Actress Avantika Vandanapu of ‘Spin’ Says She Was Inspired by Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Sridevi
Indian American actress, dancer, singer Avantika Vandanapu (left) and director Manjari Makijany attend the drive-in premiere screening event for Disney Channel’s original movie “Spin” in Santa Monica, California, Aug. 10, 2021. (Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)
Indian American actress Avantika Vandanapu, who made her Hollywood debut with the recently released film “Spin,” did several Telugu films before getting the role in the international project.
Talking about how she won the lead role of Rhea in “Spin,” Vandanapu, 16, told IANS: “I had actually auditioned for this movie when I was 12. It was my first Hollywood audition. I was still working in India at that time. Unfortunately, the project was kept on hold then. It came back in the beginning of last year. It was my first Hollywood movie, which was like a full-circle moment for me.”
As a child artist, Vandanapu made her debut when she was 10 with the Telugu film “Brahmotsavam” starring Mahesh Babu and Kajal Agarwal, among others.
“I was originally a dancer, so it was easy to go from one expressive art to another. I look up to Viola Davis, Meryl Streep, Sridevi for inspiration,” she said.
In “Spin,” she plays the role of Rhea, an Indian American teenager who learns that she has a passion for creating DJ mixes. The actress underwent thorough preparations for her role.
“There were a lot of aspects to Rhea that were new to me. She is a coder and a waitress. I had to learn how to do the table and learn that with authenticity. She is also a DJ, so one-and-a-half months prior to filming, I started learning how to DJ and it was really interesting to learn a new skill. Those were the two skills that went into developing the character,” she said.
The young actress shared that it was easy for her to resonate with her character.
“We are very similar in our energy. It was great to play a character whom I connected with. We both have our artistic career fields. She is also good with her fashion, blending Indian and American styles. Rhea is quite comfortable with her Indian American identity, as am I.”
She continued, “I grew up with music. I am a dancer so I have always worked with rhythms and beats. It’s great to play such a character who is in close connectivity with music.”
Vandanapu also shared her experience of working with Abhay Deol, who plays her father in the film.
“I grew up watching his movies. Finally being able to work with him and being attached to such a monumental film is amazing to me. I am always nervous, so to have him around was great.”
Living in America, the actress had her share of struggles being an Indian American. “I grew comfortable being an Indian, even though I had my fair share of experiences and struggles,” she signed off.
Her upcoming films include “Boomika” in Tamil and “Senior Year” in English.