I almost signed 5 films but none worked out; producers said I wasn’t ‘sellable’: Rasika Dugal on her struggles before 'Manto' and 'Mirzapur'


Actress Rasika Dugal, who has an impressive filmography, in her piece for Humans Of Bombay, opened up about her aspirations, her days of struggle and how she decided to become an actor.

She started off by saying, "I grew up in Jamshedpur. Most children there had the same answer to, ‘Bade hoke kya banna hai?’– ‘Doctor ya engineer.’ I was no different. But everything changed when I went to college. There were so many talented people around me–dancers & artists; A door had opened to a whole new world. I explored drama but I didn't think I would act professionally. Then one day I read about the acting course at FTII. On a whim, I applied & got through! During orientation, I wondered, ‘Main kahan aa gayi hun?’ But 6 months in, I knew this is what I wanted to do for as long as I can help it. After the acting course, I came to Bombay with a single-minded desire to be an actor. I’d give 5 auditions a day; I’d just show up at auditions. It was simple, mujhe kaam chahiye tha, aur unke paas kaam that!"


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Sharing more about her initial journey, Rasika added, "I was advised against doing small roles, but I still did 14 films in small parts including 'No Smoking' by Anurag Kashyap. I’d proudly say, ‘Mujhe Anurag Kashyap ke movie mei part mila hai.’ Some mocked me for the length of role but I was proud of my work. Then I got a lead part in a film called Kshay–on the best day of shoot we had only 4 people on set. At times, I’d hold the thermocol sheet on shot. Somehow the film got made & premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival! Reviewers praised my performance; I was thrilled! After Kshay, I worked with Irrfan,Tisca &Tillotama in Qissa.Then, I almost signed 5 films but none worked out; producers said I wasn’t ‘sellable’. It was the lowest time in my career. Still, I didn't question my decision of being an actor; I believed something good would come my way."

Rasika then talked about how Manto and Mirzapur changed her career. She said, One day, my phone rang–it was Nandita Das. She wanted to cast me in Manto & that changed everything! Then, Mirzapur happened. I was craving a project that would reach a wide audience that I wouldn't have to tell people about. Mirzapur was that for me. I’ve never had one goal. From wanting to be a doctor to pursuing acting on a whim, I’ve been all over the place. But I’ve always trusted my instincts & that has brought me here! So if I could, that’s what I’d tell 18-year-old Rasika ‘You’re doing the right things, don’t second guess it."

(Source: Humans Of Bombay)