Sujaya Dasgupta FAULT Magazine Photoshoot and Interview

Photographer – Klara Weldberg

Fashion Editor – Edith Walker Millwood

Hair & Make up – Daisy Holubowicz

Anine Bing

Sujaya Dasgupta has emerged on the screens in her latest role on Netflix’s Fantasy, Drama and Mystery series “Shadow and Bone” as Zoya Nazyalensky. Throughout the 8 part episode Nazyalensky character possesses the super power to manipulate the element of winds alongside being a skilled fighter who desires power, a total opposite to the shy, reserved, yet soft spoken individual who has manifested many characters through her career.

The British Asian actress has made multiple appearances since 2016 leading Dasgupta to playing caricature Veena Patel in a series called Guilt. Since then Sujaya’s presence as an actress skyrocketed from her incredible live performances in theatre to tv drama “Casualty”, “The Good Karma Hospital”, “Press” and the infamous “I May Destroy You” produced and directed by Michaela Coel.

Fast forward now playing “Kavita Singh” who we are soon to meet a few episodes in, an outspoken, audacious and ambitious journalist in the new Apple Tv+ series “Shantanram”. A convict “Lin” played by co star “Charlie Hunnam” succeeds to break free from prison in the 80’s located on India’s west coast Mumbai “Lin” makes it his mission to become untraceable but is caught off guard when love find’s him in the mids of his journey to escape. 

While the fans eagerly wait to watch the new series we converse with Sujaya to discuss her journey and yes of course her FAULTs.

1.) Now that “Shantaram” is available to us, how was it filming in Mumbai, what memories do you have as a child/young girl?

I moved over to the UK from India with my family when I was three years old so I don’t have a lot of memories from that time – but I do have a vivid one of me walking through a busy street holding my dad’s hand. And I also remember when my head was shaved. I remember screaming when I saw myself in the mirror as I didn’t recognise who it was! That was just before we moved here. Apparently it helps with healthier hair growth our elders say, I guess that’s why I have unruly hair now!

Sadly we weren’t able to film ‘Shantaram’ in India due to the severe Covid restrictions last year, but production did an amazing job recreating various places from Mumbai in the heart of Bangkok and in the studios in Melbourne. The level of detail that went into the sets was just incredible, from recreating the streets of Colaba to the hutments in the slums. We really did feel like we were transported back to Mumbai in the 80s. All the plate shots and exteriors were done in India though after restrictions were lifted, so those are all real shots of Mumbai. But I can’t wait to go and visit India again, I haven’t been able to go back for a while.

2.) In asian culture/families it’s quite common that parents want you to become either a lawyers or a doctor, what made you pursue an acting career?

I wish I had the stamina to be a doctor! But since an early age I loved to create imaginative worlds and escape to them. Sometimes for the joy of playing and sometimes to protect myself, as I was bullied quite a bit when I was young. So it was my happy place. I was a very shy, quiet child preferring to read at a party than to socialise. So when I decided in sixth form that I wanted to go into acting professionally, although it was a little surprising to my family, they were always really supportive from the get go. My parents have always wanted my sisters and I to do what makes us happy and worked so hard to enable us to do that. So I’m very lucky and grateful.

3.) What can we expect from Kavita’s character, what similarities do you both have in common?

Kavita is a journalist whose journey interweaves really interestingly with Lin’s, and with other characters. She has an amazing arc in the show but we meet her a little later on in this season so I can’t say too much about her at the moment! But what I can say is that she’s very driven, ambitious, super smart and very eager to make her mark in the industry. I think we share similar values in wanting to work hard and prove ourselves, but apart from that I don’t think we have many similarities. I love playing characters polar opposite to me, obviously you draw on aspects of yourself but oftentimes I wish I had some of the qualities my characters have, such as Kavita’s bravery and outspokenness.

4.) Playing the role of fantasy character “Zoya Nazyalensky”, what super power would you possess and why?

I love her powers of controlling air, I feel so powerful when I play her and pretend to do that! But if I could have any super power I think I’d choose to fly so I could go into space. I’m fascinated by it, that wide expanse of unknown. And to be able to see our beautiful earth from there would be pretty cool.

Nadine Merabi

5.) As an actress where are you most comfortable, where does your heart lie therate or on set?

I always feel whenever I start any project, that I’m starting afresh. Almost from scratch. And that I have so much to learn and explore and discover, which is exciting. I love being on set and the whole process of filming. Whole worlds are created for you. The most nuanced of detail is captured in performance. But I also love how scary and exhilarating theatre is, how you get on stage and have an immediate connection to the audience. Both mediums are challenging in different ways – I just want to keep learning and keep getting better at both!

6.) What steps do you take to prepare for a roll and how do you unwind out of character and revert back to Sujaya?

I love research. I love to analyse and ask lots of questions about the character and their world. I love the exploration. And then organically see where that exploration takes you when you work on those scenes with the director and your fellow actors. There’s only so much prep you can do by yourself, and then the excitement comes when you get to play and explore in the room or in front of the camera with the other actors.

I like to unwind usually by taking a shower when I come home, it’s nice to imagine everything from the day is being washed away, thoughts and all. And then I usually put something on the TV that’s easy to watch – Gilmore Girls is definitely a go to of mine.

7.) You’ve worked with some amazing actors, actresses, directors and producers name your top five you could see yourself collaborating with on a movie ?

I feel very lucky to have worked with the people that I have so far. I couldn’t pick just five! I’d collaborate with all of them again in a heartbeat if I could. Luckily I’ve worked with some very kind, generous people for which I’m very grateful.

8.) And lastly What’s your Fault?

Over-worrying. My lack of self confidence and self esteem often times. Feeling like an imposter. I annoy myself with it all!

Shantaram is now streaming on Apple TV+