Rasika Dugal thrilled with the reception for Manto at Cannes
Watching her film on the big screen during its world premiere at the 71st Cannes Film Festival was "special and surreal" for the actor
Watching her film Manto on the big screen during its world premiere at the 71st Cannes Film Festival was "special and surreal" for actor Rasika Dugal. This was her second time at Cannes. Last year, the team of Manto -- director Nandita Das and lead actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui -- had introduced the film by sharing its first look.
Manto is a biographical film based on acclaimed late Urdu writer Saadat Hasan Manto. Nawazuddin's portrayal as Manto and Rasika's act as his wife Safia garnered positive reviews at the festival.
"I could feel that the audience was with the film and the story while we were watching, but I was overwhelmed by the warmth with which the audience came up to us after the screening. People seemed to have genuinely connected with the film and were quite moved," says Rasika.
"Given the kind of respect that the Cannes film festival has, it helps create a better buzz for the film abroad and in India too," she adds.
How is the visibility at the Cannes film festival going to help her career? "It gives me a big check on my bucket list. The fact that my film made it here has given me a lot of encouragement. And like Nawaz, I hope I also get to go to Cannes some eight times," says the actor, with childlike excitement.
At the film gala, she also joined 81 women film industry professionals from different countries to show solidarity against gender discrimination at the platform. To become a part of the "historic moment" with names like Cate Blanchett, Salma Hayek, Jane Fonda, Patty Jenkins and Nandita, was a moving experience for her.
A Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) alumnus, Rasika, who has been in showbiz for a decade now, started her career with roles in films like Anwar, No Smoking, Hijack and Tahaan, before she landed a lead role in Kshay and then a plum part in Anup Singh's Qissa, which amplified her presence at film festivals. She has also dabbled in theatre, television and web series.
Looking back at the journey, she says, "When I first joined the industry after FTII, I was advised not to take up smaller parts. But I took the risk because I wanted to make sure I was skilled enough to have an entire film resting on my shoulders." She's glad it worked out well.
"While there have been a lot of rejections, there have also been a lot of things which miraculously worked. For Qissa, somebody else was cast originally, and at the last minute something didn't work out and I was cast. Nandita saw Qissa and decided she wanted me to do Manto."
Rejection, she says, still affects her, but she feels she is better at dealing with it today. "I feel like it's going to be a part of the deal, so might as well make it a little friend that you will walk along with in the journey."