Initially told to develop nerves of steel to survive in movies, Aditi reflects on how her air of vulnerability landed her the Jubilee role
Aditi Rao Hydari
More than 15 years ago, when Aditi Rao Hydari entered the world of movies, she was told that her softness and naivete had no place in the industry. That she would have to build nerves of steel to survive the harshness of showbiz. “I might be naive and sensitive, but they are my biggest strengths. In the beginning, everybody used to tell me, ‘You are too soft and naive. You have to be harder and thick-skinned.’ But after a couple of years, I felt this is not me,” she recounts.
Aditi Rao Hydari and Aparshakti Khurana play movie stars in the series
Her instinct to be true to herself paid off. Ironically, it was Hydari’s dainty appearance and air of vulnerability that landed her promising parts in Kaatru Veliyidai (2017), Padmaavat (2018), Sufiyum Sujatayum (2020) and the recent Jubilee. In Vikramaditya Motwane’s acclaimed series about the Hindi film industry of the late ’40s and early ’50s, she plays superstar Sumitra Kumari who has the world at her feet, yet is a picture of loneliness. It’s easy to see that creator-director Motwane not only played up her innate softness, but also made her draw from her emotional strength. “Vikram sir clearly saw in me one [aspect] of Sumitra, which is the fragility of her heart. He also possibly [felt that I could] carry a period megastar look convincingly because he has said so in interviews. Films were made for Sumitra. So, she had to have a star-like persona. As an actor, I had to work with him on the physicality of her public persona, and the inaccessibility that she possesses,” Hydari says.
As she basks in the praise coming her way for Jubilee, the actor has also realised that embracing her idealism has made her a better artiste. “People tell me my innocence and vulnerability are the first thing they notice about me. I believe it has also been used in the work I have done. When you perform, you tear apart your heart to give something to the character. It leaves you vulnerable. I have realised the only way I work best is when I feel loved and nurtured.”