Richa Chadda has not had a run-off-the-mill Bollywood tryst. The actress, who made her debut with a rather whimsical character in Oye Lucky Lucky Oye!, set the tone of her film choices from the word go. She went on to impress with powerful performances in films like Gangs Of Wassepur, Fukrey, Ram-Leela, and Masaan, to name a few.
The actress was last seen in Sarbjit, where again she delivered a standout act. Curiously enough, not too many awards have fallen in her kitty. The very frank Richa, who is now looking forward to her next, Cabaret, tells us more about her approach towards her art, how she does not place too much importance on awards, her desire to work with Shah Rukh Khan in a romantic film and more. Excerpts:
What do you see as your brightest moment in Bollywood?
I don’t really have a brightest moment as such but I could say that getting several rounds of standing ovation for Masaan was special. However, it was not a game changer for me — it might have spun around the lives of my co-actor Vicky Kaushal and my director Neeraj (Ghaywan). But for me nothing specific has changed after Masaan.
Would you consider Cabaret your most challenging role till date?
Well, Cabaret tells the story of a girl who is a survivor. She has a knack for getting things done easily. I feel Cabaret is my most commercial film so far and it was difficult for me to be what I am not.
How was Pooja Bhatt to work with?
It was fun but she is quite a tough task-master. She is very disciplined but I guess that is also because she has been an actor herself. She is very observant of the minute things on screen.
Heard your film Aur Devdas got delayed…
So many people ask me this just because some journalist wrote about it. But there is no truth to it. Aur Devdas is an amazing film and we are done with the post-production and dubbing work. The film will release next year. It is a modern take on the love story of Devdas, in which I play the role of Paro.
Who are your friends in the industry? Do any of them give you career advice if required?
I am really close to the Fukrey team, which is Pulkit, Manjot, Varun and Ali Fazal. Gulaal actor Raj Singh Chaudhary, who is soon making his directorial debut, is also close to me. Kalki and I are buddies as well. But we don’t generally give advice to each other. I feel the industry is so competitive that you’re always on your own.
Looking at your career graph, you seem very choosy while picking scripts…
I want to do good work. It is nor about commercial or non-commercial films. I believe in doing films and roles that people should remember. I don’t want to do roles I’d be embarrassed of.
Has that happened? Is there any film you regret having done?
The best thing about failures is that they teach us so much in life. I have learned from my mistakes and there are no regrets at all. It is funny that most of the silly things and horrible people teach you the best lessons in life.
Do you feel your looks influence what role directors cast you in?
Yes, of course! I feel it is a visual medium and people like to see good-looking actors on screen. I truly believe that directors cast on the basis of an actor’s appearance. If you tune in to any channel and watch any promo, you’ll know what I am trying to say. I am fortunate that I am good looking and I can act too.
We have not seen you in a romantic film so far. Have you consciously stayed away from the genre?
I am not against romantic films and if Shah Rukh Khan is in it, I will definitely do it (laughs). I have shot for a romantic film with Neil Nitin Mukesh, titled Ishqeria but due to the sudden demise of the producer, the film was put on hold. I have no idea whether it will release or not.
What else interests you besides acting?
I like to sing. I don’t think I am keen on playback, but I do sing light rock at times.
Recently, you joined hands with a social cause. Tell us a little about it.
I am very elated to be a part of this campaign. The cause is about raising money to rehabilitate women who are rescued from human trafficking and prostitution.
Everyone gets asked this. So where do you see yourself after five years?
I don’t have a filmi boyfriend or a businessman backing me up in the industry. I am happy the way I am, working independently. And I believe five years from now I will still be working and minting more and more money.
You are one of the finest actors we have but somehow awards have eluded you. Do you feel you are in the “Aamir Khan” zone?
Firstly, I don’t come in the league of Aamir Khan. I am happy with the kind of appreciation I get for my roles. Awards make you feel good but it doesn’t bother me if I don’t receive them. As long as I am getting to do good work, I am happy.