Richa Chadha on reprising role in Inside Edge season 2: I'm not as ambitious as my character Zarina Malik

Richa Chadha discusses how her character of an actress in Inside Edge 2 is poles apart from her real-life personality, and attempting stand-up comedy.

Seema Sinha December 05, 2019 07:54:01 IST
Richa Chadha on reprising role in Inside Edge season 2: I'm not as ambitious as my character Zarina Malik

Richa Chadha is going to return as Zarina Malik in the second season of Inside Edge, the story of a T20 cricket franchise, the Powerplay League.

Created by Karan Anshuman and backed by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar's Excel Entertainment, the series is set in a landscape of conflicting interests where power, money, greed, fame, and sex are mere means to an end.

Richa Chadha on reprising role in Inside Edge season 2 Im not as ambitious as my character Zarina Malik

Richa Chadha in a still from Inside Edge season 2

Richa plays an actress and a co-owner of a cricket team. While she was shown good, moralistic, and principled in the first season, there is a transformation in her character in the second instalment as she is shown tempted by greed and power.

“You will see shades of grey in the second season. In the first season, she is trying to save the game, she is trying to stop corruption in the game but now, she wants more power. Earlier, she had felt powerless, and was blamed for other people’s mistakes. So when anyone wants more power, they are willing to bend their moral stand a little bit. This time, she wants her share of the pie,” says Richa.

“It is about breaking into a man’s world. She feels being controlled by men on a daily basis, and a lot of her angst comes from that. In season two, there is a dialogue: ‘I am sick of being screwed over by powerful men’. There are a lot of shades. At one point, she wants to fight, and wants to be more involved in the production process but they are not letting her because she is a woman. Then, she feels, why shouldn't I just join the bad guys? Why should I not be at par with the men? Why should I not have a profit share in my films? She is on a very different trip this time. I think she is at that point where she is conflicted, and I had a lot of fun playing the part because these are all contemporary topics,” says Richa, whose character will be seen mentored by a powerful man in the series.

Not one to mince words, Richa, while comparing the situation to the world of Bollywood, says, “It’s, in a way, telling secrets about your own industry (laughs heartily). Like how a doctor would crack doctor jokes and people studying medicine would get it, sometimes, it is like that,” she further says, laughing out loud.

Someone who is known to be unconventional in her outlook, and not the quintessential Bollywood heroine, Richa, obviously does not relate to her onscreen character. "We have nothing in common. Apart from the fact that Zarina is an actor, and so am I in real life, we don’t have much in common because Zarina is very ambitious. She is like a typical star. But I am known to be a hippie. She wants to be famous. She wants attention, she wants media, and she can be fake in public interactions. She is manipulative. She gets affected, she is insecure, she seeks revenge but I am none of those things.

Actually, Zarina complicates her own life. She is naive. Life will teach her a lesson or two as she will go towards corruption. The things she wants, she wants them so badly that she forgets to see the larger picture. What if she is being exploited and played?”

However, Richa enjoys playing the part. Like most actors, she loves being transformed into what she is not in real life. “For an actor, if you spend so much time with one character over two to three years then it is always fun. It is like going back to Fukrey and doing Bholi Punjaban for part 2. It is always fun as compared to first part. Also, it is fun playing someone you are not. There is no baggage. You get to do different kinds of work. You can be playing the rural character and then you can be doing Zarina Malik, or you can be doing a character who can’t speak in English. It is like meeting different people, and then those people tell you a thing or two about themselves. I find it quite amusing,” says the actress.

Richa prepared for the role essentially by observing people around her. “When Zarina was offered, the first season was written in 2016, and at that time, digital was still evolving. At that time, I didn’t know that the show will become so big and grand. Gradually, I became very comfortable working on it. And yes, I have friends, I observe them, and how they deal with people. Actors can be delusional. They can live in a bubble,” says Richa, who went to her co-star Angad Bedi to get some knowledge on cricket. “Angad is a good source material for everybody because he has actually played professional cricket, and he is Bishen Singh Bedi’s son. I used to watch a lot of cricket as a kid but when you start working, you don’t get that much time to follow test matches. But this time, my knowledge had to be more on how the businesses are run as opposed to cricket,” she says.

Every year, Richa challenges herself by trying to do one thing that scares her. This year, she attempted stand-up comedy. She was recently seen in an episode of Amazon Prime Video India’s One Mic Standwhere non-comedians, including actors and a politician tried their hand at stand-up comedy. “I had to really go and prepare jokes. I had to do prep up. I had to just land up in the audience who didn’t know that somebody famous is going to show up. They were told that a surprise guest will come towards the end. Imagine doing a Masaan, and then stand-up comedy. But it is such a stress-buster. And the appreciation that I have received after the episode was aired is relieving. I got a lot of messages with people saying that I should do more stand-ups,” says Richa.

Richa Chadha on reprising role in Inside Edge season 2 Im not as ambitious as my character Zarina Malik

Richa is happy about the changes in the industry with actresses getting more opportunities to experiment, breaking the stereotypes, and telling several untold stories. She is extremely excited about both her forthcoming films, Panga and Shakeela. In Panga, Richa dons the character of a kabaddi player while she plays the titular role in the biopic of adult star Shakeela. “Ashwiny (Iyer Tiwari, Panga director) has got a great track record of making engaging films. You also get to learn new things. We were sent the coach to train us in kabaddi, and if you are a smart actor, you will make good use of it. I added to my skill set with Panga," she says. "Then, Shakeela is a very interesting and cinematic personality to play. It is in a commercial space. The film is complete but the producers are taking a while exploring what language it needs to be dubbed in. She had a huge fan following in the South so they are trying to cash in on the opportunity. They want to release in an appropriate way,” she reveals.

Richa may have completed over 10 years in the industry but it was the 2012 release Gangs Of Wasseypur that gave her the recognition. “I am grateful for Gangs... because that is when I thought I can act for a living, which didn’t occur to me after Oye Lucky Lucky Oye (2008). Till that time, I was still thinking whether I should do an MBA. I used to feel that it was just a fantasy to be an actor. So my true beginning was Gangs,” she says.

Someone who has never considered herself to be part of the Bollywood world, her struggle seems to be never-ending. “When you are an outsider, you don’t know anything. I am an outsider, and I will always remain one. The struggle is ongoing. But now, I can get away saying a lot of things. I can say that I was doing comedy,” she signs off, laughing hysterically.

All images from YouTube.

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