From Vagina Monologues to Agyaat... | india | Hindustan Times
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From Vagina Monologues to Agyaat...

india Updated: Aug 17, 2009 12:44 IST
Priya Rajendran
Rasika Dugal

A graduate of the recently revived acting course at the FTII Pune, Rasika Dugal first made an impression with her performance in the Hindi version of the controversial play The Vagina Monologues. She portrayed a boisterous sex worker from Bihar in the monologue - popularly known as the ’moans piece’.

Rasika was also seen in a cameo in Santosh Sivan's Tahaan as the shy and beautiful Nadira who leaves Zafar (played by Rahul Bose) utterly love-struck. She has also worked with directors like Anurag Kashyap's No Smoking and Manish Jha's Anwar.

She bagged a role in Ram Gopal Varma’s 'Agyaat' as a young assistant director Sameera, her acting was also well-appreciated. She gave a powerful performance as a woman in post-partition Punjab in the short film Narmeen, which has won several international awards.

Priya Rajendran in a tete' a tete' with actress Rasika Dugal...

You worked on Tahaan and then Agyaat, which is your biggest haul this year...
Tahaan had a totally different theme. But Agyaat was a golden opportunity for me to prove myself. I was always scared of watching horror movies and hence did not know how I would do this movie. This was my biggest challenge!

So how was the whole experience of working with Ram Gopal Verma?
I'm a director's actor. As a director he knows how to get out fresh talent from actors. I just did what he asked me to do. Playing the second lead in the movie was a great opportunity for me to prove my talent.

Working with Priyanka Kothari and the rest of the crew members...
Though I hardly had any scenes with her, but still it was a great experience working with her as a co-star, as she always motivated the entire crew to do workouts even after hours of shooting. She herself hit the gym after a hard day at shooting. I was also very nervous in the beginning as I was surrounded by all experienced actors - especially Nitin. So, all in all, it was a good learning experience for me.

Your journey in Bollywood till now...
Worked in a film called Thanks Ma directed by Irfan Kamal. The story is about a group of street children who find an abandoned baby and decide to look for his mother. Except for the children, all other actors have smaller parts but important ones. I play a small but important part. The film is due to release next month. Its been doing well in the festival circuits.

Apart from mainstream cinema, any other ventures...
Worked in an independent film in a lead role in a movie about a woman's obsession with Goddess Lakshmi. Like most independent projects, we shot with very little money over weekends and when we could find time off from more commercially viable work. But it was a different sort of experience where the love for the project was the only driving force. Its called Pause For Inanimation and is under post-production.

On reality shows like Ticket to Bollywood and other acting talent hunt shows - do they really give a break to budding actors or do you think that one needs a Godfather in this profession?
I think absolutely anything could be a 'a big break' for a budding actor in this industry. It could be an ad, it could be somebody spotting you at a party, it could be you calling someone at the right time, it could be a good audition. It could be somebody noticing you in a play or even in a shopping mall! Similarly, it could be a reality show. I don't think there are any sure ways of getting there, not even a Godfather.

Do you think the casting couch still exists in the industry...and did you have to face anything similar?
Like everyone else I keep hearing stories and being warned by people. No first hand experiences so I don't really know.

Any dream roles or directors...
I would love to work with Dibakar Banerjee and Vishal Bharadwaj.

Apart from acting, what are your other interests..
I love theatre and do it in my free time. But apart from that, I want to focus only on acting.

Any future projects...
I am working in Yashraj Films productions' TV series. This will be a continuous telly series and my story is on Narcotics. Can't reveal more...