We’ll stream what she’s streaming: Rasika Dugal shares her watchlist
“I am always late to the viewing party because I worry the shows will let me down”
We scroll more than we share on social media. We window shop more than we actually add to cart. And we are all guilty of spending more time browsing than watching anything on Hotstar.
Our failed binge weekend plans include spending an hour looking for a new show but, an hour later, excavating an old episode of FRIENDS for the 24th viewing. Some habits are universal and more satisfying than stealing hyper-salted fries from your partner’s Happy Meal.
We are now on a brain-picking spree of humans we love to watch on screen. After chasing actors Jim Sarbh and Kirti Kulhari for their watchlists, we reached out to Delhi Crime actor Rasika Dugal for her recommendations.
“I am always late to the viewing party because I worry the shows will let me down. But some of these lived up to my expectations and how. I am glad to have chanced upon these gems,” says the actor.
Rasika Dugal gives us a peek at her watchlist
I Lost My Body, 2019
Remember Thing from The Addams Family? We meet what could be an extended cousin of Thing in this experimental French animation film by Jérémy Clapin. In the opening scene – which is incredibly macabre – we see a severed hand struggle to sneak out of a refrigerator in a morgue.
The hand is on its way to reunite with the body of its owner, a pizza boy called Naoufel.
The human hand signs us up for a night of misadventures across Paris as it dodges threats and escapes accidents. This fantasy meets sci-fi movie deals with themes of existentialism, grief and loneliness.
“My heart gasped and melted simultaneously while watching this gem. It’s the single most poignant journey of love and loneliness in city life I have seen in ages. Also, the background score is to die for,” says Dugal.
Watch on Netflix
Marriage Story, 2019
There’s a lot of love in the two opening monologues of this movie where the protagonists remember everything they love about each other. Right after, we see all the love that’s lost between them during the course of their failed marriage and subsequent divorce proceedings.
It’s cathartic and gut-wrenching as we witness this crumbling story of marriage through the brilliant performances of Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson.
With six Oscar nominations this year, Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, inspired in part by his own divorce, got the Academy’s stamp of approval too.
“I think it’s the hardest to capture something so fairly common on celluloid — a marriage gone wrong. It is something we have seen in films or experienced personally or through people around us. But this film, I thought, is genius because it made me feel the frustration and and confusion of a failing marriage as if I was in it,” says Dugal.
Watch on Netflix
Set in New York city, the show is all about a filthy rich business empire with multiple cracks beyond repair — a broken marriage, estranged kids, a drug addiction feeding shady tabloid journalism and more.
In this HBO series created by Jesse Armstrong, we bank on the Roy family, especially the patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox), the owner of the media conglomerate Waystar Royco to give us more dysfunctional drama – generously spiked with smart one-liners – than we’ve seen in our own extended families.
“This series was my lockdown hook. I sped through work just so that I could have that hour of pure unadulterated joy. It’s been over a month since I finished watching the second season, but I still have withdrawal symptoms,” says Dugal.
Watch on Disney+ Hotstar
It’s disturbing, uncomfortable and makes for a painfully difficult watch, and yet, highly recommended.
Unbelievable is inspired by the 2015 Pulitzer-winning article published on the American investigative site, ProPublica, about Marie Lynnwood (name changed to Marie Adler in the show; played by Kaitlyn Dever), who claimed that she was tied up and raped in her bedroom.
But after rounds of gruelling interrogative by two middle-aged officers, she alters the details of her experience, and ultimately, denies the entire incident.
The show moves between two timelines — in 2008 (in Washington) and 2011 (in Colorado), where two rape cases are reported. In the second case, Amber (played by Danielle Macdonald) is questioned by an empathetic officer, Karen Duvall (played by Merritt Wever).
Unbelievable highlights the need for empathy as a part of any investigation, and how it’s a major step in the process of solving a crime.
“At the end of the first two episodes, I didn’t know if I could stomach the injustice meted out to an 18-year-old rape survivor. The way the two female cops help each other investigate a rape case, it’s mesmerisingly addictive to watch,” she says.
Watch on Netflix
Paatal Lok, 2020
In the opening episode, Delhi cop Hathi Ram Chaudhary (played by Jaideep Ahlawat) carefully explains mythical geography to his young colleague: Swarg Lok (abode of the Gods), Dharti Lok (a world for humans) and Paatal Lok (netherworld that nobody cares about).
As the show unfolds, we follow Hathi Ram as he investigates the attempted murder of a celebrated journalist and watch as he gets embroiled in a dark web of power play, political agenda, bureaucratic loopholes and more.
We see the three collide: the swarg of the Lutyens’ power centre, the common folk of Delhi’s suburbs and ultimately, Chaudhary’s police station in Outer Jamuna Park, which he considers a part of the Paatal Lok.
Rasika Dugal admits she “got to it slightly later than the rest of the world” because she was “genuinely worried that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. But it did and how. The magical combination of Sudip Sharma’s writing, Avinash Arun’s lens and stunning performances took the series a notch above everything else I’ve watched in recent times,” she says.
Watch on Amazon Prime Video