After her much-acclaimed roles as Dolly and Nagma Khatoon, Richa Chadda talks about the challenge of playing Bholi Punjaban in the just-released Fukrey for which she had to lose every inch of her sophistication
Richa Chadda doesn’t want to be short-changed. She wants to work with good banners, and with a director who has conviction in his script. She wants author-backed roles. This may seem too much expectation for a greenhorn in Bollywood with just two recognised films to her credit — Dibakar Bannerjee’s Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur I and II. But Dolly and Nagma Khatoon (the roles she played in the two films) have managed to get Richa all she wants! Farhan Akhtar cast her in Fukrey as a female underworld don and Sanjay Leela Bhansali in a pivotal role in his magnum opus Ram Leela. “It sounds great now, but as a non-star kid and with no godfather in the industry, it’s been an uphill task for me. Yet there is space for everyone from Katrina Kaif to Vidya Balan at either end of the spectrum,” says Richa.
Bholi Punjaban from Fukrey (released Friday, June 14) is the loudest character she’s played till date. “The hard part was to lose every inch of my sophistication and femininity. Not only is she a loudmouth, she also dresses loud and uses expletives in every sentence. There is no room for grey in her character. She is just driven by greed. She is powerful and this knowledge is heady. She likes to use her power to gain what she wants,” says Richa, whose character has become instantaneously popular.
The most challenging scene
Talking about the most challenging scene in the film, she says, “It’s got to be my introductory scene. I think it’s mind-blowing, but the shot in which it culminates when I have to screech the Dalli Dalli line from atop a terrace was the most difficult to shoot. It was around 7 on a Sunday morning and I was screaming my lungs out in a residential area in Chandni Chowk. It was awful.”
In the wake of Jiah Khan’s suicide that has made a lot of new entrants introspective, Richa says that fears are part of the industry. “Actors have to face a lot of rejection, but my request to the creative guys out there is to be kinder. You are very young when you are peaking and you don’t have the bandwidth to handle all this. There are moments of madness, even I have faced them. One feels ugly, desperate, depressed, and who-knows-what. At such times, all you need is a support system. What we need to focus on is life is bigger than career.”
Richa says she is thankful to her mentors Dibakar and Anurag. “I love both of them and their work. Anurag is loving and gives more freedom, while Dibakar is more precise and critical of your work. But better than them is Mira Nair and both will agree with me on this! I worked with her on a short film God Room, which is part of a compilation-feature being produced by Guillermo Arriaga called Words With God with five other directors from across the world. I play an uppity South Mumbai girl and it was a delight to work with her.”
Richa has three other releases this year besides the just-released Fukrey: Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Ram Leela with Ranvir Singh and Deepika Padukone, Tamanchey reportedly based on the Abu Salem-Monica Bedi love story and Ishqeria with Neil Nitin Mukesh.