Rasika Dugal has gained popularity in the web space, with shows such as Mirzapur, Delhi Crime and Out of Love. This week, she is set for yet another digital release, Rajesh Krishnan’s Lootcase, which will premiere on Disney+ Hotstar on July 31. In an interview with Hindustan Times, she talked about exploring the comedy genre and why the existence of groups in Bollywood is not necessarily a product of privilege.
Lootcase is Rasika’s first film in the comedy space and she says that it was a welcome departure from the ‘emotionally immersive experience’ of Delhi Crime, based on the 2012 Delhi gang rape. “I was shooting for Delhi Crime and that is the time when the makers of Lootcase got in touch with me and sent me the script. Even though I didn’t realise it consciously at that time, I was really seeking something lighthearted after the emotionally immersive experience that Delhi Crime had been,” she says.
Rasika says Lootcase has a ‘very unique and quirky sense of humour’. “Not only were the lines and situations funny, but also the screenplay directions. Rajesh and the writer Kapil (Sawant) had written even the directions on the screenplay with so much humour that it was quite a laugh-out-loud read. Once I signed the film, I realised that in my little basket of variety, I think this was the only thing that was remaining – working on something in the comic space,” she says.
Lootcase was snubbed during the virtual press conference to announce Disney+ Hotstar’s new line-up and Rasika’s co-star Kunal Kemmu expressed his disappointment in a thinly-veiled tweet. “Izzat aur pyaar maanga nahi kamaya jaata hai. Koi na de toh usse hum chhote nahi hote. Bas maidaan khelne ke liye barabar de do chhalaang hum bhi oonchi laga sakte hai (Respect and love can never be asked for, only earned. If someone doesn’t give it to you, it doesn’t make you a smaller person. Just give us an equal playing field, we’ll show you how high we can leap),” he had written.
Rasika says she ‘totally resonated’ with Kunal’s tweet and that he was ‘very graceful’ with his response. When asked about the inequalities that exist in the film industry and the lack of an ‘equal playing field’ as pointed out by him, she says that a level playing field is something that everyone must aspire for. However, she adds that she is not always in the know of why someone gets selected for a film over someone else.
“I am not privy to all the information of what happens when someone gets accepted or rejected for a role. I am not sure what inequalities are at play at that particular time, whether it is the outcome of a healthy competition or not. That is something that is very difficult to understand in any situation. Most of the time, actors are not privy to this information,” she says.
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Rasika, who has made it on her own without any connections, also talks about the existence of groups in the film industry. She says that groups exist in every profession and are not necessarily a display of the power dynamic.
“In any profession, there will be people who will huddle together. It is not necessary that they huddle together because they are all privileged or because they have a certain kind of privilege that the others don’t. They might huddle together because they like working with each other, their sensibilities match, the kind of style they have or whatever else the reason might be. Groups form for a variety of reasons and people feel a sense of comfort to work within them. For any creative process or environment, it is important for everyone to break out of these groups and work in different set-ups where they can expand their experiences. That’s what I believe in. But there is a certain logic and a certain rationality to want to work with the people you are always comfortable working with also,” she says.
On being asked if a ‘movie mafia’ exists to sabotage the careers of outsiders, she says that she has personally not experienced any such thing. She adds, “I also think they are not all the same conversations. I think the conversation on nepotism, the conversation on stars vs actors is different from the conversation on insiders vs outsiders, different from the conversation on mental health, different from the conversation on sabotage, different from the conversation on favouritism. These are all different conversations. All of us have to be a little mindful of how we are engaging in these conversations.”
Rasika also says that her experiences are not necessarily indicative of the ‘absolute truth’. “All of us are called upon very often in this age of social media to give our opinion on things. I feel that all of us have a certain ideology that we ascribe to and there is almost a need and a wish to belong to a certain camp. Because we are asked to speak about something, we are not necessarily an expert on the matter and we should be mindful of this when we ask and respond to any question. I am sharing my experience with you which might be entirely just my experience, it might not be indicative of what is going on. What I am commenting on today is based on my experiences and it might not be the absolute truth,” she says.
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