Acting on Impulse
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Before the release of her second movie, Monica Dogra talks about the duality that reflects in her music and her tendency to be impulsive.
Her first visit to India sans family — a five-day vacation to Mumbai in 2005, after the completion of her theatre and music studies at New York University — changed Monica Dogra's life forever. On the very first evening, she somehow got hold of passes to a music event, made a few friends and ended up at a house party. At this gathering of amateur musicians, she got jamming in the wee hours of the morning with others present. One of them, Randolph Correia, today forms one half of Dogra's band Shaa'ir + Func, one of India's most popular alternative electronic music acts. "I went back to New York after those five days with so many memories, experiences and a germ of a dream of becoming a musician. I chose to follow my instinct — I moved to Mumbai and started the band with Randolph," says 30-year-old Dogra.
Ever since, Dogra hasn't ignored her impulses. It also played a crucial role in kick-starting her movie career — she had first turned down Kiran Rao's offer to audition for Dhobi Ghat. More recently, it helped her take up the character Noor in Bejoy Nambiar's upcoming release, David. "Noor is the love interest of the David that is played by Neil Nitin Mukesh. She is a servant, but not subserviant. Noor speaks her mind, she can spit fire but is vulnerable too," Dogra states.
This duality in Noor, she says, is akin to her own personality. "You will see that evident in my lyrics. Noor is more like Shaa'ir, who is almost like my alter ego," she points out. This duality in Dogra derives from her past. "The musician in me comes from my mother, whose side of the family consists of musicians. My parents separated when I was young and I grew up with my father, so there is much of him in me as well," explains the petite actor.