Web series have changed storytelling as we know it and right on the forefront of this massive entertainment overhaul is Rasika Dugal. The actress continues to do varied roles across genres and is often referred to as an ‘OTT queen’ or a ‘gamechanger’ for her thorough performances, right from Humourously Yours to Mirzapur and Out of Love. We spoke to her on the occasion when she was nominated at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (IFFM) in the Best Actress category for leading performances in Mirzapur 2 and Lootcase (film) and sought her reaction on what contributes to her undisputed success in the digital space.
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She tells us, “I have happened to make interesting choices but that is because there were writers and producers who were gamechangers. Had these projects not been written or going around, I would not have the opportunity to choose them in the first place. In the last two years, the opportunities that I have got as an actor were because the writers thought out of the box and the producers believed in them even though they were not very ‘popular’ or were the norm at that time. I have been fortunate to collaborate with gamechangers and therefore had the opportunity to experiment with interesting stories and characters. I’ve always chosen projects not because I thought they were different or would take me somewhere, but because I felt connected to them and wanted to invest in the process."
She continues, “It is easy to invest in a well written part. This way, half of your job is already done. Then you just have to follow the script, give it your individuality and play with it. When that is not the case, you are struggling with the basics and trying to give your character some movement which the script should have anyway. Most of the characters that I have done are nuanced. With Mirzapur and Lootcase, they were very different roles and a part of me was always itching to do something like this."
On her screen time in Mirzapur
“My character Beena Tripathi is proof of the fact that screen time does not matter, the impact does. It is an ensemble cast and there are characters who have more screen time than her. But at the same time, I feel a well written script will do service to a character. It will give space that the character needs. Not more and not less. Beena may not have the maximum screen time in the show but she is quite impactful nonetheless."
On her comfort level in doing intimate scenes
“I don’t categorise scenes as bold or not bold. In Out Of Love, the relationship is between a man and a woman and it is a very regular thing. I don’t think there is anything extraordinary in that for it to be termed bold. If they make sense to me in the story and they are aesthetically shot, then I have no inhibitions. People around us have to be respectful about treating actors in a certain way. All sets I have worked on have been very sensitive towards the actors, male or female. All these scenes have been dealt with care and executed professionally. The concept of intimacy directors is also coming about which I feel is a very positive step. They are qualified to pull them off and make sure nobody who is part of them thinks they were not treated with dignity and sensitivity."
Rasika on Mirzapur’s expletive language
“Every story dictates how it should be told. As creative collaborators, it’s important to have discussions on what is required and what is not and these conversations I have always had with people I work with. Is this line required here or is it just there for sensationalism? The makers of Mirzapur have straddled the thin line very carefully. They have been true to their story and have invested in developing characters so you stay with them and wait for the subsequent seasons."
Rasika on Mirzapur reviews
“People told me that they had never imagined me in Beena’s role. That is very interesting feedback to have as an actor. You can only hope that people get stunned with your work where a character is so different from your everyday persona. That is a very good compliment for an actor."
Rasika will be returning in the upcoming season of International Emmy Award winning anthology series Delhi Crime. “We’ve shot most of it. Only a little bit of patchwork is left," she signs off.
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