Rasika Dugal: I owe everything to FTII
Rasika Dugal who started her journey with FTII and is best known for films like Manto, Hamid and Once Again, shares her experience on her web shows Mirzapur and Humorously Yours
What can we expect from the second season of Humorously Yours?
Well, the second season is going to be even more interesting than the first. TVF has always shown a great script sense. It is something that I have always been impressed with. I feel the slice of life is one of the difficult genres to pull off. It looks the easiest.It has to look very comfortable but a lot of work goes into making it look like that. TVF has done it successfully with many of its shows and definitely with the first season of Humorously Yours. The second season will see the all the characters enter a different phase of life. Like you will see Vipul dealing with the kind of attention and success he is getting. With Kavya and Vipul’s relationship, you will see a more mature version of what you have seen in the first season. It is always interesting to see the characters grow as the series progresses.
How do you look back at Humorously Yours when it first came out?
When I look back at the series, I find it as interesting as then. I got hooked to the series the moment I heard the script. The opportunity to understand the life of a stand up comic fascinates me. I think the life of a stand up comedian is similar to that of an actor but it is also different in terms of how they approach their craft. Having interacted with Vipul closely, I also feel that he is negotiating both phases—he is both a stand up comic and he is also acting in the how. Also the struggles may appear to be similar but the challenges are very different.
Your association with TVF goes back to Permanent Roommates. Today everyone talks about the web. How big a role has TVF played according to you in establishing the web scene in India?
I feel that TVF are the people who brought it in. I remember the first time I saw an episode of Permanent Roomates. I happened to watch it because Sumeet is a friend and he happened to post it in Facebook. Let’snot forget that initially their budgets were very low and yet they were creating pretty amazing content.The secret is the hard work that goes at the scripting level. I think TVF gave everyone hope that even if you don’t exactly have the best production values you can still create engaging content. For way too long, the writing department wasn’t given any credit but I think finally the writing department is getting its due and I think TVF was one of the initial players who sort of introduced that to us.
You have been closely associated with both cinemaas well as the web. How does the series format differfrom a movie?
In terms of approach to a part it’s kind of similar except that in a digital series you have the time to warm up to a character. Even the shooting time is longer. Effectively,it’s like shooting five films. In fact, the characters are written in a manner that allows time for the character to be introduced, warm up and arrive at its conflict and resolution. The series format allows different tracks to coexist and flourish. There isn’t necessarily one lead person and that’s what makes it really exciting.
In both Manto and Mirzapur, you essayed the parts of two strong yet completely different women who aren’t intimidated by male dominance. How do you look at them?
It was an interesting challenge and a challenge that I have been looking forward to. With Manto, I was happy that I was finally reading scripts with nuanced female characters. Now, Manto and Mirzapur make for an interesting comparison because one would look at Safia Manto as a woman who is following tradition and convention. Beena Tripathi, on the other hand, defies everything and merely maintains a facade of following tradition. Many a times people tell me that Safia isn’t a strong character. The thing is that we misinterpret the idea of strength. There is huge strength in being there for other people and putting others above you. There is a different between quiet strength and submissiveness. By not acknowledging this we actually let down a lot of women who have chosen to live a selfless life. Safia is my ode to all such women.
How has FTII helped you in your acting journey?
I think I owe everything to FTII. The realization that I want to be an actor and the connection to the craft happened at FTII. I also got introduced to the different genres of cinema thanks to the wide variety of films we watched and that for me one of the most beautiful things of going to a film school like FTII. You learn things in the class but you also have the time to practically understand what you have learnt and what you want to learn. It’s not about going to 7-8 classes and not really absorbing it in a free way
What are your upcoming projects?
Right now, I am shooting for Mirzapur 2. I will soon be shooting for the second season of Delhi Crime. Also there are two films of mine which are yet to release