Not only did she become the first Indian actress to join the jury at the Tallinn Film Festival, but Radhika Madan was also the youngest jury member at this year’s International Emmy Awards. Reflecting on her experience at the Tallinn Film Festival, Madan expresses, “It’s extremely humbling to know that I’m the first Indian actress on the jury of Tallinn, but I never went with that intention,” adding, “Last year, when I went there with my film Sanaa, I learned so many things about my craft and my mind opened so much about movies, since you get to see movies from all over the world. The conversations that you have with people, help you grow as an individual. And it was just overwhelming to know that they wanted me back there.”
“Even if they had called me for a film or anything I would have just been there. But to be going as a jury member was an overwhelming experience. I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it, but I was so excited. To watch films and meet different people and indeed it was one of the most phenomenal experiences of my life,” the 28-year-old emphasises.
When the news of her International Emmy Awards participation broke, Madan initially thought it might be related to a nomination for her recent projects. “But when I got to know that it was for the jury and then later when I got to know that I was going to be the youngest jury member from India I just couldn’t believe it,” she quips.
Madan also states that, for her, the essence of participating in festivals is not about titles. “I think it was always about the excitement of seeing different things and meeting different people. I’ve been to festivals and that is what it does. It just de-calibrates you as a human being. What festivals do is that they neutralize you and they set the intention right. You realize that you started in the very first place and then you’re even more charged and passionate to come back to your country and add something that you never added before.”
Madan also reflects on the perception of Indian cinema at international festivals and notes, “People still associate singing and dancing with Indian films at festivals, and even otherwise, people are trying to do things that are not just singing and dancing. It is a part of our culture and we’re very proud of it. But, we are versatile as a country and if you see our films, they are also versatile. I think we just need to offer that versatility to the world. And with these festivals, I think these things are happening.”
Representing India at such esteemed festivals fills Madan with pride: “I felt so proud because they respect our country so much and they love our work so much,” she concludes, talking about the mutual admiration between the international audience and Indian cinema. “Because of my country I got so much respect and it was just beautiful to be representing India at such prestigious festivals,” Madan wraps up.