Radhika Madan has all the reasons to be happy for she won the award for Best Actor for upcoming film, Sanaa, at the recently held UK Asian Film Festival. Calling her first international accolade, “an overwhelming moment,” the actor says, “The reaction that we got at the screening, the tears that we shared, the hugs that we got, and the love that we received from the audience, that was our award. And my trophy is a cherry on the cake. The experience will always be close to my heart, as I haven’t received this kind of a reaction ever.”
The 28-year-old plays the protagonist in he film that follows a headstrong and ambitious girl who is raging against an internal battle that is rooted in unhealed trauma. Asked what attracted her the most while giving her nod for the project, and Madan tells us, “I was getting a lot of material to play. I was scared, and didn’t know how I am going to do this character. The uncertainty, the room to play, and the team, is what really made me say yes.”
Talking about the rigorous prep that she underwent for the role, Madan says besides a lot of workshops, “I had to just live in the office for a month to prepare for my character. Also, being with Sudhanshu really helped me crack the role, and it’s by far the toughest part I I’ve ever played”.
The Sudhanshu Saria directed film had its world premiere at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, and was also selected for the official competition at the 23rd New York Film Festival in May. On whether such recognition on the global map help a film reach a wider audience and create buzz, Madan says she is still waiting to see the result of her film’s international accolades translate into commercial success and popularity.
“For an actor, any kind of recognition matters. I feel grateful. I came from nowhere, and I’m proud of my journey. But, I’m not too sure that international recognition helps a film grow monetary and popularity wise. It puts your film in a different bracket where people take your film more seriously. And popularity wise, you get to meet different people in a different country. But, I am yet to see the result of it,” she tells us.
Elaborating on what possibly about Sanaa would have clicked with the audiences in the international film festival circuit, and the actor reveals that the collective praise was for “different India” they got to see.
“Everyone said they were not aware that such an India exists. We are trying to show that the protagonist is from a well-to-do family, she’s an independent, young woman, financial advisor, living on her own terms. I think for audience, it was quite fresh to see a new India. Many people told us how usually, films coming in from India, showcase poverty or our grandeur. And here was a story, which showed them the new age India,” Madan says.
Recalling the most memorable reaction she received after the screening of Sanaa, the actor tells us it was from someone twice her age, who “hugged me, cried and told me that they got a closure with their family member after 25 years. That’s when I realised the power of cinema and storytelling. It was a beautiful moment”.