"I believe the future of anything is all about education and opening your mind."
Graceful, gorgeous and grounded: These three words perfectly describe the actress, Aditi Rao Hydari. Slowly and steadily, she is making her mark in Bollywood.
Trained in Bharatanatyam dance by legendary choreographer Leela Samson, Aditi feels that she is a ‘carbon copy’ of her mother.
Whilst both parents separated when she was two, the actress is happy to keep both of her unique surnames: ‘Rao’ and ‘Hydari’.
DESIblitz caught up with Aditi as she attended the annual Pratham UK Gala 2017 as the Chief Guest and Brand Ambassador on 14th October in London.
Growing Up in an Affluent Family
Discussing the influence of growing up in such a reputable family, Aditi tells DESIblitz:
“You have your feet firmly on the ground. It’s inspiring because everybody around you has done amazing stuff, so you realise that you’re not God’s gift to mankind.”
Aditi Rao Hydari hails from quite an interesting and royal heritage. Her father is Bohri-Muslim and her mother is from Mangalore, who is also half-Telugu.
Shri J Rameshwar Rao, her maternal grandfather, was the Raja of Wanaparthy – a principality of Hyderabad. Influenced by the socialist movement, he became the first king to forego his title.
Aditi’s paternal great-grandfather, Sir Akbar Hydari, was the prime minister of the Nizam of Hyderabad. Therefore, it would not be wrong to say that Aditi helms from a very illustrious background.
If that’s not all, Aditi is also the cousin of Kiran Rao, Aamir Khan’s wife.
So, what was it like to grow up in such an environment?
“Before you, there have been people who have set the bar really high. You’re always striving to do better and you learn by example.”
The 30-year-old actress claims to have completed her education before actually getting into films.
Aditi previously told the media that she was offered a role in a dance-based Tamil film after one of her professional performances in Chennai.
Saroj Khan choreographed the film and it won a national award. Saroj reportedly told the actress: “There is no one like you. You should come to Mumbai.”
Following this, Hydari did a Malayalam film – Prajapathi – after which she gained a small role in Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s Delhi-6.
The Bhoomi actress got married at the young age of 21 to actor Satyadeep Mishra, but sadly the relationship soon came to an end.
One would imagine that this break-up would have a devastating effect on a person.
However, putting the pain and heartache aside, Aditi continued to pursue her career in films.
Cinematic Career and Challenging Role in Omung Kumar’s Bhoomi
Aditi summarises her cinematic journey from regional cinema to Bollywood, also highlighting the voyage from Hyderabad to Mumbai:
“I would say that the experience was really amazing and it created the desire to be a part of films. But for a few years, I didn’t get into cinema.”
In 2011, she won the Screen Award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ in the Sudhir Mishra’s romantic thriller, Yeh Saali Zindagi. Post this, she featured in Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar – in which she played the role of a journalist.
Consequently, the actress appeared in supporting roles in major Hindi movies like Boss, Khoobsurat and Fitoor.
When it came to featuring in the main role, in films like London Paris New York, Guddu Rangeela and Wazir, the box-office receptions have been relatively underwhelming (barring Murder 3).
But on many occasions, Hydari’s performances have been praised.
Listen to our full interview with Aditi Rao Hydari here:
The year 2017 has been particularly special as Aditi appeared as the leading lady in Mani Ratnam’s Tamil romantic-drama Kaatru Veliyidai.
However, starring in and as ‘Bhoomi’ has been a game-changer for her career. She played the daughter of Sanjay Dutt and a rape victim. Her role in this Omung Kumar drama is perhaps her boldest and most emotional performance yet.
What appealed to the actress the most about this role, is the fact that the character was not urban or from the city. The role was a small-town girl.
So how does an actor understand the psyche of such intense characters like that of ‘Bhoomi’?
“When I went through the motions of enacting what I had to, it was tormenting. I really felt tortured. I’m pretty much a ‘switch on-off’ actor, but with Bhoomi, it was very difficult.”
The actress adds: “My mind kept going to all the women who actually go through this and have to deal with it every day. You can’t get rid of that feeling.”
After doing such diverse roles and featuring in films of various styles, Aditi states that she likes the genre of romance, but she prefers a “good mystery thriller.”
Brand Ambassador of Pratham 2017
Considering that the company of Aditi’s maternal grandfather publishes educational books and her grandmother runs a famous school, the actress shares a close relationship with education.
As a Chief Guest and Brand Ambassador of Pratham UK, Aditi’s presence at the Gala symbolises her support for initiatives established by the organisation. She says:
“Pratham does a lot of amazing work in the field of education and I believe the future of anything is all about education and opening your mind. Education is the way forward.”
Pratham UK is the fundraising arm of Pratham, India’s largest education NGO, providing quality education to underprivileged children across the country.
Being the Brand Ambassador for such a noble and glamorous event, Hydari places much importance on education:
“I feel like with underprivileged kids, when they are given that opportunity to learn, that thirst for education is so much more. I’m happy to be associated and be the brand ambassador of Pratham.”
It is commendable to see such a graceful, sincere and soft-spoken actress survive on her own capabilities.
One certainly looks forward to seeing what Aditi has to offer in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s forthcoming epic, Padmavati.
Even after making her singing debut with A. R. Rahman at the IIFA Awards 2017, there is no end to Aditi Rao Hydari’s talent. She truly is one of a kind.