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Actor Aditi Rao Hydari will be seen next as an astronaut in the space thriller Antariksham 9000 KMPH, which releases on December 21. Just two days before the release, Aditi talks to indianexpress.com about her upcoming film and also shed lights on how she wants to take her career ahead.
Here are excerpts from the conversation:
Q. Director Sankalp said that you took some time to accept Antariksham 9000 KMPH. Why so?
When Sankalp first narrated the script to me, it was very nice. But I felt like if he wanted me to do this, they would have to bring me all the way from Mumbai. He was writing the script at that time and had told me just the basic outline. I asked him why he would want to take me, because at that time, anyone could have done that part. He thought about that. I said, Dont change anything because I am telling you. Your script is amazing, and it will be a very good film.
Four months later, while I was shooting Sammohanam he called me and said, Aditi I have written the script now. I want you to hear it. I think you will like your part. I heard the script and the first thing I asked him was if he had changed the script because of what I said. He said, No, I changed it because I think it is important.
The two most famous astronauts from this country have been women. I feel that since Sankalp gave me the part of a female astronaut, I wanted to do it well. I wanted the girl to be strong and to be real in the film. Honestly, I think Sankalp wrote a great part.
Q. How did you prepare for your role?
Of course, there was a lot of prep. There was a stunt team that was flown from Bulgaria. So we did a lot of training on harnesses and ropes. I learned to do back-flips and somersaults. It was very tough. At that time, I was also shooting for Mani (Ratnam) sirs film. So there were days when I would do the training in the morning and catch a flight in the evening, go and shoot at night and repeat the cycle.
Q. Did you interact with real-life astronauts?
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I didnt have the opportunity to do that. As a kid, I remember Rakesh Sharma as he came to school. His children and I used to study in the same school. So he came to share his experience of going to space. I remember those stories.
Honestly, what happens on set and your environment is the only thing that can help you. You can read and prepare as much as you like but once you come on to the floor and you get into that harness, then you feel like an astronaut and perform. Nothing can replace that. And no amount of preparation can prepare you for that.
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Q. What were the challenges that you faced while shooting?
I remember while shooting the astronauts helmet was very heavy. For about eight days, I shot with extreme pain in my neck. On the ninth day, when I put on the helmet some sound came from my neck and I knew I hurt myself. The doctor told me that I need to have ten days of bedrest. Then I was like, I cant keep the whole unit waiting for ten days. With the help of medicines, I was back on sets after two days. It was an expensive set and I couldnt have made the unit wait. I always feel like actors are quite crazy, the moment the camera starts rolling they forget everything.
Q. Tell us more about your character in the film.
I enter the space research centre as an intern and I am sort of a communication expert. After that, I train to be an astronaut through the course of the film.
Q. You started with supporting roles and now you are one of the most sought-after actors. How do feel about it?
When I entered the film industry, I just thought its about the director. I didnt know that there is a lead part and supporting part. I feel like, for my generation, many people have started with smaller parts and went on to become heroes and heroines. It shows that the times are changing. Those tags dont exist anymore. Its about your talent.
I made all my choices instinctively and my choices were more based on directors. For me, its important to do cinema that is timeless. I want to do films that never become old. I cant say I am proud of my choices because I am still learning. When I work with people I respect, I give my best. I think a great director and a good team brings out the best in me as an actor. I dont know how to act. I only know how to feel and how to surrender myself to the director and a character.
There are very few actors who are blessed to be accepted in multiple industries. So if I am getting those opportunities, I would be a crazy girl to say no. Give me more work, I will do. I will never be tired. Its a blessing.
Q. Tell us a little more about your upcoming projects.
I have already started working on a Tamil-Telugu bilingual film directed by Dhanush. He is also acting in it. Nagarjuna is playing a major role. I am also working for Mysskin sirs film.