Vidya Malavade: 'Actors Like Me Have Got New Lease Of Life, Thanks To OTT' (EXCLUSIVE)

Vidya Malavade: 'Actors Like Me Have Got New Lease Of Life, Thanks To OTT' (EXCLUSIVE)

Vidya, who made her acting debut nearly 20 years ago, reveals how she sees the future of Bollywood and how the advent of OTT has helped actors

Ria SharmaUpdated: Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 05:51 PM IST
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Vidya Malavade | Photo by Varinder Chawla

Actress Vidya Malavade, who plays the role of Mantra in Aayush Sharma's Ruslaan, shared her experience of working on the film and how he prepared for it. In an exclusive interview with The Free Press Journal, Vidya said, "The experience has been fantastic. I've never done an action film before, so this was new for me. I think, just to come on board with something like this which is so high-octane and fast-paced was quite cool for me."

Revealing how her role is different from the ones she played earlier on screen, Vidya explains, "I've never done an action film before, so this was a little different for me. I play Ruslan's boss who is sharp, focused, straightforward, who knows what she wants, but she also knows how to get what she wants. So if she needs to be manipulative towards Ruslaan to get things done, she does that. Her people management skill is quite on top. She understands Ruslaan. She does have a soft corner for him because they're family friends, but that never overshadows her endgame. For her, no person or relationship is bigger than her country."

The actress stated that preparing for her role in Ruslaan satisfied her creatively. "I keep going over and over the script and focus on my character. Even for Ruslaan, I created a graph for myself. I create her backstory, where she's coming from, what has happened to her, and her life is what I would create and then figure out how she would react to every situation in her life. From the way she sits, stands or walks to her body language and the way she speaks, there is a bit of homework that goes behind making a character. It's hugely satisfying. And then, of course, if people enjoy it and say, 'Oh, I felt connected with Mantra', that is the icing on the cake," she said. 

Vidya regrets not getting a chance to perform action sequences in Ruslaan. "Unfortunately, I didn't get to perform a single stunt in the film. I even went to Karan Butani (director) and I was like, 'What is this? I need to do something. You better make a sequel for this one so that I can show off some of those action skills'. I enjoy these crazy things. It's so challenging and which is why it's also so interesting," Vidya gushed. 

Vidya made her acting debut nearly 20 years ago. Vidya reveals how she sees the future of Bollywood and how the advent of OTT has helped actors. "There is so much that has changed in Bollywood, not just for artists or women but for everyone, from technicians, writers, directors, and of course, actors like me who probably would have never really gotten a chance to do all of the stuff that I'm doing right now. Every character that I'm playing right now, each one of them is different from the other. I've always tried to make them a little bit different. So a Zeenat from Mismatched will never look or feel like a Vaishali from Dr. Arora. That's also the beauty and the challenge that an actor comes with. I just enjoy exploring that," she explained.

The actress added, "All the brilliant actors who've gone to NSD or have done several years of training, who were stuck to doing two-bit parts in the movies back then, are now thriving. It's just wonderful that all of us have got a second lease of life, thanks to OTT and the films that are getting made, which have important and engrossing characters. They're written so well, so it's just so wonderful to perform them."

On a concluding note, Vidya said the industry has evolved in terms of providing better opportunities and representation for actresses.

"From where I started 20 years ago, the industry has already evolved greatly and it's going to get better from here. Back in the day, there was a hero and a heroine. Actresses used to get roles of maa, bhabhi and behen. Now, you suddenly have well-written characters and we're looking for good actors rather than just people who are faces. It’s incredible how a person like me is still here, still relevant and doing lovely parts. It's only possible because  wonderful parts are being written. The star-driven industry needs to come down and the actor-driven, director-driven, writer-driven industry is what we need," she signed off. 

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