Just the way she is

Bollywood buzz

Just the way she is

Richa Chadda has just finished the promotions of her last release Sarbjit, including attending a premiere screening at the Cannes Film Festival, where her film Masaan won awards last year.

She has returned to rave reviews for her performance as Sarbjit’s long-suffering wife Sukhpreet. From this, swinging to the polar opposite end of the spectrum is her next release, Cabaret, in which she plays cabaret dancer Rosy. Delhi girl Richa has come a long way since her debut in a small, but memorable, part in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! in 2008. The 29-year-old actor marks Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) as the turning point in her career, followed by Masaan last year. Her forthcoming releases continue to show that Richa’s choices are anything but predictable.

Sarbjit and Cabaret are poles apart. Plus you have Fukrey 2, Love Sonia, Das Dev… It’s hard to figure out what Richa will do next.

I like that about myself. When my dad was unsure if I should be an actor or not, he sent me on a crash course on business administration and I learned the 3 mistakes all firms make which begins their decline. One of those things is predictability. That stuck with me. I cannot let people slot me; I cannot let other people think she can only do this. When people saw Sarbjit they said you are repeating Gangs of Wasseypur because I play a rural woman and I am seen ageing again. So it must be the same thing, even though the characters are completely different. I believe I must vary things because otherwise I will only get bored, and if I don’t do it at this stage, then when?

Cabaret revolves around you and your imaging. Whereas in Sarbjit and Love Sonia you are part of ensemble casts. Do you feel enough roles that allow you to showcase your talent come your way?

I was 20 when I signed my first film Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! I was playing Dolly but I had not read the script or anything. I realised only later that my part was really small. I felt really bad, but I was happy I was doing a movie. That’s when I made a conscious decision to make that my thing — that people should remember my dialogues, that I should make an impact, no matter how big or small the role is, I must make it memorable. Now we are beginning work on Fukrey 2 and the production team said they need me for 40 days. So I asked how many days did they need me for the last time and they said 12 days. I had 7 scenes in the movie, but I don’t think you can imagine Fukrey without Bholi Punjaban.

I have no insecurities about Sarbjit or Love Sonia. In Sarbjit I played the one role that was suitable for me. But I do feel like my time had just begun, and I am working much harder now. I also try and put myself out of my comfort zone, which is why I did a bikini magazine cover shoot. I am not comfortable in a bikini, but I said let me try and see it this image helps the sales of Cabaret. Maybe people will see me in a new light.

What is the difference between working on an independent film like Masaan and a commercial film like Cabaret?

The language of a commercial film is different. Gyrating and being bold in front of a huge crew is not easy. I am nervous, but also glad I did it because working on Cabaret has taught me a lot. In Masaan, I would wake up and tie my hair up and get on to set. During Cabaret, I had to wake up early to get my hair, nails and make up done. I have immense respect for our leading ladies from Vyjayanthimala to Waheeda Rahman and Madhuri Dixit, because it is not easy to be wearing those heavy costumes and headgear and be laden with jewellery, lashes and heels all day. And then someone on set will say ‘woh feel nahin aa rahi hai’ and you want to slap that person and say you try wearing all this and show me that feel.

You are also shooting Love Sonia, an international film with Freida Pinto, Manoj Bajpayee etc directed by Tabrez Noorani. Are you looking at other international opportunities?

Love Sonia has Indian actors but an all-foreign crew. It is so much nicer working with a foreign crew that I don’t even mind taking a pay cut! Indian crews have too many ego issues. Love Sonia is about sex trafficking, a cause I was associated with through the NGO Purnata. I will be going to Los Angeles to shoot the next schedule. Yes. I am open to options in the West because so much good content comes my way from there. And whether I am in Cannes or Marrakesh, they consider me beautiful just the way I am — with my complexion and curves.

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