When Rasika Dugal was asked to be bubbly like Kareena Kapoor from 'Jab We Met'

Dugal was joined by YouTuber-actor Prajakta Koli, 'Darlings' director Jasmeet K Reen, and writer Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul of 'Thappad' fame in a panel by Netflix and the NCW.

Published: 07th March 2023 03:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th March 2023 03:47 PM   |  A+A-

Actor Rasika Dugal

Actor Rasika Dugal. (Photo | Rasika Dugal Twitter)


MUMBAI: Early on in her career, actor Rasika Dugal says she was asked to audition for "bubbly" characters in the same vein as Kareena Kapoor Khan's Geet from the superhit romantic-comedy 'Jab We Met'.

The 'Delhi Crime' star, who graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India, said she loved Kareena's performance in the 2007 film but she couldn't bring herself to fit into that mould.

"When I started acting professionally after I finished from the film institute for the longest time, the brief was, "We want you to be bubbly, like Kareena from 'Jab We Met'. It was always like that. So, for 30 auditions it was like Kareena from 'Jab We Met'. Though I loved her performance and the film, I couldn't do it," Dugal said here on Friday.

She was speaking at a panel discussion on the topic 'The role of media and entertainment in empowering women'. The conversation was part of a special segment 'Her Story, Her Voice', organised by Netflix and the National Commission of Women.

The actor, also known for her work in "Mirzapur" and "Manto", said she finds joy in breaking the stereotype around women characters.

Citing the example of her widely acclaimed Netflix series 'Delhi Crime', in which she plays the role of a cop named Neeti Singh, Dugal said her aim was to bring out a true side of a police officer on screen.

"It was an interesting experience working on the show. I don't know anyone in the police world, so I knew I had to work towards it. I wanted to understand police protocol, like on which side you will sit in a police car, how you fix the cap. You will not know these little things if you don't shadow someone. So, I shadowed a probation officer for a few days. I called her before we started shooting season two and told her, "I want to be a shadow on the wall and watch you." It is intense to be a police officer. I have total admiration for what they do," the 38-year-old actor added.

On the panel, Dugal was joined by YouTuber-actor Prajakta Koli, 'Darlings' director Jasmeet K Reen, and writer Mrunmayee Lagoo Waikul of 'Thappad' fame.

Koli, who received acclaim for her Netflix series "Mismatched", said she instantly fell in love with her character of Dimple as she was unlike other college women. She later made her Hindi cinema debut with "Jugjugg Jeeyo".

"There were a few conversations, I had meetings with directors then it was like, "She is bubbly, she tells the heroine what she should do'. I was like, can I get a character that is normal? "When I read (the script of 'Mismatched'), she is a gamer, wants to be a coder, is stubborn, not likeable, flawed, yet focused, and I loved all of this. I was like, I know her," the actor, who shot to fame with her comedy sketches on social media, said.

Reen, who made her directorial debut with Alia Bhatt and Shefali Shah-starrer 'Darlings', said she wanted to show an unseen aspect of a mother-daughter relationship through the critically-acclaimed film that explored domestic violence.

"It was important to show the mother-daughter relationship as real, they are usually emotional. I wanted them to be like sisters, and best friends. The idea was to show how women deal with violence in different ways and they did what they had to," she added.

Waikul, whose next project is web series "Scoop" with Hansal Mehta which is inspired by journalist Jigna Vora's book "Behind The Bars In Byculla: My Days in Prison", said she treats her characters as people. "When I wrote 'Scoop', we did all the research online, on phone calls. When the book came out, neither me nor Hansal sir ever saw it as a woman. It was a story about a journalist who was wrongfully accused of something. We didn't colour the character with a gender. Behind every journalist there is a philosophy at play. We were very careful to treat them as people before gender or profession came ahead," the writer said.

Netflix India Series Head Tanya Bami, who was also part of the panel, said the streamer will continue to create diverse women-led narratives."We are excited to present stories that are about women, female-forward, which talk about how wonderful leaps women are taking, the wonderful things women are doing. And let our audience see our times being reflected, to see this victory of women being reflected on screen, whether it is 'Delhi Crime' with Rasika and Shefali or 'Emily in Paris'," she said.

The streamer also actively looks at inclusion of women in key positions at the workplace, added Bami.

"Across the world, the workforce at Netflix is 51 per cent female and what's really amazing is among the 22 leaders globally 10 of them are female. From 2020 to 2023, we have seen about a 45 per cent increase in the female workforce on our shows and films. That's a revolution," she said.


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