Actress Richa Chadha always wanted to act, and always wanted to move to Bombay from Delhi. So she decided to take up a course at Sophia College. She revealed all this and more at SheThePeople.TV’s Bombaywaali event. She spoke to Kiran Manral on acting, patriarchy and following her dreams.
On deciding to pursue acting
“It was the most amazing study experience of my life. I had a blast and it prepped me for Bombay. I was acting throughout school and college. So it it wasn’t a surprise for my parents when I told them I want to do acting for good. However, my extended family had strange notions of what it meant to act in movies.
“I knew I had to do movies because my theatre friends in Delhi were broke. If you want to help people, you need a voice.”
Richa says that the difference between star kids and outsiders is that star kids are already products when they are launched. She remembers how when ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ was released, and she had to go to its success party. She went to a shop and bought a dress, and showed up to the event. But she says that people told her that she wasn’t groomed and wasn’t well put together. People who have parents in the industry already have an army of stylists, they already know what to do by the time they are launched, she said.
“It’s a family business. I have no problems. If I have a child tomorrow and he/she wants to be an actor, I will not say I’m not going to help.”
“However, nepotism does pull down the standard of films of the country. It’s the same gene pool again and again and that doesn’t make sense.”
On choosing roles
“I don’t want to play the same part again and again like others do. I read the script a few times. I try to embellish it as best as I can. When you connect with your character, it comes to life.”
She says that she wants to do more comedy. “It takes less of a toll on your life. My last role was that of a prostitute who was gang raped.”
Are good roles being written for women?
“It is complete bullshit that better roles are being written for women. There were good roles for women in the ’40s ’50s. In the ’80s and ’90s, we lost the plot. Now there are a few roles but the scope is limited.
She says that most of the roles show women reacting to patriarchy. It’s not only about smoking or talking about sex.
She also says that Bollywood needs to realise Netflix and Amazon are major competition and that it needs to reinvent the films it makes.
“The film industry is like a 30-year-old recession,” she said.
On talking about her eating disorder
She spoke about the images that get imposed on women.
“Beauty keeps changing, depending on the era. But now world over, there is a homogenisation of particular style of beauty, which is Caucasian and tall. Even people in India talk about things like thigh gap!” she says.
“Beauty should be like flowers in a garden. They are all beautiful. One kind of image means we grow up feeling inferior.”
On finding herself through writing
She says that she got tired of bad scripts coming her way, and decided to take matters into her own hands, and write something.
“I am writing something happy and cheerful. Humour is a great tool, especially right now with all the censorship and people questioning nationalism.”
She is also writing a book for Penguin.
“Every six months, I feel like I’m a new person. The work goes on. Life is happening,” she says.
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