In a relatively short span of time, the Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012) firebrand – Richa Chadha has carved a niche for herself as a powerhouse performer, who effortlessly walks from one diverse role to the other. What really sets her apart from other Bollywood Belles is the fact that the gutsy actor never shies away from playing any roles, rather she does what any brilliant actor is expected to do – she gets into the skin of her characters and delivers one memorable performance after the other. Then be it playing an aging mother to two kids in Gangs Of Wasseypur or moving sensuously to the song ‘Paani Paani’ in her latest film Cabaret, as an actor, the go-getting girl never fails to impress.
What’s more, she is not only making heads turn in India, but Richa is leaving her mark on the international shores as well. From representing the Indian cinema at the Cannes Film Festival to sharing a panel with Hollywood filmmakers like Francis Ford Coppola at the 15th Marrakech Film Festival, the Delhi girl has definitely come a long way.
DARPAN catch’s up with the down-to-earth Richa to talk about films and more. Excerpts from the interview:
From playing a small but an impactful part in Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008) to playing a lead role in Cabaret, how would you define your journey in Bollywood?
It’s been a fantastic journey so far. I have been lucky to get good films and films that were released. Good work was offered to me and I am glad that I could do justice to it. Thankfully, I don’t have to prove to anyone anymore that I am a good actor. People take that of me now. But at the same time, it also puts a lot of pressure on me in terms of expectation. So I am working harder.
While most young actresses would prefer to tread on the customary path, you have always chosen the unconventional route. Any particular reason why?
It is the stuff that I chose and the stuff that chooses me. As I said, I have been very lucky in terms of the kind of work that has been offered to me. I think any thinking actor would realize what potential these roles had. And for me what really matters is good content. It is nothing about conventional or unconventional, there can be either good films or bad films and I am glad to have done some good work. There is credibility to my name and respect. If someone calls me today, I know they are calling me because they respect my work and nothing else. I am open to any kind of films that I will enjoy doing as well as watching myself in.
You are quite a risk taker, aren’t you?
More than a risk taker, I would say I follow my instincts. I follow my heart. And so far most of the decisions that I have made on the basis of my instincts have worked in my favour. So I am not complaining.
Your latest film, Sarbjit is definitely adding to your impressive filmography, tell us something about it…
It’s a great story, a story that needed to be told. It speaks about a sister’s struggle to get justice for her brother. This biopic has three primary characters. Sarabjit (played by Randeep Hooda), Dalbir Kaur (Sarabjit’s sister played by Aishwarya) and Sukhpreet (Sarabjit’s wife). I am playing Sukhpreet. I am glad I got to be a part of it. It’s a superb character, good cast, good production value, and a very nice director to work with. So I am very happy that I could be part of it. I met Sarabjit’s wife, Sukhpreet Kaur, soon after we started filming. I didn’t ask her too many intrusive questions because I didn’t think it was right. When she met me, she started crying, so I did not want to upset her any more.
And how would you define your equation with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan?
Great! Working with Aishwarya was pretty amazing. She is really sweet, kind and compassionate. I loved working with her. She helped me a lot with my character. It was great working with such a dignified woman.
Sarbjit is followed by another unique film – Cabaret. In fact, the film’s producer Pooja Bhatt is calling you the ‘hero’ of the film…
That is really sweet of her. I am glad that she offered me the role, as I always wanted to be a part of a film where there would be dancing. Basically, the character I play in the film is very powerful; it is a story of a survivor. Cabaret is my first proper commercial film.
What kind of preparations did you do to play a dancer in the film?
I didn’t necessarily have to play a dancer. It was more like a performer, singer and dancer. But yes, it did involve a good amount of dancing. I worked a bit with the choreographer, went back to dancing and had loads of fun. I learned lyrical jazz, trained in other dance forms like Ballet and contemporary. I always wanted to learn all these dance forms and this film gave me an opportunity to do so.
One thing remarkable about you is the fact that, despite all the fame, success, and adulation, you are still the same humble, down-to-earth girl who always replies to a text or a call. How have you managed to keep your head on your shoulders in an industry where people change overnight?
Because I can’t change and I don’t want to change. I want to be normal and grounded. Yes, it is tough but then again I have genuine friends and family who help me keep grounded. If people, who you are related to, don’t change or get too affected by your achievements, it’s not that difficult to retain your sanity. Also, I still have a long way to go, I have just started and if I let these small successes get into my head, I won’t be able to do anything more in life.
So what do you want to do now? What is your dream?
I just want to get better and work hard. I want to continue doing good films and get better with each one.