There is no scarcity of important roles for a female actor even in the male dominated Kannada film industry, says Radhika
It may be a hero’s world but ask Radhika Pandit and she will tell you that it is not difficult for a female actor to find her place in the Kannada film industry.
“There is no doubt that the industry here is male dominated, but it is also equally true that there is no scarcity of important roles for a female actor. I can tell you that there are scripts available where there is a balance. The hero has his share of fights and dance sequences to do and at the same time, I’ve had the opportunity to explore roles that significantly affect the course of the narrative,” she explains.
Winner of three Filmfare awards in four years, she says the film industry was not on her to-do list.
“Before joining the industry, my impression of Kannada films was red and yellow outfits, hilarious sets and dance movements. But I’m glad I’m wrong,” she says.
She admits that while it is easy to play the role of what she calls “arm candy to the hero”, it is also possible to find a film like Moggina Manasu, her debut film for which she won a Filmfare award for 2008, which is a story seen through a female narrator.
“You may not find a film like Kahaani here where the hero is more or less absent. It would be very selfish and demanding for an actor to want such a role in an industry like this,” she says.
Looking for some punches
“In fact if you look at Indian cinema, it has always been about the ‘hero’. So it is not just a characteristic of the Kannada film industry in particular,” she continues. “But one of the reasons to explain the ‘hero-centrism’ in our industry could be the fact that the audience here really enjoys the action sequences and the ‘punch’ dialogues.”
For the hero to come alive, there has to be a damsel in distress.
Radhika acknowledges that there are plenty of sequences where the girl is kidnapped and is helplessly waiting for the man to come rescue her.
Hero among the ordinary
“Such sequences highlight the difference between a guy next door and a hero. He has to be able to fight the goons and protect his girl. Good guys are everywhere but you look for such heroes in the movies,” she admits.
“We cater to the audience that watches our films. More men than women watch our movies in cinemas. But at the same time, a good response to a film like Moggina Manasu is definitely encouraging and is evidence of the fact that such stories can succeed as well,” she says.
More importantly, Radhika says, the industry has plenty of people who are in love with cinema and are passionate about their work and that is what matters.
“We have so many people who have learned their subject. We now have fashion designers and stylists, great music and even shoot in exotic locations,” she narrates.
Radhika isn't sure if she would ever take up a super-girl role, if offered to her. “I’m quite feminine. I’d like my man to protect me. How successful has Wonder Girl been anyway?” she asks.