Netflix may have claimed Radhika Apte as its own, but the fact of the matter is, Radhika has been gifting us brilliant roles and off-beat stories since the start of her film career.
An actor whose filmography includes movies in Malayalam, Telugu, Marathi, English, and Bengali, here are some of her finest, yet underrated performances:
1. Shor in the City
The crime-drama that gave most of us our first glimpse of the ‘hot dad’ from Never Have I Ever, starred Radhika Apte as Sapna, a shy, dutiful wife who undergoes a journey of love and understanding with her husband after marriage. In a film that perfectly married gritty violence with dark humor, Apte’s character arc and performance added the much-needed sensitivity and ‘heart’ to the film.
Parched saw Radhika Apte play the victim of domestic abuse Lajjo, who is subjected to constant violence at the hands of an alcoholic husband who blames her for his impotence. Despite playing a character continuously exploited by the movies to showcase patriarchy’s evil effects, Apte brought a freshness to her role, especially in the moments of quiet intimacy she shares with her friend Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee).
3. Stories by Rabindranath Tagore
Directed by Anurag Basu, Stories by Rabindranath Tagore was an anthology that adapted Rabindranath Tagore’s story for TV. Radhika played Binodini in Chokher Bali. Apte played a character who, like most of the women in Tagore’s works, is not restricted to the narrow, unidimensional roles that TV soap operas carve for female characters.
4. I Am
Radhika Apte had a brief role in the segment on Abhimanyu, in this critically acclaimed anthology. The story took on child sexual abuse and dealt with the topic with immense sensitivity. Radhika played Abhimanyu’s (Sanjay Suri) friend, and in just a few short scenes, gave us a glimpse of her finesse as a performer.
One of the finest psychological thrillers to release in recent times, Phobia was a spine-chilling thriller showcasing one of Apte’s most outstanding performances to date. Apte played a young artist suffering from agoraphobia, and she was a joy to watch, especially in moments where she let her actions, rather than the dialogues, do the talking.
6. Rupkatha Noy
In a world that is increasingly forgetting the art of conversation, this Bengali drama is a charming, enjoyable thriller that leaves you intrigued and impressed in equal takes. And Apte’s riveting performance as a single mother more than makes up for the slightly disappointing end.
7. Lai Bhaari
Before films like Badlapur, Pad Man, Andhadhun, etc., it was the Marathi drama Lai Bhaari that proved Apte can fit into a mainstream, masala entertainer with the same ease that she fits into off-beat, neo-noir cinema.
One of my personal favourites when it comes to Hindi short films, Ahalya was not just an intelligent adaptation of an Indian mythological story, but also allowed Radhika Apte to truly flex those acting muscles. She displayed a gamut of emotions in a short frame of time, allowing the audience to completely invest in the story.
Starring Manoj Bajpayee, Kriti Sharma, and Neha Sharma, Kriti is a psychological thriller that keeps you guessing the truth till the end. Despite sharing screen space with a seasoned performer like Bajpayee, Radhika held her own and delivered a phenomenal performance as the psychiatrist, Dr. Kalpana.
Radhika will next be seen in the historical drama, A Call to Spy, where she plays a British spy, Noor Inayat Khan.