Sometime in 2008, I stumbled upon this album called ‘Light Tribe’. The album was put together by Shaa’ir and Func, an electronic music duo comprising of Monica Dogra and Randolph Correia. ‘Light Tribe’ had some really good songs and that led me to discover Monica as an artiste. The same year, Monica made a cameo appearance as a singer in the Hindi feature length film ‘Rock On!!’. Three years later, one got to see her in a full-fledged role for the first time with the release of ‘Dhobi Ghat’. In the years that followed, did very limited work as an actor but now, she is doing a lot of work in the digital space.
In this interview, the actor-musician talks about her upcoming show ‘Cartel’, the success of ‘The Married Woman’, ‘Dhobi Ghat’ completing ten years of its release and releasing more music.
In an interview, you described Maya, the character you play in ‘Cartel’, as being manipulative and charming at the same time. Could you elaborate on that?
Maya is a very charming woman has learnt to use the power of her sexuality to get what she wants. She is not an out-and-out evil person. At one point, the audience will be implored to think whether she is using others or is being misguided herself. You never know if she is the villain or the victim.
The show seems to be high on action. Did you get to perform any action scenes?
Yes! I may or may not have been slapped in a scene (laughs).
Your last show ‘The Married Woman’ received a warm response from the audience.
Yes, it was a privilege to be a part of that show. It was a role of a lifetime. There is no similarity to Maya and Peeplika, the character I played in ‘The Married Woman’. I feel fortunate to be getting the opportunity to play such varied parts.
You did very little work as an actor post ‘Dhobi Ghat’. You seem to have become more active as an actor in the recent past. Is the digital revolution responsible for this?
Absolutely! OTT has changed the game completely. It has opened up opportunities for so many people. As actors, writers or producers, one can take bigger risks and experiment with a variety of subjects.
‘Spit’ (2016) was the last solo album you released as a singer/songwriter. Do you plan to make more music in the near future?
I just released a song. There is a lot of unreleased music which I hope to put out very soon. Music will always remain an integral part of my life. I am always in the studio writing music.
You had lent your voice to the track ‘Dooriyan Hain Zaroori’ from ‘Break Ke Baad’. Are you open to singing more often for Hindi films?
Vishal (Dadlani) is a dear friend and working with him on ‘Dooriyan Hain Zaroori’ was a wonderful experience. If good opportunities come my way, I would love to sing for films again.
We have seen so many action thrillers releasing on OTT platforms. What do you think makes ‘Cartel’ different from them?
Things get very interesting when fiction is made out of facts. I think that’s the best way to describe the show. It has a mix of realistic and fantastical elements. It’s dramatic, edgy and funny, all at the same time. All the elements have come together wonderfully in the show.
Your first major role as an actor was in ‘Dhobi Ghat’. It has been 10 years since the film released.
Time flies and how! ‘Dhobi Ghat’ is the film that launched my career as an actor. Working with Kiran (Rao) was magnificent. She is an incredible director and a beautiful soul. It was an opportunity that changed my life forever.]
‘Cartel’ starts streaming on Alt Balaji and MX Gold from August 20, 2021.