Avantika Dassani: ‘Mithya’ is the story of two women and their personal lives

The actor speaks about making her Bollywood debut, being drawn towards psychological thrillers, and more

Psychological thrillers have emerged as one of the favourite genres of filmmakers in the recent past; a sure-fire strategy towards keeping the audience invested in the plot till the end. One of the latest shows joining this bandwagon is Mithya, directed by Rohan Sippy.

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Adapted from the British TV show Cheat, Mithya is set in Darjeeling, and follows the personal lives of a Hindi college professor Juhi Adhikari (Huma Qureshi) and Rhea Rajguru (Avantika Dassani). The show starts with Juhi accusing Rhea of plagiarising one of her university essays, and what starts as a cheating accusation, snowballs into a psychological conflict between the two protagonists leading to shocking revelations about their past.

The six-part series marks the debut of Avantika Dassani, actor Bhagyashree’s (Main Ne Pyaar Kiya fame) daughter. Mithya also stars Parambrata Chatterjee, Rajit Kapur and Samir Soni in pivotal roles.

In an interview with The Hindu, Avantika speaks about her debut, her experience working with a full-fledged cast, and more.

Excerpts from the interview:

What is ‘Mithya’ all about?

It’s a psychological thriller, and the show tells the story of two women and their personal lives which seem very light on the surface, but as the story delves deeper, the characters’ lives are unmasked and a conflict emerges between the two. Every character has something up their sleeve and there’s more to them than what meets the eye. Rhea Rajguru, the character that I play, is very exclusive. Rhea is not what she seems at the outset, and that’s what makes it interesting.

As this is an adaptation of a British series, the story is already out there. What is something new that ‘Mithya has that the original does not?

Mithya is an Indian tale which the Indian audience will relate to. It has different nuances that makes it very different from the original.

The peg is about plagiarism, which evolves into something deeper. Do you think plagiarism in education is a serious issue?

Yes, I think plagiarism is a serious issue. But, in the show, it’s just a jumping-off point; the show has so much more to offer than that angle. However, this particular plot point sets the perfect tone for the story to take off.

Since you are debuting with a web-series, is there a reason you chose OTT as a medium?

There has been a very visible paradigm shift in the entertainment industry. With OTT, there is more scope for good content, talent and writing. It’s like a new-wave cinema that has taken the film industry by storm. There is scope for different stories that are not run-of-the-mill, and this is all very new and exciting for me.

Avantika: ‘My character Rhea is not what she seems at the outset, and that’s what makes it interesting.’ 

I don’t think the audience reach is limited because there are different social media platforms to make sure we reach as many people as we can. If the trailer is interesting, it will urge people to get a subscription to watch the show, and it’s a win-win for both the OTT and the cast/ crew.

Your debut genre is a psychological thriller. Do you think you will be typecast in similar roles in your career?

I would love to work across genres, languages, and media. I would love to be your girl-next-door, and also do a role like Rhea. I have always being drawn towards psychological thrillers; while I liked watching them as a viewer, I enjoyed acting in one even more!

I hope I don’t get typecast in my career, and to be honest, I don’t think I will. This is a great start because a lot of people have told me that I have a girl-next-door look; with that kind of image, if I happen to pull off Rhea, it will be a great launch to my career.

Are there any future projects in the pipeline?

I will be working on a Telugu film, but I can’t say much about it right now. All I can say is that it is very exciting, and I am happy to be a part of it.

Mithya premieres on ZEE5 on February 18, 2022

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