Why Inspector Das From Red Notice Looks So Familiar
If you’re planning on tuning in this Friday to help Rawson Marshall Thurber’s “Red Notice” (the “costliest film in Netflix history”) reach its necessary 70 million-plus viewers (via Observer), you’ll no doubt realize that in addition to heavy-hitters like Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds, the film boasts an impressive and familiar cast all-around.
There’s a good reason why the task-mastering Interpol inspector in the movie looks familiar. Though she only just kicked off her on-screen career in 2013, the actor behind Inspector Urvashi Das has been both prolific and successful, appearing in a number of revered television series and shorts in just under a decade, and making a name for herself on the Netflix scene. In “Red Notice,” this IGN Summer Movie Awards Best TV Ensemble nominee is tasked with breathing life into the role of an all-too-familiar stock character, and keeping Johnson’s “American cowboy” tactics in check as he attempts to bring an infamous international art thief (Gadot) to justice. Her name is Ritu Arya, and although “Red Notice” is her biggest feature film to date, you’ve undoubtedly seen her in at least a handful of familiar projects.
Ritu Arya got her start on a British soap
In 2013, Arya was cast as the character Sukhinder Nain in an episode of BBC One’s long-running daytime medical drama “Doctors,” but would find herself back on the show in the recurring role of psychiatrist Dr. Megan Sharma for the duration of the series’ 2017 season. (Unfortunately, Arya’s character makes the very “television medical drama” mistake of sleeping with one of her patients, and is ultimately fired from her job.) Now in its 22nd season, the series remains a popular soap in England despite being cut to just three days a week (via The Sun), and it gave Arya a dose of exposure that would build upon her appearance in another popular British series.
In 2014, the “Red Notice” actor starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch (an act that, legally speaking, now makes her a part of the MCU) and Martin Freeman as a character named Gail in an episode of “Sherlock” titled “The Sign of Three.” But she mostly popped up in a few television series in her early career, Arya’s work in film was what truly drove her ascent as an actress.
Ritu Arya starred in two acclaimed films back-to-back
In 2015, Arya quietly wooed critics and audiences alike in Stuart Gatt’s acclaimed short, “My Beautiful White Skin,” wherein she played a young actor named Parita who desperately attempts to lighten her skin in preparation for an upcoming Bollywood audition. The film took home the Jury Prize for Best Narrative Short Award and earned Arya the Best Actress in a Short Film Award at 2016’s Socially Relevant Film Festival in New York (via IMDb).
Following her success on the New York film scene, the actor was tapped to play the role of Rachida in director Peter Mackie Burns’ “Daphne” — another critically lauded film (via IMDb) — starring Emily Beecham of “The Pursuit of Love” and “Cruella.” As The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw noted, “Daphne” follows a lead character whose persona and motivations fall somewhere between those of “Fleabag’s” protagonist and Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, who is forced to come to terms with her own stagnation, demons, and general malaise after she witnesses a violent crime. The film was by no means a commercial hit, but it did introduce Arya to a wider big-screen audience.
Arya brought a robot to life in Humans
Prior to the release of “Daphne,” Arya starred alongside “Eternals” actress Gemma Chan in five episodes of AMC’s “Humans.” As the character Flash, the actor was tasked with humanizing a Synth (an anthropomorphic robot) originally designed and programmed to be a nanny. Over the course of her five-episode arc, Flash gains consciousness after a fellow Synth named Niska (Emily Berrington) uploads something called a “consciousness code,” thereby giving the synths self-awareness and allowing them to make their own decisions (via TV Insider).
In some ways, the narrative could be compared to Marvel’s “Black Widow,” except that — as in most AI-driven sci-fi plots — the synths are destined to turn on their human captors, and possibly bring about the end of humanity. (Whereas, in “Black Widow,” the women to whom Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff brings self-control were simply trapped humans, and the only person they have a grudge against is the maniacal
Harvey Weinstein General Dreykov.)
Following her successful turn on “Humans,” Arya was cast in smaller roles in Paul Feig’s 2019 holiday hit, “Last Christmas,” and in the “Fugitive of the Judoon” episode of “Doctor Who,” but her career would take off in full in 2020, with the help of Channel 4 and a little-known streaming service called Netflix.
Ritu Arya impressed critics in Feel Good
Written by, and starring comedian Mae Martin as a slightly dramatized version of themselves, Netflix’s “Feel Good” struck critics as a breath of fresh air, and was what was IndieWire’s Jude Dry describes as “hilariously crafted, thrillingly paced, and brimming with the kind of raw honesty rarely found on TV.” In “Feel Good,” Mae struggles with their newfound sobriety, their dating life, and a less than maternal mother (Lisa Kudrow) with some semblance of help from her off-the-wall Narcotics Anonymous sponsor, Maggie (Sophie Thompson).
Ritu Arya plays Maggie’s daughter, Lava, who’s distanced herself from her addict mother, and who nearly calls the cops on Mae and Maggie when the two show up at one of her art shows. Eventually, Lava begins to compete for Mae’s affections, stealing the vast majority of the scenes she’s in with her steely deadpan delivery. In “Feel Good,” Arya is, as Dry notes, “delightfully dry in her seduction of Mae,” and fans of another Netflix favorite will recognize some of that approach in her break-out role.
Ritu Arya broke out with Umbrella Academy
In her most widely-viewed project to date, Arya starred alongside Elliot Page and Tom Hopper in the role of Lila Pitts on “The Umbrella Academy.” At the start of Season 2, Lila initially meets and befriends the impulsive Diego Hargreeves (David Castañeda) during his time at a psychiatric institution, and the two plan and execute a successful escape. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to Diego, Lila is actually a plant working undercover for her adoptive mother, The Handler (Kate Walsh). As one of the 43 special children born on October 1, 1989, Lila has a power of her own — she can mimic whatever powers are being used against her at a given moment. Though Diego and Lila grow close, neither can escape the fact that they’re on opposite sides of The Commission vs. The Academy equation.
Having now starred in a fiercely-loved and Emmy-nominated series — and with three vastly different but equally popular Netflix productions under her belt — it’s likely we’ll be seeing even more of the actor behind “Red Notice’s” hard-line Inspector Das in the future.