MMA fighter-turned-actor Ritika Singh reveals that she’s getting back into the ring again
RITIKA SINGH SEEMS to share a special connection with legendary names within the global combat sports circuit. It’s not because she competed in kickboxing at the Asian Indoor Games back in 2009 either. After the release of her first film Irudhi Suttru (2016)—where a washed-up coach discovers a talented albeit rebellious amateur boxer—former American prizefighter, Mike Tyson took to social media claiming that he wanted to watch the sports drama.
Though that incident was a couple of years ago, and Ritika has added a few projects in several languages to her filmography, the Saala Khadoos star claims she remains an outsider to the industry. “I still feel as if every day is my first one on a set. I’m still not used to this and have not become jaded. It helps me stay fresh and bring loads of positive energy to the studio every day,” she begins.
That attitude probably fuels how she chose her next role too. The Super Fight League athlete shares, “If the director and I connect well then I usually sign up. I started with Irudhi Suttru as Sudha (Kongara) ma’am and I bonded well. Then, I factor in the story, how my role will contribute to the narrative, the technical team behind the project, and so on.”
Currently, the 22-year-old is preparing for her upcoming Tamil film, Oh My Kadavule, to hit the big screen. “In this one, Ashok (Selvan) and I play ‘chaddi buddies’, who decide to get married on a whim. However, this relatable romantic comedy’s plot starts to unfold when the guy fails to see a wife in me, his closest friend since pre-school,” she explains, adding that it raises the question: Should youngsters, who are best friends, get married?
During the poster photoshoot for the aforementioned film, something funny happened. “My director, Ashwath Marimuthu, casually asked me to give Ashok an ankle lock, it was a very spur of the moment thing and made for a hilarious poster shot,” claims the self-confessed wrestling fanatic. The combat move, which seeped into pop-culture after it became a signature finisher by former Olympian and famed WWE athlete Kurt Angle, quickly became a talking point on social media.
“What happened next is ‘pure coincidence’,” says Ritika, excitedly. “The WWE legend’s wife, Giovanna Angle, shared our poster on her Instagram with the caption, ‘Awe babe! It’s our wedding photo! @therealkurtangle :) :) #anklelock.’ The post went viral. Kurt Angle commented too. I think it’s a sign. Somehow things connect, it’s destiny,” she adds.
However, Ritika doesn’t seem like the sort of individual who let the proverbial ‘writing on the wall’ decide her fate. Like every athlete, she envisions one inspiring moment in her mind, for the low-points in life—when things get tough and situations look bleak.
“The worst fight of my life (in Super Fight League) was when I was noticed by Maddy sir (R Madhavan). It has reinforced my beliefs in always giving it the best shot every day, regardless of whether you’re heartbroken or down in the dumps. Sometimes the end is just a new beginning. It’s a comma, not a full stop!” she concludes.
The ring still beckons this Mumbai-based star. While most A-listers are making elaborate travel plans to visit exotic destinations during the X’mas holidays, Ritika still factors in combat sports into her training regimen every day. “I’m very lowkey. I don’t travel much unless it’s for work. However, I do have something really big lined up in 2020—a return to the professional kickboxing circuit in Chennai. A spectacle that promises real blood, sweat, and maybe even tears! We’re still finalising details of the fight though,” claims the actor who gained a Special Mention at the 63rd National Film Awards for her