Rytasha Rathore on playing Gia in Netflix series Masaba Masaba and championing body positivity
In an interview with Firstpost, Rytasha Rathore talks about her character in the Netflix show Masaba Masaba, the reason she supports body positivity and why mind therapy is key in her life.
She’s honest. She’s unapologetic. And, she makes you fall in love with yourself. The actress was recently seen in the Netflix’s TV show, Masaba Masaba and has been winning accolades for her role. Apart from Masaba and ace actor, Neena Gupta’s brilliant performance, what struck a chord with the viewers is Masaba’s best friend, Gia Irani, played by Rytasha Rathore.
“The show is all about female friendships and ambitious women. The main love story isn’t one with a boy but in fact, with one’s work and the women in one’s life, and my character is very relatable,” says Rytasha, who has received huge appreciation for her act despite having only a few scenes in the show. “With platforms like Netflix, there are plenty of opportunities out there, as now, creators and audiences are looking for strong performances and content. So, yes, apna time aagaya,” she quickly adds.
Earlier, Rytasha was seen in the TV serial, Badho Bahu, as the plus-size, triumphant daughter-in-law, who shared screen space with co-actor Prince Narula. After doing almost 500 episodes in the two years when the show was on air, she finally found her voice. The experience gave her the exposure needed on how gender politics work in Indian homes. “From a protected, privileged, South Bombay social bubble into this mad world of a daily soap set—it was an eye-opener for me,” says Rytasha.
Recently, the 27-year-old artist completed 50 episodes of her ongoing podcast series, ‘Agla Station: Adulthood’, that started out a year ago. She hosts the podcast with her friend, Ayushi Amin, and talks about news trends, mental health, relationships, creativity and more. “The podcast show (that airs on Indus Vox Media’s website) was my main focus throughout the lockdown,” adds Rytasha. Her lockdown routine also involves filtering out the roles that come her way, a challenge on its own. “I don’t look like a "heroine" hence the roles that are offered to me are usually badly written, one dimensional, funny, fat girl roles. I actively choose work that aligns with my mindset as an artist and what I want to put out into the world,” she says.
For someone who loves the stage ever since her schooldays, theatre has always been her first choice. She describes her career’s most rewarding experience when she got to work with theatre director, Faezeh Jalili, for the play, 777. “We made it without any money. It was just 10 committed actors, and an incredible story. For me, however, it was the rehearsals where I got the kick from,” says Rytasha. Other times, working with Rajat Kapoor was another dreamlike experience for her.
Rytasha says getting an education in acting was the best decision of her life. In 2011, she went on to do her bachelors in acting at LASALLE, Singapore; the country that also happens to be her birthplace. “I learnt to shed my inhibitions and became comfortable in my body for the first time in my life. I stopped looking at it just as simply an ‘overweight’ physical body, and more as an instrument to put my craft into action,” says Rytasha.
The vivacious actress strongly feels that people need to learn how to appreciate all types of bodies.
“In mainstream media, people don’t widely embrace individuals of all sizes, shapes and forms. There is this one token character/model/feature whom we like to follow. Also, we’re more accepting of a certain type of fat or curvy, and within the body positivity movement, there still is some amount of discrimination. I hope that changes.”
In 2019, Rytasha had uploaded a video story on her Instagram, after feeling insulted at an audition. She shared a heartfelt thoughts, while tears rolled down her face: “Your journey to self-love will never reach completion. It’s a process and we've got to love ourselves every day.” Her journey towards self-acceptance is a winner of a story that everyone should take inspiration from. “The job I do is unpredictable and can bring dark days too. Talking to loved ones is cheaper than therapy—something that I have always done. But, as of last year, I started therapy as well, because I learnt how important my mental wellbeing is,” she adds.
Rytasha is currently penning a book and can’t wait to shoot again. Recently, she shared on Instagram about moving back to her parents’ house in Worli, due to the current crisis of the pandemic. “I won’t lie, work has been ‘lean’. The first few months of lockdown were fine, but once it went on and the uncertainty increased every day, I did start to feel a financial pinch. I had to tap into savings and break an investment. Plus, I was tired of doing jhaadu, pocha and bartan.” Don’t you love her already?
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