Avantika: Indian ‘films and stories feel very hero-centric’

The actress currently plays the role of “bimbo” Karen Shetty in the 2024 revival of the comedy/drama Mean Girls. 

Avantika Vandanapu (Photo by John Nacion/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

By:
Mohnish Singh

Avantika Vandanapu, who plays the role of “bimbo” Karen Shetty in the 2024 revival of the comedy/drama Mean Girls, hopes that her being cast in the role is a chance to shut down prejudices for the South Asian community.

In a recent interview with BBC Asian Network, the actress behind the “pansexual” character said the role is a chance to remove “what we encourage women to be and [how] we encourage women to think like”.

In the original 2004 film, teen royalty Karen was originally played by Amanda Seyfried.

Even after hearing Regina George utter, “God Karen, you’re so stupid”, Avantika turned the insult around to help it empower her character.

“Karen feels like somebody who embraces being a bimbo and embraces being someone who’s sexual,” she said. “I think playing that kind of character, especially as a South Asian woman is really, really crazy.”

The 19-year-old is not new to fame. She has also appeared in Mindy Kaling’s popular TV series The Sex Lives of College Girls.

Before that, she acted in Indian films, which she feels were more “male-dominated”.

“I think even now films and stories feel very hero-centric. But the industry has moved in a way where it feels like we’re like honouring the female perspective a little more. Which I think has been really nice to see,” she said.