Richa Chadda on her web series Inside Edge: 'Why can’t we be the Narcos from this country?'
Richa Chadda was looking for this opportunity for a long time and when the moment came, she grabbed with both hands.
The reasons for signing the web series Inside Edge, was to prove a point to her detractors: that she could speak English and she is quite a contrast to her filmy image.
In an interview with Firstpost, she narrates an incident which can only make one empathise with her.
“It was soon after the release of Gangs of Wasseypur (part one) and I was walking into the gym of my plush suburban neighborhood. At the gym there were two disgusting men who looked straight into me and one of them said, “You were in that film naa”, and he was actually referring to Oye Lucky Lucky Oye and Gangs of Wasseypur. I said yes and the next moment he said “Good job. Sister naa! Where are you from? Bihar naa!” I did not say anything. Deep within, they were surprised to see me in normal gym clothes and thus quickly compartmentalised me” says Richa.
The St. Stephens graduate, who is excited about her upcoming web series Inside Edge, India’s first original content on Amazon Prime.
A good exposure to education has also helped Richa develop a mind of her own and she is thus armed with an opinion on, virtually, everything. Inside Edge was also an opportunity for the Masaan actress to be part of a well-written show, a far cry from the more popular Naagins and Baalika Badhus.
“When you watch something like Narcos, which is in half English and half Spanish, the whole world is hooked on to it. Why can’t we be the Narcos from this country? Inside Edge marries cricket with clever content. It’s a very well written show about a woman trying to break into man’s world and being controlled at every step.”
She also harbors a deep desire to become the Information and Broadcasting minister of the country for a day. She is disappointed with the systemic failures of the industry but rues that she is small fry and can’t do much. The tax structure, the menace of piracy and then the small cliques of distributors and exhibitors arm-twisting everyone in their way, annoy her.
“It does not take time to figure out what the problems are. The tax is close to 51 per cent, single screens are dying, studios are shutting and there is corruption everywhere. The cost of promotions and advertising has become more that the budget of a film. My friends in Mussorie drove down to Dehradun, which is 90 minutes away, to watch Masaan as there are no single screens left in Mussorie,” rues Richa.
But coming back to the passion that drives the country and the core of her debut web series, cricket, Richa reveals she is not an ardent follower of the game. Her brother, who played for DDCA in the under-15 category, imparted the knowledge of cricket to her.
While shooting, she also hung out with fellow actor Angad Bedi, son of spin wizard Bishan Singh Bedi, to pick nuances of the game. She stills remembers the time when Kapil Dev had once come to her school as a chief guest. “If you ask me to identify positions like slip or gully or forward shot leg, it will be a task for me and I will get confused. I will need a map to figure out the locations. I love this game but of course it's no longer a gentleman’s game," she says.
In the series, Richa plays the character of Zarina Malik, owner of a premier league team. Needless to say, questions about her character being inspired from Preity Zinta or Shilpa Shetty are inevitable. “No, I did not study these people. If I were to study these people before the shoot, chances are that at a subconscious level I might have gotten inspired. I did not follow any of the IPL matches before the shooting of Inside Edge started,” explains Richa.
Richa wears her intelligence on her sleeves and that’s why one curious question could be — what’s a St. Stephens graduate doing in the bad world of Bollywood? “I had no interest in becoming a diplomat or a civil servant. I have no interest in becoming the SP of Bhagalpur. You keep studying for years sans any social life. Even if I had gone to Harvard, eventually I would have acted only.”
Richa is someone who is closely associated with Phantom, the production house helmed by Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl and Madhu Mantena. Phantom is also in news these days for all the wrong reasons. Richa has worked in as many as three films for Phantom but talk about the ailments currently plaguing the house and she defends them.
“People look at them and get inspired to make good films. I only thought that there is a bit of squabbling. I didn’t even read what appeared in newspapers, as I don’t read newspapers. All I know is that they love cinema and everything will work out eventually,” says an optimistic Richa.
As of now, it seems the time has come for Richa Chadda to pay a visit to her old gym and look for those two guys, who in a way, could also be held responsible for her signing Inside Edge.