Actress Vidhatri Bandhi won everyone over with her performance in Vidya Balan and starring in Shefali Shah jalsa that she is from Kerala. After her performance as trainee journalist Rohini George who is unknowingly on a mission to find out her boss’s secret, her Instagram DMs are flooded with questions about where she belongs in Kerala. In an industry where creators are often criticized for misrepresenting South Indians, audiences assumed that Vidhatri was from Kerala because of the precision she brought to the role. “There’s two different responses I get – one goes, like, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe you’re the same girl that was in Shiddat“. And the other half is like, “Where are you from in Kerala? “Both answers make me really happy because people can’t recognize me from Shiddat and that means I did a pretty good job,” Vidhatri says in an exclusive chat with Bollywood hungama.
EXCLUSIVE: Vidhatri Bandi on being a rookie Malayalee journalist in Jalsa without a dialect coach – ‘I got messages asking me where I’m from in Kerala’
Vidhatri was last seen in the film Shiddat, where she tried out for the role of Sheena, Radhika Madan’s character’s best friend. With her limited role in the film, Vidhatri managed to stand out with her striking presence. “It’s really funny, to be very honest, when Shiddat came over, I was getting messages from all these 18 and 19 year olds texting me creepy messages like “What a hottie” and this and that. Here I get messages from 45 and 50 year old uncles, who really appreciate my work. They address me as amma, beta, and my heart is so full. These uncles and aunts, who contact me and send me messages, really appreciate the work,” she said of the change in reaction she observed in the public.
Talk about landing the role in jalsa, Vidhatri said that for a very long time, she was not associated with any agency and would contact different casting agents to check if there was something suitable for her. “Eventually I contacted Casting Bay and spoke to one of the casting associates and he said there was this project going on, but not to have too many expectations. because someone was already shortlisted for that role. I told him I still wanted to audition. He informed me and I auditioned,” she shared. back and forth with accented and unaccented auditions, Vidhatri eventually landed the role.
Talking more about the accent work, Vidhatri shared, “Mister Suresh (Triveni) would have a lot of rehearsal sessions with me. He asked me to listen to his way of speaking. And he would ask me to tape the conversations that he and I would have. Every time I went to rehearsals, he would read the dialogue and the scene for me, and I would record. I would continue to listen to it. I also watched a lot of Malayalam movies and understood how people would speak.” Vidhatri also shared that they don’t have a dialect coach on board although that was considered at one point.” Suresh trained me really well. We had a few rehearsals, practice sessions and my recordings, and it all really helped,” she added.
Vidhatri has several scenes with Vidya Balan in the film. While her character is still intimidated but in awe of Vidya’s character, during rehearsals, Vidhatri revealed that she was nervous around Vidya. “During rehearsals I was just nervous. I was fumbling, missing my lines because I was so intimidated. But the rehearsals really helped there. Because when we went to shoot it was a lot easier I was just focused on conveying the emotion,” she said.
“She’s such a generous person. It’s amazing. I was in awe of that actually more than Vidya Balan, the actor. I was in awe of her as a person. It’s just a phenomenal person. It was so amazing to work with her on set,” she added.
Vidhatri wanted to become an actress from the age of 7. She started her journey in the industry as an assistant director to understand how sets worked and slowly worked her way up in front of the camera. “It’s just that I was never confident because I thought I didn’t have the body or the personality. Back then it was all about beauty. But now things have changed. They are looking for actors and performers. And that change has happened over the last four or five years. But when I was working as a DA, I remember, a lot of people in the cast were just telling me to lose weight. A lot of them them. The first thing they looked at me and told me to lose weight. And I thought that was the beginning and the end, but of course that changed later. Now I’m very happy, you know, to be a part of this industry,” Vidhatri shared.
After his remarkable performance in Shiddat, Vidharti was offered similar roles, but she was clear about not being stereotypical and waited for the good part to come her way. “After Shiddat, I was desperate to do something different. ‘Cause I’ve had plenty of hot girl parties after Shiddat and I said no to everyone because sometimes we tend to get categorized when we do something. I didn’t want to play the same thing again. So I waited a very long time for an interesting role,” she said.
Speaking further about what particularly drew her to the story of jalsa, she said, “What I really liked when I was even reading the script, I noticed that every character mattered. It’s so well written and I loved that until the end or halfway through you don’t know who’s asking for money and that bothered me. When I was reading, I thought to myself, when is this going to happen and when will I know who is asking for money? I specifically had those emotions when I read the script. I was like, ‘wow! If this is made into a movie like, people watching it will also have the same emotions.”
So, does Vidhatri consider jalsa change the situation in his career? “I’ve had a lot of auditions, yeah. I’ve had a lot of calls and auditions from different directors. And it’s been really overwhelming in a way. I won’t know until the next few months if that has really been a game changer. I used to not be associated with any agencies. Initially I went to agencies and now agencies come to me. So in a way I feel like this changed things. But I have to do a lot more work for me to call something a game changer,” she concluded.
ALSO READ: Vidya Balan and Shefali Shah talk about their movie Jalsa – ‘It’s a celebration of life with its ups and downs’
More Pages: Jalsa Box Office Collection, Jalsa Movie Review
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