Rasika Dugal made her Bollywood debut with a brief role in the romantic drama Anwar in 2007. While her debut film is better remembered for its music, there is no denying the fact that she has, since then, made a mark in the industry as one of the most naturally gifted actors.
From Anwar to Mirzapur, Rasika Dugal has steadily built a diverse, brilliant filmography that ably reflects her range as an actor. Here are some of her finest performances:
1. Ishrat in Hamid
Hamid, that won the National Film Award, saw Rasika Dugal deliver a memorable performance as a woman whose husband is part of Kashmir's 'disappeared population', and who is unable to explain this fact to her 8-year-old son. A rare film that looked at Kashmir's troubled existence from a human perspective, and not a political one, Hamid won Rasika Dugal the award for Best Actor at the Rajasthan International Film Festival.
2. Neeti Singh in Delhi Crime
Even when sharing screen space with a seasoned performer like Shefali Shah, Rasika held her own as a rookie cop with a desire to 'prove herself' in Delhi Crime. She was neither a passive observer of the case nor an aggressive defender of the victim's rights but rather, occupied a delicate place in the show's framework. And she did complete justice to the role, cementing her position as a dependable star.
3. Beena Tripathi in Mirzapur
Beena Tripathi is an example of not just brilliant character development, but also of Rasika Dugal's ability to speak volumes through her expressions. In Mirzapur, her character works through shadows, so to say, and thus, she is awarded a comparatively smaller screen time. And yet, across both seasons, she leaves a lasting impression, becoming a character whose intentions you're always looking out for, and who is impossible to ignore.
4. Neeli in Qissa
One of Irrfan's Khan's most brilliant yet underrated works to date, Qissa is a brilliant, heartbreaking take on the evils of patriarchy in our society. Rasika played the role of Neeli, a young woman deceived into marrying a woman pretending to be a man. Even in the midst of some of the film industry's finest actors, (Tisca Chopra, Tillotama Shome, etc.), Rasika Dugal's sensitive, layered performance easily stood out.
5. Safia in Manto
One of those rare biopics that actually stayed true to its subject, Manto cast Rasika as Saadat Hasan Manto's wife, Safia. As Manto's pillar of strength, Dugal was exceptionally brilliant in her portrayal of Safia and completely justified the screen-time awarded to her - one of the longest of her career.
6. Lata in Lootcase
Lootcase, that turned out to be an unexpectedly engaging and entertaining heist comedy, was also a fine example of Rasika Dugal's impeccable comic timing. She perfectly balanced the two sides of her character's personality, proving that she fits just as easily in mainstream cinema, as she did in the world of indie movies.
7. Nutan in Made In Heaven
Made In Heaven covered a wide range of social issues, and one of them was family resistance to the point of honor killings, in response to inter-faith marriages in India. Rasika played the role of Nutan Yadav, the daughter of a political leader forced to marry against her wishes. Despite a guest appearance, her impactful performance made her one of the series' most memorable characters.
8. Out Of Love
Even though Out Of Love was not a well-adapted series, there is no denying the talent on display in the show. And as the protagonist of the show, Rasika Dugal literally carried the ill-adapted series on her shoulder, expertly moving between playing a grieving and betrayed wife and a woman out for revenge.
Jyoti Kapur's Chutney is easily one of the finest, and creepiest, Hindi-language short films to have released in recent years. And even though the film's focus remains on Tisca Chopra, as the wife with a morbid secret, Rasika Dugal is just as impressive in her role as the mistress caught in a trap.
10. The School Bag
A hard-hitting, moving short film on the fate of families living in war-torn areas, The School Bag is a fine example of Rasika's ability to portray a gamut of emotions in a short span of time. Beautiful and heart-wrenching, The School Bag makes for an emotional, albeit slightly predictable watch.
Rasika Dugal's filmography is not just fascinatingly impressive, but also a testament to her skill as an actor, where no two characters are similar in nature. Truly a star worth looking out for.