Born in Hyderabad, from two royal lineages, that of Sir Akbar Hydari and J. Rameshwar Rao, the erstwhile Raja of Wanaparthy, Aditi Rao Hydari has been adding heft and nuance to Indian Cinema.
A trained Bharatnatyam dancer, Aditi Rao Hydari made her debut with the lead role of a devdasi, a temple dancer of the 19th century, in Sharada Ramanathan’s Sringaram: Dance of Love. The story that revolved around themes of feminism did the rounds of the several film festival circuit, receiving worldwide appreciation, winning three National Awards – Best Cinematography, Best Music Direction, and Best Choreography, and also bagged critical acclaim before it hit the theatres in 2007. Ten years later, Aditi repeated the feat and stole the show with the titular role of Bhoomi in Omung Kumar-directed film.
Aditi had a double role in Sringaram; she was seen as a young classical dancer Varshini and her mother Madhura, a devadasi, in the film set in the pre-Independence era. Her vulnerable looks, dancing prowess, and eyes that speak more than words caught the attention of film goers and critics alike. Her latest release Bhoomi revolved around a father-daughter relationship in all its hues. Her character had a stammering problem and to prepare for her role, Aditi attended several workshops to perfect the speech disorder so that it looks natural as if she had grown up with it. Talking about her role, Aditi says, “We wanted Bhoomi to be a relatable character, and so we decided to go without any make-up and an imperfect speech. Bhoomi, like every girl, needed to accept her imperfections and celebrate her uniqueness.”
Toast of the town
She landed in Hindi films with a supporting role of Rama Bua, a meek, sari-clad, older but unmarried woman in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi 6. The actor went to feature in films like Yeh Saali Zindagi, London Paris New York, Rockstar, Guddu Rangeela, Murder 3, Boss, Wazir, Khoobsurat, The Legend of Michael Mishra, and Fitoor. In some films, she had a cameo, in some, she played the female lead and in a few others, she was the supporting cast. Aditi has been fortunate enough to have had the privilege of working with many National Award-winning filmmakers including Mani Ratnam in Kaatru Veliyidai in Tamil, and Ranjith in Prajapathi in Malayalam. But in the seven years that she has been here in Bollywood, she wasn’t ever thought of as an actor who could carry a strong role on her shoulders till Bhoomi happened. “I was surprised at the offer and also excited to be a part of the project that hinges around my character. I found the story very powerful and relevant. I had no reason to refuse the part.”
In her decade-long career in the film industry, the actor has shared screen space with the likes of Mammootty, Karthi, Farhan Akhtar, Ali Zafar, Randeep Hooda, Akshay Kumar, Amit Sadh, Arunoday Singh, among many others. But working with Sanjay Dutt in his comeback film is what she remembers with utmost fondness. “Bhoomi was his comeback film, but playing the titular role was special for me too,” she quips.
“Since I’m a dancer, I love to sing and dance for myself,” she says with a childlike innocence. The actor’s social media accounts are filled with videos that explain her passion for singing. She recently made her singing debut with none other than AR Rahman at IIFA Rocks on the eve of the IIFA Awards 2017 in New York. “I love singing, and it was wonderful to be sharing the stage with Rahman sir. What more could I ask for,” she gushes. As Aditi took the microphone to sing, music maestro lent support by playing the piano.
The actor was recently named in Grazia’s 100 Most Influential People in Fashion for her sartorial choices that make heads turn in awe and appreciation. The 30-year-old actor compliments her quintessential girl-next-door look with anything and everything that she wears, be it sporting a designer label or carrying an ethnic wear or a casual chic; she undoubtedly tops the list of the best-dressed celebs. And she calls herself “effortless in terms of fashion and beauty.” Her red carpet looks are always a hit, and she manages to score a perfect ten on the fashion meter. hat makes her appearances special and a talk of the town is her knack to mix and match the traditional with casual and that too with aplomb, and that makes her a fashion lovers’ delight in all her avatars.
Words: SHILLPI A SINGH