Lara Dutta recently made her web debut with Hundred, a Hotstar Specials offering in which she plays a police officer named Soumya Shukla. The series also stars Rinku Rajguru and Karan Wahi.
Revealing the premise of the show, Dutta says, “I’m going to be dangerous and diabolical. It’s been an adventurous ride. I think there is a lot of humour in it — it’s neither slapstick nor satire, but it’s more like dark humour that we will note more in the dialogues and the writing. In fact, the writing is cheeky — even Soumya’s humour is quite sarcastic. It’s the two characters who are so opposite to each other that stand out. One a woman who has a chip on her shoulder, who is out there to prove her ambition, and she recruits a girl who has nothing to lose. That is a dangerous combination. A woman who is overambitious and has nothing to lose. They both come together to wreak havoc.”
As the show’s plot unravels, it covers pertinent themes such as the struggles of being a female in the police force. “She is functioning in a male-dominated misogynic police force but she feels she has the potential to be a good cop.
She never gets her due and her male counterparts are chosen for promotions over her,” the actress explains, adding that her character deals with struggles even outside of work.
“Soumya is also married to a police officer from the same batch of the police academy, so in a way, she is not only competing at work but at home as well. The frustration of her husband’s sheer luxury of being a man, who has far more opportunities than her, seeps into her marriage. There is comedy, but the character is extremely layered and complex,” she adds.
Dutta avers that this complexity in her character is unlike most female cops on television and in films, who always find a happy ending. “We are used to watching the romanticised version of police officers, where everything goes right for them. But Hundred is a slice-of-life show, so everything won’t go right and Soumya Shukla will not come out looking like a hero. In films like Mardaani, you see Rani Mukerji playing a cop who takes control and everyone fears her. Here in our show, it’s a very real portrayal of what a woman actually is,” she asserts.
The Partner actress also has ample experience doing comedy films, which she says were all a conscious decision.
“This came from the fact that I never joined the industry to be a star, I always just wanted to be an actor. I was frustrated because people like to slot you, label you, and box you. Multiple offers that were coming to me back then were glamorous characters on screen. I was tired of playing sexy and good-looking glamorous roles, so it was very important for me to do different roles. I was fed up of going from one film into other without seeing any difference in the characters,” she recalls.