India’s Anushka Sen Talks ‘Asia,’ Prime Video’s ‘Dil Dosti Dilemma’

India’s Anushka Sen Talks ‘Asia,’ Prime Video’s ‘Dil Dosti Dilemma’

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Anushka Sen, one of India’s most popular young actors, is now making an impact in Korea.

Sen gained fame as a child actor in Indian fantasy series “Baalveer” (2012) that aired on SAB TV. She burst upon the national consciousness in India playing the titular role of Rani Lakshmi Bai, a queen who fought against British colonizers in Viacom18’s Colors TV 110-episode show “Jhansi Ki Rani” (2019). In 2021, Sen became the youngest contestant on Endemol Shine India’s Colors TV reality series “Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi 11.”

A “huge fan” of Hallyu [Korean wave] in general and K-pop and K-drama in particular, Sen rates highly BTS, Blackpink and NewJeans on the music front. On the series front, Sen is an aficionado of actor Lee Min-ho, with “Heirs,” “Legend of the Blue Sea” and “The King: Eternal Monarch” among her favorites.

“During COVID times when I would watch K-dramas they would make me feel wholesome. And at that time, I would be just manifesting that Korea is in Asia and it will be so nice if we can collaborate with them… the way they’re producing content, it’s amazing and so inspiring,” Sen told Variety. “And in Indian cinema the way we show romance and family, there are a lot of similarities between Indian cinema and Korean cinema.”

Sen’s manifestation came true when she received an email from Korea-based Asia Lab, a company that combines content production, entertainment and travel through collaborations with influential Asian stars from around the world with a mission to create “One Asia.” Asia Lab had been observing Sen’s upward trajectory for two years. She signed a contract with the company and the first piece of content that emerged was YouTube vlog “God of Travel” (2022), which documented her travels across Korea and her firsthand encounters with Korean culture.

Sen is also one of the stars in Asia Lab film “Asia,” directed by Lee Jung-sub. “It’s an action thriller and it has people from all over Asia, different countries, people are joining in for this big movie. And it’s a global film. It’s a K-film, and I’m really excited to be a part of it. We have shot the first schedule and we are now waiting for the second,” Sen said. “I’m playing an assassin for the very first time.”

The actor is currently basking in the success of Prime Video series “Dil Dosti Dilemma,” which bowed in April. Directed by Debbie Rao (“Pushpavalli”), the Bengaluru-set series sees Sen playing teenager Asmara whose summer takes a turn when she’s sent to her grandparents’ neighborhood as punishment. To save face, she pretends to be in Canada to her friends. Amid the traditional setting, she finds genuine friendships, life lessons and a hint of romance. The series is based on Andaleeb Wajib’s 2016 novel “Asmara’s Summer.”

“The audition was so tough because Debbie wanted to test me and she really had a lot of fun with it,” Sen said. “She was constantly changing lines and she was constantly changing the pace of the scene to test if I can do it, and I think I did.”

“Dil Dosti Dilemma” is a hit for Prime Video. “I was so grateful that I got the opportunity to portray Asmara. Now that it’s out, after a year of hard work and after a year of just contemplating how people are gonna like it, we were all really relieved to see people are connecting with the characters, and people want Season 2 already,” Sen said.

In a country where 40% of its 1.4 billion population is under the age of 25, Sen is a youth icon with more than 39 million followers on Instagram. “I have a very big responsibility, given the numbers that I have and given the years that I’ve been working,” Sen said. “I have so many people who call themselves Anushkians, my fans, and I meet them and see them online. So I have a huge responsibility as an actor, as a human being. I do my best and try to be part of things which are not just entertainment, but also says a message.”

“Being a public figure comes with a lot of pros and cons. But I see it as a very big opportunity that I can do good things, I can use this platform for awareness,” Sen added. “For more than a decade, I’ve got so much love and support from my fans and they’re always there. They’re waiting for my next project all the time. And it just makes me feel inspired and motivated to do my job even better. When I take up a project I’m like, will they like it, will they learn something from it, will they feel happy? Even if I can make them smile, that will be amazing.”

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