"The more local the subject is, the more global it is," says actor Rasika Dugal about Indian films and web series

Actor Rasika Dugal on her latest film Hamid, preparing for characters and why local content has a global impact
Rasika Dugal
Rasika Dugal

Actor Rasika Dugal is everywhere at the moment — from cinema halls to OTT platforms. Her latest release, Hamid, has got rave reviews and her next web series Delhi Crime releases this weekend on Netflix. In addition to this, the actor has played a small yet significant role in Made In Heaven, an Amazon Prime web series that’s been trending.

Actor insight
The actor, who acted as the upright Safia Manto in Nandita Das’ acclaimed film Manto, also portrayed the diametrically opposite role of Beena, a young and salacious woman, in Mirzapur. It’s the ease with which Rasika switches from one character to another that seems to have helped her bag some impressive roles. However, the actor says, “I have never pushed my work in terms of brand validation. If I had, my career would have taken a different turn. I have always been interested in spaces and projects that allow me to experiment creatively.”

In Hamid, she plays a “half-widow”, a Kashmiri woman whose husband has gone missing and nobody knows whether he is dead or alive. With a strong command over the local dialect, Rasika has made her character appear completely believable. It’s this quality that makes all her roles memorable. When asked about how she prepares for different roles, the actor admits, “I don’t really have that much experience to be able to say this is my process. I try and do things around the project that I think is fun. For Hamid, I tried to familiarise myself with the Kashmiri accent. There was a very beautiful couplet that two Kashmiri women recited in a documentary by Iffat Fathima. That stood out for me and I was constantly saying it. Somebody set it to music and that became my entry point into understanding the life of a half-widow.”

Keeping it short
Apart from mainstream films and web series, the actor is a known short film face. Chutney is one of her most-acclaimed projects that will be screened on the newly launched Tata Sky Shorts TV. “For most audiences in our country, a film is not valid until it’s on TV. I think this space of short films on television will experiment with different genres and it will help in reaching out to people, to get them out of the formula films zone,” says the actor. Chutney was made by her friend and actor Tisca Chopra, and Rasika plays one of the lead roles.

With such an eclectic portfolio, the actor has come a long way and one thing she has realised is that the more authentic the content is, it reaches out to a larger audience. “I have noticed that the more local the subject is, the more global it is. People might say how can anyone understand the nuances of Mirzapur, which is based in UP and only Indians can understand it, but the truer you are to your story, it touches and impacts people,” offers the actor, who starts shooting for Mirzapur Season 2 shortly, and will be seen in two more independent films later this year.


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