Newcomer Ridhima Sud impressed everyone with an eye-catching performance in her recently released debut film Dil Dhadakne Do, which clocked up huge numbers at the box office around the world.
She held her own in the high-profile film alongside A-list stars and received praise for her role of Noorie in the film. Model turned actress Ridhima had auditioned for the film and has now laid the platform for what looks like being a bright future.
What led you towards auditioning for Dil Dhadakne Do?
The idea of working with (director) Zoya Akhtar and (production house) Excel. I am a huge fan of [their previous film] Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and think the Excel peeps are creative visionaries. It was a dream to start my career with them.
Is it true that your family didn’t want you to go into films?
Yes, initially. They didn’t want to see me struggle like they did, which is what happens when you start from scratch in a new field. My dad was the least enthusiastic and was hoping I would do something related to my major at NYU (New York University). Also, we don’t know anyone related to films so he was nervous for me to venture into this unknown terrain all alone.
Do you remember the moment you were told you had landed the role?
(Smiles) I was pretty excited and there was screaming involved. I was shooting something else that day and the casting director called me to say that Zoya wanted me for Noorie’s part and I was to fly in the next day to read the script. (Laughs) I was an unusually happy person on set that day, you know the kind who is so chirpy that it’s just annoying.
So what was the experience of working on the film like?
It was super. It was almost like getting a crash course in Hindi filmmaking. I learned a lot by just observing all the amazing actors around me.
Did you feel like you were being thrown in at the deep end because it was such a high-profile project with big names?
(Laughs) Nice ocean pun. Yes, it did feel like that a little – I guess I’m glad I knew how to swim.
What is your abiding memory of the shoot?
I think the abiding memory would be celebrating my birthday on the beach in Antalya, Turkey, with the cast and crew. It was especially hilarious because I had been warned by Natasha Nischol, the head of make-up who makes everyone look like a dream, to not change colour as I still had scenes to shoot. But I got three shades darker that day and had to blame the team for dragging me to the beach. (Laughs) Plus it was my birthday, so she couldn’t really yell at me.
You must be happy with the response you have got to your role?
I am. It really feels great to have your work appreciated. It’s an unparalleled feeling to be part of a film that is being universally loved. It’s gratifying as well as motivating. And I have to admit, it is a tad overwhelming too.
What are your future plans?
I would love to do a more desi role next. I’m a Delhi, Punjabi girl at heart. My grandparents are from Lahore and the culture at home is still very rooted in their lineage. We speak Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu as much as we speak English and ours is a very close-knit family. I’m as comfortable in Patialas [salwars] as I am in jeans. My upbringing has been very traditional (in the most liberal way) and I would really like to be able to bring that to a character on film.
Which of the leading men would you most like to star opposite?
The list is really long for actors, but the one director I would really like to work with is Woody Allen. My career as an actor would be a failure if I didn’t get to work with him.
Who is your acting hero?
My acting heroes are Tabu, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence, Kiera Knightley to name a few and lately Robin Wright Penn in House Of Cards – she and Kevin Spacey together on screen are phenomenal.
What would be your dream role?
My dream role would be James Bond. I would love to be 007.
Tell us something not many people know about you?
I can perform in Italian and French. I have to eat chocolate every day. If there’s music playing then I have to dance – it’s a problem. I went backpacking in Argentina and Brazil and it completely changed my life.
Finally, what are your interests when you are not shooting?
I like to read, especially historical novels. I’m fascinated by history and the evolution of civilised society. I think I get it from my grandmother who was a history teacher. I’m re-reading Midnight’s Children currently. I also watch a lot of films, and when I’m not spending time with family, I travel.