My role was demanding, but enjoyable, says Rasika Dugal

Known for her performances in Manto, Mirzapur and Delhi Crime, Dugal spoke about her latest web series ‘Out of Love’

Rasika Dugal is a  Bollywood actor, who made her debut in 2007 with Manish Jha’s ‘Anwar’. Best known for her role in the movies ‘Kshay’, ‘Qissa’ and ‘Manto’, Dugal has also made her mark in the world of web series with solid performances in Amazon Prime’s ‘Mirzapur’ and ‘Made in Heaven’ and Netflix’s ‘Delhi Crime’.

Her latest work Hotstar’s ‘Out of Love’, adapted from the BBC series ‘Doctor Foster’, features Dugal as Meera Kapoor, a doctor who discovers that her husband Akarsh (Purab Kohli) has been cheating on her. Metrolife caught up with the actor and spoke about her work and more:

Did you always want to be an actor?

It was a random decision, actually. I had done some theatre in college. While I loved it, I never thought of making a career out of it. I had pursued a BSc degree in mathematics from LSR, Delhi, and then went on to do a postgraduate degree in Social Communications Media from Mumbai.

The idea of pursuing acting only came to me when I saw an ad that stated that FTII was resuming their acting course. About six months into the course, I knew that this is what I would want to do for a long time.

A lot of your latest work is largely in the digital space. Are you enjoying it?

I have actually done as many movies as web series, in the past year. It only feels like I am doing more work in the digital space. I think the difference is that the films I have done are not big-budget mainstream movies so they don’t get as much traction. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. For me, it is about the stories, the people I am working with, and the work I get to do.

What, other than the plot, drives you to choose a particular project over another?

I can’t really articulate the exact reason that makes me prioritise one particular project over another. There are many reasons; it may be the people I get to work with, the director or simply, what they are trying to say or do with it.

When I look back, each project I have been a part of, was just something I needed at that particular point of time. I was looking for something to articulate my feelings and engage with the Nirbhaya incident when Delhi Crime happened. I think, when you seek something with all your heart, it comes to you.

Had you watched Dr Foster before you started working for ‘Out of Love’?

I had watched the show before I started working on this show. I refrained from referring to it during the shoot. I did not want to subconsciously imitate another performance. It was an effort, especially during a few scenes which had stayed with me from the original show. The journey was interesting. Watching the show helped me understand it better. However, if I have to work with adapted content again, I would make it a point to not watch it.

What was it about ‘Out of Love’ that made you want to work on it?

I was interested in taking up the challenge of essaying a role like that of Meera Kapoor, who is responsible for driving the narrative.

What do you love about your character?

It was a very demanding, but enjoyable experience, playing the role of Meera. I love how she finds the strength to cope with her husband’s infidelity. I found some of the things that she that decides to do, and the dilemma in making those choices, very interesting. The caregiver in her does not die, even in the face of adversity, which is an inspiring quality. It is almost as if she is able to find the strength to survive because she is able to care for others.

Every character you have played is so different from each other. How did you manage to get to this point where directors can see you in such a variety of roles?

I think I just got lucky, honestly. People have been kind to me, and have put their trust in me. For example, Karan Anshuman and Gurmeet Singh of ‘Mirzapur’; I don’t think it was a role others would have seen me doing. When I auditioned for the part, I didn’t think I could do it. I realised I had typecasted myself in my own head, but they saw the potential in me. There have been instances where people have had to fight to keep me on; Nandita Das in the case of ‘Manto’, for example. I am very grateful to all of them for it.

How has your experience shooting for ‘The Suitable Boy’ been so far?

I play Savita, who is the sister of the protagonist Lata. It has been a longtime dream of mine to work with Mira Nair, and I can’t believe it is happening already. She is so full of energy, and it so great to be part of this. I also get work alongside some great actors, which is also lovely.

What will we be seeing you next in?

‘Lootcase’, which is a film directed by Rajesh Krishnan. Kunal Khemu, Vijay Raaz and Ranvir Shorey are part of the movie. Season two of ‘Mirzapur’ should also be out soon.

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