Renowned actress Radhika Apte, known for her stellar performances and transparency, had an Instagram Live session today with leading clinical psychologist Dr. Radhika Bapat on her handle @psychotherapybar. Apte opened up about her most intense roles, dealing with their ’emotional hangover’, mental health and much more.
The live session put a spotlight on the immediate need for destigmatization of mental health In India. While discussing the new and upcoming field of ‘performing arts medicine’, Apte shared her experiences over the last year, the benefits of psychotherapy and gradually being able to trust her instincts and stand up for herself, irrespective of it’s consequences.
“Growing up, I went to a Marathi medium school and my only exposure to cinema and theatre was local. I wasn’t aware of Hollywood at the time. One movie that deeply moved me was being played at the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) and called ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ and another was the French movie ‘The Piano Teacher’. I distinctly remember being so disturbed by the former. It was unlike any movie that I had seen – especially the guy love girl and wins girl, plots. This is the point at which I felt I wanted to do content that made people ‘feel’ intensely,” Apte said.
Talking about her most intense roles and the ’emotional hangover’ of such roles, Apte said, “I look at these roles as gifts. They are outlets for me to grieve or feel things that one sometimes doesn’t have the time or space for. Don’t we over-occupy ourselves on purpose – because it’s too scary to deal with complexities? Sure, there is always the possibility of getting carried away or overindulging in a role. But, I have made sure that I stay centred and I have learned to draw work boundaries, to take rejection and to understand how much to get involved. I have managed to master these things in my professional life, in the hope that one can do it in ones personal life as well.”
She further added, “I have never wanted to work because I want to be famous. Whereas popularity is important for commercial success, I want to get up in the morning and feel driven to pursue a project that makes me feel good. I confront my insecurities and don’t shy away from that brutal honesty. I have made this a rule now, before saying “yes” to a project, I should want for it to give me deep meaning and purpose. I should feel the excitement and urgency of wanting to wake up at 5am and eagerly go on the set.”
Radhika Apte said,About the COVID-19 virus, that it has taught us lessons in uncertainty. “What is this fake sense of security that we all have anyway?” she asked. “Uncertainty is certain. But emotionally stability, irrespective of professional certain or uncertainty is most important. Therapy has helped me greatly and people should carve time to deal with their mental health.”
Bapat, a clinical psychologist, who hosted the chat, said, “I have seen all of Apte’s work, and I think she is an extraordinary performer. Someone who as early 2003 was consumed and devoted with a perfervid loyalism and allegiance to excellence in acting, be it in theatre, a small production or a big production. It was her grandfather who introduced me to Marcel Pagnol and Molière, her father who introduced me to the world of neurology and Radhika introduced me to my very first Purushottam Karandak festival at the Bharat Natya Mandir. Radhika is one of the most professional actors that I have come across. Unlike actors who forget about their craft when they experience the glamour and glitz of show business, for Radhika Apte, it has always been about the craft. And this is what keeps her grounded.”