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From An Aspiring Doctor To A “Household Name,” How A Phone Call Changed Rasika Duggal’s Life

Rasika Duggal posing for the camera. (courtesy rasikaduggal)


  • Rasika Duggal revealed that she wanted to be a doctor as a kid
  • “And then, Mirzapur happened,” wrote Rasika Duggal
  • “Everything changed when I entered college,” she added

New Delhi:

Actress Rasika Duggal, who boasts of an impressive filmography, in her piece for Humans Of Bombay, opened up about her aspirations, her days of struggle and more. Rasika’s breakout performance came in the form of Nandita Das’ Manto. Rasika recalled the incident and wrote, “One day, my phone rang – it was Nandita Das. She wanted to cast me in Manto and that changed everything.” Another milestone in Rasika Duggal’s career was the web-series Mirzapur. An excerpt from her piece read, “And then, Mirzapur happened. I remember, I used to carry DVDs of my work to auditions because no one recognised me. That changed after Mirzapur. I became a household name.”

Rasika’s first assignment as an actor came in the form of Anurag Kashyap’s No Smoking. An excerpt from her piece read, “When my course ended, I desired to be an actor. I’d give 5 auditions a day; I’d show up at every audition, mujhe kaam chahiye tha! I was advised against doing small roles, but I still did 14 films where I had small parts. I even acted in Anurag Kashyap’s No Smoking. I’d proudly say, ‘Mujhe Anurag Kashyap ke movie mei part mila hai‘.”

The journey for the actress was not that easy. She would give 5 auditions a day, featured in an independent film and was told by a few producers that she “wasn’t sellable.” Writing about her experience of filming Kshay, Rasika said, “I got a lead in an independent film called Kshay-on the best day of shoot we had only 4 people on set. At times, I’d hold the thermocol sheet and also shoot. Somehow the movie got made and premiered at the Chicago International Film Festival. Reviewers praised my performance; I was thrilled! But the best part was my mom arranging a special screening in Jamshedpur. She was so proud.”

After Kshay,  Rasika got offered more roles. “I even worked with Irrfan Sir in Qissa. And then, I almost signed 5 more films but none worked out; producers said I wasn’t ‘sellable’. It was the lowest time in my career. Still, I never second guessed my decision of being an actor; Maa’s support made me believe that good things were coming,” she wrote.

Growing up in Jamshedpur, Rasika had no clue she would like to pursue acting in the future. “I grew up in Jamshedpur in the 80s. There, all kids had the same answer to, ‘Bade hoke kya banna hai?’- ‘Doctor ya engineer.’ I was no different, but everything changed when I entered college. There were so many talented people around me-dancers and artists; I’d opened the door to a whole new world.”

Rasika wrote about the one thing that she would tell her 18-year-old self and added, “You’re doing all the right things, bas rukna mat.” She wrote, “Throughout my life 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 always trusted my instinct and that brought me here.”

Read Rasika Duggal’s story here:

Rasika Duggal is a star of films like Manto, Qissa, Chutney, Hamid, The School Bag and Lootcase, to name a few.

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