The streaming space has offered us a lot more, in terms of content: Rasika

The experience of watching a film in a theatre is unparalleled but the coronavirus pandemic has made even the purists turn to streaming services and actor Rasika Dugal says the audience today consumes content in a pattern that aligns with their lifestyle.

While the OTT platforms threw the concept of chasing box office numbers out of the window, a relief to the actors and makers, they also gave viewers a host of options, she said.

"The streaming space has offered us a lot more, in terms of content, but also in terms of changing existing practices like the chase of box office numbers. It has also proven that the audiences have been ready for a variety for a long time. It was just that we were not able to offer them," she told PTI in an interview.

Dugal, who has been at home with streamers courtesy series like "Mirzapur", "Delhi Crime", "Out of Love" and "A Suitable Boy", said the shift from big screens to digital has been very "organic".

"People who were probably averse to exploring content online have taken to it more this time due to a lack of options. It was anyway very popular. It's also the way you consume content online that is in sync with the kind of lives we lead today.

"But one would always romanticise the idea of being in a theatre to watch a film while being a captive audience, which is lovely, and the purist inside me dies a thousand deaths that that might be something which will not happen so much anymore," the 35-year-old actor said.

Dugal is returning to play the "deviant and wild" Beena Tripathi in the second season of Amazon Prime Video series "Mirzapur" and the actor said going back to the character was like meeting an old friend.

"You don't have to start from scratch. You may have not met for a while but you sort of need to reacquaint yourself with them because they have had some experiences which have changed them." The actor, who hails from Jamshedpur, said as it was the first time her character arc was carried forward in a web series, she was "nervous" about the follow-up season, which starts streaming from Friday.

"After so much feedback, I thought maybe I'll become too conscious about it. As an actor, that's the death. But then I thought this is reality. After years of working in Bombay, you realise you can accept everything around you and learn to live with that.

"I have learnt that whatever tools I have around me, I just have to use it to my advantage rather than try and fight it. But fortunately, I have the 'eternal sunshine of the spotless mind'. Even if people have told me things, I don't really remember them. I went into season two with all these confusions."

Dugal, who is an FTII graduate, also praised the show's team -- directors Karan Anshuman, Gurmmeet Singh and Mihir Desai and scribes Puneet and Vineet Krishna -- for keeping the core of characters intact while getting into the second season.

At the end of season one, Beena has been violated and the new chapter begins with her dealing with the humiliation and what it means to her personally, and trying to find herself again, the actor said.

Dugal said it often happens that revenge dramas end up losing nuance of how the character reached the point of no-return but she is happy the writers were exploring the layers in her character.

"As a performer, it was exciting to see that the story wasn't exempt of nuance. In this season, my character regains the Beena-ness and uses that in a more evolved way than in season one. The idea of living in the same space as her tormentors is also explored here." As a person, however, Dugal said it was "heartbreaking" to find Beena in such a vulnerable space.

"What I really like about Beena was that nothing could break her. She did what she wanted and she lived her life within the seemingly traditional framework with a lot of untraditional things happening. That somebody should have to pay a 'price', so to say, for that, it shattered me at the end of season one. I was very disturbed to find her without her Beena-ness in season two," the actor said.

The second season will see the game of guns and power expand from Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh to Bihar, with the entry of new faces and old characters gearing up for revenge.

Produced by Excel Entertainment, "Mirzapur" also features Pankaj Tripathi, Ali Fazal, Shweta Tripathi Sharma, Divyenndu, Sheeba Chaddha, Rajesh Tailang, Harshita Gaur, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Lilliput, Vijay Varma, Meghna Malik, among others.

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