You’ve Seen Her in Manto, You’ll See Her in Hamid. Rasika Dugal Would Like Your Attention

Bollywood

You’ve Seen Her in Manto, You’ll See Her in Hamid. Rasika Dugal Would Like Your Attention

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

I

n Zoya Akhtar’s short in Lust Stories, centred around a passionate sexual affair between a maid and her employer, Rasika Dugal appears in its closing minutes – just when you least expect it. Dugal plays an unnamed maid who breathlessly rattles off several complaints about her fussy madam to Sudha (Bhumi Pednekar), the film’s lead, before boasting about the pink kurta that she gifted her. That the gift seems like a discarded hand-me-down hardly bothers her. Instead she draws attention to the fact that it is “fully embroidered”, as if convincing herself that that the gesture holds value; that it isn’t entirely thoughtless.

In that moment, Dugal displays the sort of manic energy that encapsulates the castles that these women – domestic freelancers enriching the lives of others – build in the air to escape the despondency of their own lives. The 34-year-old actress doesn’t steal the scene but happily inhabits it with a single-mindedness that serves her character without calling attention to herself.

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