I often get labelled as an outsider: Monica Dogra
Having spent quite a long time away from India during her early years, Monica Dogra speaks with an accent.
However, her familiarity with the country is remarkable, and to put it in cliché, she’s very much an Indian! The 30-year-old dusky beauty who made her Bollywood debut with Dhobi Ghat is currently looking forward to the release of two more films as well as her music project. In a free-wheeling conversation with CS, Monica talks about her passion for art and expression:
Outlier, not outsider
I am in this field because I’ve always wanted to express myself creatively. I often get labelled as an outsider, but it’s ok. However, I’d rather be called an outlier than an outsider. The thing I’m most passionate about is individual expression. It is above everything else. I foster those things about me that make me unique. Similarly, I prefer collaborating with those who are different, not formulaic. Basically, I like to do different things that excite me.
It’s definitely harder to come up from a non-filmi background in Bollywood than from a filmi background. Having said that, things are difficult for those whose parents or family members are in the industry. They have their own demons to deal with as the expectations from them are pretty huge. Getting in is the toughest part and once you are in, the striving gets only tougher.
Since I travel a lot for concerts across India, I can tell you that my language skills are more than just good enough. I’m based in Mumbai and I’m fluent in Mumbaiyya Hindi! You pick up words and phrases and before you know it, you’re using it. It’s magical. Fortunately, language has never been an issue. I write songs in English though and I’m excited about my debut album that’s also on the cards.
I keep shuttling between cities to perform at various venues. I rarely get a holiday though I’m not complaining as I enjoy what I do. Now and then, I head off to the US to meet my near and dear ones out there. It’s the joy of connecting with people I know as well as people I don’t that keeps me going. Insecurity has never been an issue with me. My space is a happy one!