After gaining appreciation from her fans down south, Raashii Khanna made her big OTT debut with Rudra: The Edge of Darkness, opposite Ajay Devgn. Playing Aliyah Choksi, a child prodigy who is accused of murdering her parents, Raashii has chosen an unconventional role in the show. Fans have hailed her performance as well as her chemistry with Ajay Devgn. In an exclusive chat, Raashii talks about the web show, her acting journey, her move to Bollywood, and future projects. Excerpts from the conversation:

How did you get Rudra and how was it working with Ajay Devgn, Atul Kulkarni?

I auditioned for the role. It didn’t matter how I looked, what mattered was if I could pull off an eccentric character like Aliyah. I got the scenes and I got pretty excited because I guess I had always been looking for something that threw me out of my comfort zone and this character did just that. I gave it my best and was selected and that’s how I got on board.

It was a wonderful experience working with all the actors in the series, especially, Ajay sir and Atul sir. Ajay sir was a pillar of support from day one. He is such a good actor and I learned a lot from him. Atul sir also is a brilliant actor and working with him was a blessing too.

How did you prepare for the role?

I worked on my looks for the show as that helped in setting the right mood for the character. Once we got it, the emotions flew automatically. Also, I read more about psychopaths and how they behave in real life. The first day of the shoot was quite difficult as I had intense scenes with Ajay Devgn. Once the initial few shots were canned, I was in full flow.

How difficult is it to play a dark character and then come out from it?

The other characters I’ve played have been fairly easy. Aliyah is eccentric and I feared becoming too much like her. She is a sociopath and a little scary but I really enjoyed playing her. I remember after a scene, Esha (Deol) got scared and stood far away from me. I was living with her but I also feared going wrong or just overacting. I asked my director to point out if he ever felt I was overdoing it. This was my OTT debut and I didn’t want to meet the North Indian audience with a bad performance. I also had Ajay sir’s support as he would keep suggesting things to me.

Do you think Rudra is a game-changer for you? Do you think it will open more avenues for you in Bollywood?

I don’t know about that. All I know is that I gave it my best and people have really liked it too which is a blessing. I can only hope now that people in our industry see the actor in me and I get meatier parts in the future.

From Madras Café to Rudra, what has changed over the years for you?

I have grown as a person; I have grown as an actor. I have built my premise in the South and I carry that in my heart. Whatever I am today is because of the audience in the South. I felt like a newcomer again when Rudra was released. And I still feel that it’s just a new beginning. There is so much to do, so much to learn and so much to explore.

5 things you’d tell those who want to make it big in Bollywood?

There is absolutely no rule book. It is a mix of destiny and hard work. Destiny is not in our hands but hard work is. Give it your all, so that years later you cannot blame your own self for your lack of effort. Give it your all! There’s no place for being complacent. That’s what I have always done. I am hard on myself. There’s no other way.

How do you look back at your journey? When did you realize that you want to be an actor?

I am pretty happy with my journey so far. It has had ups and downs but every situation has helped me grow as a person. I wouldn’t want to change a thing. I have no regrets. I have beautiful lessons that have shaped me into who I am today.

Also, strangely I realised I want to be an actor while I was on set shooting for Madras Cafe. I was nervous but as soon as they said ‘Action,’ I felt like I belonged in front of the camera. I am the happiest when I am acting. There’s nothing else I would want to do.

(Featured Image Credits: Instagram)