Richa Chadha on 3 Storeys and her future projects: 'Would be happy to do quality international work'
These days, the reputation of Richa Chadha as a firebrand woman precedes her image as an actress. The actress, known for her powerful performance in films like Gangs of Wasseypur and Masaan, is one among the few from the industry who speaks her mind and never hesitates to call a spade a spade. Her selection of roles gives her an image of a thinking man’s actress and in all likelihood, her upcoming film 3 Storeys is all set to reinforce the image further.
Not much is evident about her upcoming film, except the fact that her mannerisms resembles a sex worker. Richa disagrees and clarifies, “No, she is just a woman who enjoys dressing up. It seems people have fallen for the typical Bollywood portrayal of a stereotypical prostitute. She is just a woman who likes her shringar and is fond of her kada and chuda.” Richa further elaborates that her character lives on the ground floor of the chawl and the three stories happen on the three floors above. “I play Leela and everybody in the chawl fantasises about her. She is somehow connected to everything and knows what’s going on," she says.
3 Storeys is woven around the happenings in a chawl, which, according to Richa, is also a character in the film. “Chawls aren't disappearing from society but they are disappearing from the narrative. Blame it on the NRI phase of Bollywood, but stories placed in locations like London and New York have become a trend. I have always admired people like Sai Paranjape and most won’t even know today who she is, which is a damn shame," she rues.
In November this year, Richa is all set to complete a decade in the film industry but believes that it was Gangs of Wasseypur that got her a proper entry. She still remembers the day when her debut film Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! was scheduled for a premier at Goa International Film Festival. It was also the day of the infamous 26/11 Mumbai attack. “My debut film did not do well at the box office as it literally released on the day of 26/11. There was no way that film was going to be a success. After the not-so-encouraging response I went back to Delhi and I had no clue about the feedback of the film. To sustain myself I did five plays after that. I also did few commercials for Tata Sky and Cadburys. I had literally given up on my dream of working in films," Richa recalls.
Apart from the jolt she received from her debut film, more shocks were in the offing. When she returned back to Mumbai to attend the Filmfare Awards function, she got her first taste of Bollywood’s partisan and bigoted behavior. “You can well imagine the excitement ten years back when I was not that cynical. I had bought a dress from GK I and got my hair done for the event. Manjot (Best Actor – Critics) and Manu Rishi (Best Dialogues) were given awards for their part and at the after party everyone came and spoke to me in a classist behavior, as if I could not speak English. I can take their names now. People like Imtiaz Ali and Sagar Ballary, who had become a hot property after the release of Bheja Fry, would go and say hi to Manjot and Manu adding that their work in the film was amazing, but with me the attitude was, sort of, aapka kaam bahut accha tha film mein,” reveals Richa.
Richa remained in wilderness for the next four years till an audition tape she had done for Dev D rescued her. Anurag Kashyap was having trouble getting the go-ahead for GoW from UTV mandarins as they were in favour of casting Ajay Devgn and Vidya Balan for lead roles. When actresses like Shahana Goswami, apart from few others, said no the role, the project was in jeopardy and it was then that Anurag was reminded of Richa’s audition tape, by his then assistant Vasan Bala.
“Anurag, out of the blue, called me one day and said that he wanted to cast me in his film. He also informed that three actresses had previously said no to the role and he has been fighting with UTV to sign me for the film. It was only later that when things did not materialise with UTV, Anurag took the project to Viacom. It took almost 18 months for GoW to reach fruition so technically I consider GoW as my debut film,” says Richa.
So is she satisfied the way her career has moved? “I would rather say I am content. I am a woman and an outsider and thus in a minority. I want to do certain kind of work and I won’t sleep around for work so these things are like adding filter to what you are shopping for. It narrows down your choices tremendously,” she says.
Richa believes that the industry is now on the cusp of change with the way content is moving. She believes that satisfaction will come to her only when small films will develop muscles to get a good release. “I have never wanted to compete with some star kid who was launched in the ultrasound phase and that’s not something one can even compete with. I will be happy to do some good quality international work,” says a hopeful Richa.
Updated Date: Mar 08, 2018 08:22 AM