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Avika Gor - With Vadhuvu, I hope to attract television viewers towards OTT | Exclusive

Vadhuvu, directed by Krishna Poluru, is the Telugu remake of the Bengali show Indu and streams on Disney+ Hotstar from December 8

Avika Gor - With Vadhuvu, I hope to attract television viewers towards OTT | Exclusive
Avika Gor

Last Updated: 05.22 PM, Dec 01, 2023


, after making her debut as a producer with Popcorn and impressing critics with Disney+ Hotstar’s Mansion 24, she hopes to end 2023 with a bang with Vadhuvu, the Telugu remake of the hit Bengali show Indu. Directed by Krishna Poluru, the OTT show streams on December 8 via Disney+ Hotstar. Ahead of its release, Avika discusses Vadhuvu over a candid chat.

Coming on board for Vadhuvu

Even before Mansion 24 released on OTT, Hotstar had approached me for Vadhuvu, a remake of a Bengali show called Indu. I chose Vadhuvu because it’s meaningful and my character is the most important part of the story. I’m glad I was approached for it. I play a very serious character who’s trying to find a few answers, minus the vivaciousness I’m known for. And it’s ultimately for Hotstar—why would I say no?

A peek into the world of Vadhuvu

I would call Vadhuvu a drama; it’s a mix of suspense and thrill but definitely not horror. This will attract a lot of television audiences. The look and ambience of the show are relatable and can hopefully draw them to OTT. Having worked on the small screen for a long time, I understand their tastes. Our aim is to reach out to an untapped segment of the audience in the digital space.

As soon as I read the synopsis, I did not understand it; it left me with so many questions (for which there were no answers in the synopsis). I only watched a few episodes of the Bengali show before doing it because I didn’t want to copy what Isha had done in the original. I had to blend the character with my interpretation. I still have many questions unanswered; perhaps I’ll find them in season two.

Understanding marriage: from Balika Vadhu to Vadhuvu

When I was doing Balika Vadhu, I was barely 10 and didn’t understand marriage—why one had to leave your parents to stay with their in-laws. I remember I had to do a scene where I’d just hit puberty (which I hadn’t experienced even in real life) and my mother was not even around to explain it. I didn’t understand what was going on. It took a lot of effort from my parents and director to navigate through those phases.

I obviously understand life and marriage better now, but I still can’t exactly decode what Indu is up to. That's the beauty of an actor’s journey—you get to explore life through different characters every day. Every day you get to live a different life; you’re performing action sequences one day, fighting ghosts the next day and dancing later.

Her belief in the marriage system

Marriage is necessary; the concept of a wedding, the rituals and the companionship later are respected even today. I know many people who don’t want to get married at all. While I understand their perspective, I wouldn’t shun marriage. I may not opt for a destination wedding. I would want mine to be intimate. May be at a temple, do the rituals, go to court and sign the documents. More than two individuals, it’s about two families coming together, and that’s why I value it more.

Losing innocence early in life as an actor

With the exposure I had, I lost my innocence early in life but I gained emotional maturity much above others. I can’t relate to people my age because I feel they haven’t seen life. I see it as an advantage.


Dealing with on-screen weddings

Weddings don’t leave me. With the wedding sequence, there’s a similarity in the look. With Balika Vadhu, Anandi was so innocent that she slept in the middle of her wedding. In Vadhuvu, Indu faces one twist after the other during the wedding and doesn’t know how to react to it. It’s very different from what I’ve done in the past. I remember getting married at least 20 times on the screen. In Vadhuvu too, the scenario in the first two episodes are no different. I like dressing up for marriage sequences, doing the hair, makeup and the setting.

How director Krishna Poluru’s stint with the small screen helped Vadhuvu

Krishna Poluru’s presence helped the show to a great extent and he deserves credit for understanding the sentiments of a television audience, touching their nerves, while maintaining the grammar and thrill of an OTT show. When I showed the trailer for Vadhuvu to my family, they were more excited about it than any of my projects to date. They can personally relate to it. The small screen has great reach and it’s laudable that we’ve struck a chord with that segment through the trailer. Vadhuvu won’t disappoint them.

Vadhuvu and the world of superstitions

I have done television for 8 years. It’s easy for me to believe in superstitions and they can go to your head easily. You can get conscious of a black cat passing in front of you. While growing up, I’ve realised that they’ll make sense only if one wants to believe in them. I don’t take them seriously and I really think it’s about keeping your mind in check.

Coming to terms with the failure of her home production Popcorn

Popcorn released in theatres and is now on Amazon Prime Video and I’m very proud of it. It’s my first production and I have mixed feelings about it. You spend many sleepless nights before a film’s release and wonder how audiences will react, but the fact that I’ve started a production house, made a film, got it to theatres, and later to OTT is immensely satisfying.

I’ve done two more films in my production house and the fourth project is ready to go on floors. While the box office verdict is crucial for a producer, I don’t let it affect me too much. Films like Shamshera and Thugs of Hindostan were made on a huge budget and they couldn’t make enough money either. I’m a small fish in comparison. There are many films that don’t even see the light of day. I’m glad I took a step.

Why is Vadhuvu different from other wedding sequences?

In all marriage sequences, the bride has to look shy when the groom enters but that didn’t happen with Vadhuvu. Indu, as a character, wouldn’t do something like that; she has an identity of her own. There’s more to her beyond the obvious and lots going on in her head.

The wedding sequence in the show is very dramatic. She doesn’t feel welcomed in her new house and is placed in a strange scenario. The treatment of the drama piques your curiosity; there’s more to the show beyond my character. Other characters contribute to the tension, just like television.

Learnings from Indu in Vadhuvu

If I had to take any lessons from Indu’s character, I would just ask her to run away. There’s so much mystery within the house that I would just run. Indu is way too courageous and strong to find a solution. I don’t think I would be able to do that. Indu is a confident girl who is ready to tackle problems; perhaps I need to learn that from her.

Content with career

I’ve always been happy with my career. Not many get into the industry with a film like Uyyala Jampala and for it to stand tall amidst a Mahesh Babu film is a big deal. People come to me today because of the diversity in my career. It makes me feel that I’m doing something right. I’m definitely not dancing around the trees or doing the quintessential commercial films. I don’t identify with them. I seek characters that challenge me and keep me awake all night as I prepare for them. I want that thrill. When I took up #Bro, I realised it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m delighted I continue to get author-backed roles.

Trusting her gut instinct with her choices

I don’t listen to the advice that comes my way (laughs). Unfortunately/fortunately, I go with my gut. When I was approached for Uyyala Jampala, it had a first-time director, a young producer, the AD turned a hero and there were so many reasons to say no or opt for a glossier launchpad. Nagarjuna wasn’t involved in the project during the making and there was uncertainty about whetherits the film would release at all. Even with Ohmkar (anna), I don’t even ask him for the script and say yes.

Working with Nandu on three projects

While we’ve shot for Mansion 24 and Vadhuvu, another film hasn’t released yet. It was interesting to work with Nandu because we didn’t have any common scenes in Mansion 24 and had very few sequences together in Vadhuvu too (I have many scenes with Ali). The feature film we’re working on is just about us, so we’re compensating for the lost time. He’s a good actor and wants to prove himself as a performer (and not just a star).

Evolution as a performer by understanding technicalities

Understanding technicalities helps you mature as a performer. I’ve done a screenwriting course at the New York Film Academy, learnt editing from Mac Institute in Mumbai. I do like learning things behind the camera and it’s precisely the reason I turned a producer. I would love to be a production manager one day, I find it to be a difficult job. The filmmaking process humbles you. When a producer asks an extra hour from an actor, I realised how they really need it. Acting and production takes up so much of my time that I would want to sleep.

On being approached for thrillers regularly

Unlike my hunky dory, simple life, there’s a lot of thrill in the projects I take on. Be it NET, Ekkadiki Pothavu Chinnavada or Raju Gari Gadhi 3, I got to play pivotal roles. I have been approached largely for thrillers and suspenseful stories, but I choose a project based on the character rather than the reach or other external factors. People probably like me to get scared and cry.

Why not try out a quintessential commercial project then?

When people know I can act, I rather bank upon my skills as a performer, dancer and experience spanning 16 years. Maybe in a few years from now, I would want to run around trees. I don’t mind being the commercial heroine but not many people approach me with such roles. Whenever they’ve approached me for it, I’ve said no.

Final word on Vadhuvu

Watch Vadhuvu because it’s intriguing. If you have loved me in my television shows and thrillers, there’s a reason why I’ve picked this. People trust me for the projects I take up and I feel accountable to my audience.

Upcoming projects

I’d shot for Amaran with Aadi Saikumar long back and it’s due for release. Two films under my home production are in the middle of post production. There are a few exciting projects, which will be announced soon, both in Telugu and Hindi.

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