to prepare for the part you are playing” she says, “TV, on the other hand – you get the script on the set. People are like, “by the time you’re ready, the script will be, too!” It’s a whole different ball game.”
Dress and Blouse worn as Headscarf: Aarkè by Ritu Kumar
Whether small or big screen, Radhika was always intrigued by the zone between “action” and “cut”. “When you are your honest self and in the moment. I go for that feeling every time,” says the actor about the feeling that motivated her for a career in acting. “There’s a certain nothingness with everything in it, does that make sense?” she asks earnestly. Maybe it’s a zone known only to those who feel so deeply about their art. Is there something she hates about it? “Waiting in the van!” she laughs her signature boisterous laugh. But it’s also the love for it that keeps her going. “The past year has been very good. I have worked through all of it. I have 5 or 6 projects coming up, so you will see a lot of me,” quips Radhika.
Co-ord Set: Aarkè by Ritu Kumar; Earrings: Aquamarine Jewellery; Ring: Stylist’s Own
And just like that, as though her little break is over, Radhika fixes the diaphanous dupatta of her lehenga, adjusts the necklace in place, and gets back to shooting. She may think of herself as one, but Radhika Madan is nothing like your ordinary girl next door.
Photographer: Sahil Behal
Art Director: Bendi Vishan
Fashion Editor: Krishna Mukhi
Make Up artist: Guia (Anima Creative Management)
Hairstylist: Shivani Shettye
Videographer: Vaibhav Nadgaonkar
Celebrity’s Management: Bling! Management Agency