‘Mean Girls’ actor Avantika Vandanapu: Amazing that Indian women are able to shine their light in Hollywood


Indian-American actress Avantika, who plays Karen Shetty in the new version of the popular teen comedy, says South Asian women, especially those of Indian origin, need to be given centre-stage in global titles like “Bridgerton” and “One Day”. Lana was long overdue. mean Girls”.

This is not the first acting gig for the 19-year-old girl, born in an Indian family in California. Avantika made her debut in 2016's “Brahmotsavam”, a film in her mother tongue Telugu.

The actor said, “It has been a long time coming considering that we are a large population of incredible, beautiful and talented women. Now the time has come for this community of 1.5 billion people to be represented on the global (stage).”

Crediting women for paving the way for actresses like her to come forward, Avantika said that she and her contemporaries hope to do the same for “the future generation of South Asian women”, so things will be a little easier for them .

A scene from 'Mean Girls'

A scene from 'Mean Girls'

She said, “It's amazing that Indian women have been able to shine in Hollywood… I'm honored to be a part of this legacy.”

Avantika grew up watching films like “Matilda” and “3 Idiots”, which she described as heartfelt depictions of the human condition, which fostered Avantika's love for cinema.

“'Matilda' shaped my interest in getting into films. '3 Idiots' is a classic, it was a huge film for me. I'm inspired by heart-touching films that truly represent what it means to be human and what it means to live,” she said.

Directed by Samantha Zane and Arturo Pérez Jr., “Mean Girls” serves up a new twist on the 2004 modern classic that comes from the comedic mind of Tina Fey.

The new film follows Cady Heron (Angourie Rice), who joins her new high school's elite group 'The Plastics' led by Regina George (Renee Rapp) and her minions Gretchen (Bebe Wood) and Karen (Avantika) .

When Cady falls in love with Regina's ex-boyfriend Aaron Samuels (Christopher Briney), she has a falling out with Regina. As Cady sets out to defeat Regina with the help of her estranged friends Janice (Auli'i Cravalho) and Damian (Jaquel Spivey), she must learn to stay true to herself while attending high school.

Avantika won the role of naive Karen, played by Amanda Seyfried in the original film, through a standard audition process.

Thinking her audition was a “complete failure”, she sent a message on social media to a fellow actor whom she had never met before but had seen her work.

“I wrote 'I don't know if you can sing, I know I've never met you, and this may sound weird but I just got an audition for Karen in 'Mean Girls' and I definitely You won't get it. But I think you should ask your team for an audition”, he recalled.

When the actress did not hear back from the “Mean Girls” casting team for four months, she “assumed” she would not get the role.

Avantika said that she was shooting for her upcoming film 'Tarot' when she got the good news that she had made the film.

“It was an offer from Paramount and the team at 'Mean Girls.' And, I've never had a callback, so I wasn't really processing any of it. It didn't feel real until I “I didn't show up to rehearsal and Tina Fey was in the office next to me. I was like, 'Oh, this is really happening now',” she said.

A scene from 'Mean Girls'

A scene from 'Mean Girls'

Getting Seyfried's blessing during the release of “Mean Girls” was the icing on the cake.

“It was wonderful to have her blessing and know that she was supporting and encouraging my participation in the film. She had a lot of confidence in me, especially when reprising such an iconic character. There's that feeling of hesitation and that The fear that comes with living up to the legacy you have and having me support that means a lot,” she said.

Avantika also recalls her early years in the Indian film industry. Apart from “Brahmotsavam”, her acting credits include “Premam” and “Manmantha” in Telugu and “Boomika” in Tamil.

It may be a “blurry of positive memories” for the actress, who was barely 10 years old at the time, but she remembers the support from “Brahmotsavam” stars Samantha Ruth Prabhu, Kajal Aggarwal and Naga Chaitanya (“Premam”). .

“Samantha, Kajal Aggarwal were sweet and kind. It meant a lot to me as a young girl who was struggling with the way she looked. Samantha is doing incredible things and so is Kajal and so it's inspiring to see them succeed .I remember Naga Chaitanya being very sweet to me on the set.”

Avantika's next film is the Disney+ series “A Crown of Wishes”. She is also set to make her Hindi debut with Nitya Mehra's Prime Video show “Big Girls Don't Cry”.

“There are 100 per cent plans to work in India. But this is a different thing. There is a lot of battle beyond talent to work, like nepotism, colourism. I don't think it will work in my favour.

“That being said, I have an Amazon Prime show coming out in a few weeks, called 'Big Girls Don't Cry' by Nitya Mehra. I hope it will be my first film in Bollywood, even if it is on OTT. yes.”

Paramount Pictures released “Mean Girls” in Indian theaters last month.

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