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From iReel Awards to Emmys, Radhika Apte is Biggest Breakthrough Artiste in Web Space

From iReel Awards to Emmys, Radhika Apte is Biggest Breakthrough Artiste in Web Space

There couldn't be a more obvious choice than Radhika Apte when it came to picking the Breakthrough Artist at the iReel Awards 2019.

When Radhika Apte, who recently received an international Emmy nomination for Best Actress for her performance in Netflix's Lust Stories, was asked to share her thoughts on it, she said, "It's a great feeling to be appreciated for your efforts. I'm thrilled that Indian content is at par with today's world television."

Incidentally, it is the 34-year-old actress who is partly (if not largely) responsible for raising the bar of Indian shows on the digital platform. On the global platform, Apte will be competing against Jenna Coleman, who has been nominated for the Australian miniseries The Cry, Marjorie Estiano (who received a nomination for Under Pressure - Season 2) and Marina Gera for her performance in Orok Tel. But for the Indian audience, Apte has already taken the crown.

As RAW officer Anjali in Sacred Games, as Nida Rahim, a trainee soldier at the National Protection Squad's Academy, in Ghoul who goes to search for truth only to be forced into a battle of survival, and as Kalindi in the first short of Lust Stories, the college professor who is in a long-distance marriage and forms a sexual relationship with her student Tejas and eventually turns into an obsessive stalker - Apte manages to fit into the diverse roles, seamlessly. Her performance in each of them is electrifying to say the least.

Apte is, in fact, that rarity – an Indian actress who is equally successful across the independent, commercial and international sectors.

There couldn't be a more obvious choice when it came to picking the Breakthrough Artist at the iReel Awards 2019. She is undoubtedly a powerhouse of talent, but Apte is also brave. In an industry where it's easy to play by the rules, Apte not only challenged those traditional ideas, she bent them and broke them down, one performance at a time.

Despite being a popular face in the mainstream, the actress was not shy of taking up roles on the digital platform even though her character wasn't always the protagonist. Apte showed that size of the role is as irrelevant as the medium.

In fact, at one point, when she featured in multiple web shows simultaneously, the Internet just had to ask the question, "Is she going to be Netflix's brand ambassador?" Like Apte later clarified following the flood of memes, "It was just a coincidence."

The reason why Apte's appearance in multiple Netflix originals came as a surprise to most Indian audience is because it was simply unusual. No Indian actress who have somewhat made her mark in both mainstream Bollywood and regional movies, have taken such a bold step. Apte did, and how!

While the actress has taken up roles that are consider to be bold in Indian cinema before, her performance in Lust Stories set a benchmark. It was the first time in Indian television that an entire anthology was dedicated to sex-- a subject that our country is still quite afraid of. The best part of it was that it was not censored, there was no Censor Board involved -- no protests and no one complained of losing 'sanskar'. Apte took up a role that portrayed an Indian woman's sexuality the way it has never been done before.

Apte has been vocal, unlike many of our Bollywood peers, in the conversation of imbalance in gender power off the screen too. In a BBC documentary titled Bollywood's Dark Secrets, Apte says, "Some people are regarded as gods. They are so powerful that people just don't think that my voice is going to matter. Or people think that if I speak, probably my career is going to get ruined."

But Apte wasn't scared. By taking up non-conventional roles, speaking up on gender disparity in pay and the unequal opportunities, and opening up about her experiences in her patriarchal world of the cinema industry, she proved that she is not only an exceptional star, but also a brave one. Whether it was coming out in support of #MeToo or shutting down a scribe who implied that she was leaking her own 'bold scene' to be successful - Apte is the star we needed at this time, and perhaps even deserved.

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