This dusky beauty took the film industry by storm when she made her debut with Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi in 2005. Since then, actress Chitrangada Singh has managed to strike a fine balance between parallel and commercial cinema. Now, as she prepares for the release of Soorma, her first film as a producer, she talks about her professional struggles and regrets in an exclusive chat with us.
When you decided to Produce Soorma, were you clear that you didn’t want to act in it?
It was a creative decision. When you are looking for somebody to play a national-level hockey player, you need someone with the right physique and toughness; someone who looks like a sports person. The film demanded a Punjabi look, and it’s important to get the right people. As a producer, I was greedy to have everything bang on.
How’s life in your 40’s?
Life is beautiful. But yes, there is a fear because I’ve taken so many breaks in between. I’m not somebody who wakes up every single day and is working. I don’t think my life revolves around my films, but they do keep me creatively involved and stimulated. I am happy to remain in this space as long as I am creatively driven. I don’t always have to be in front of the camera.
We don’t see you in too many films these days. Are you not getting offers?
Honestly, I am not being offered good roles. Things do come my way now and then, but not the kind of stuff I want to do. I really don’t believe you have to keep working to stay relevant. When you do good work, you can remain relevant. I have turned down quite a few projects, and I am not saying that out of pride. They just weren’t the right kind of offers for me.
Do you think your talent remains untapped?
I would say I haven’t worked as much as I wish I would have liked to. But I don’t think I have anyone to blame for that but myself. I took breaks in this industry where things are churned out so fast. But I am also thankful that I’m still here, and that people acknowledge my work. I have no complaints whatsoever.
What are the criteria you take into consideration before signing a project?
With time, your criteria changes. In the beginning, you are smitten by different things. At this point, it’s the writing and the director that are of utmost importance to me.
People say if you keep rejecting scripts, you stop getting work. Do you worry about that?
Yes, it’s scary! Every time I reject a script, I think twice, because I’m afraid of getting typecast. It takes a lot of over-thinking to be able to say no. In hindsight though, I am glad I have declined projects based on gut feelings.
So you don’t have any regrets? Has anything you’ve turned down eventually gone on to be a hit?
There are two regrets in my life, I won’t deny that. Two films that I rejected which went on to be huge hits — the Parveen Babi biopic and Tanu Weds Manu, both of which went to Kangana (Ranaut). I regret turning them down.
There is a huge gender pay gap in the industry. As a producer, what do you think of the current scenario as far as the actresses are concerned?
When you sit down and look at the numbers, a lot of figures come to you. I believe in equality. But the fact is that heroes get bigger returns, and actresses are not able to do that. Some actresses like Kangana (Ranaut) and Deepika (Padukone) have changed the game. And when you see that, you have to bow down to them. There has been a change for the better.