"I Would Love To Be A Part Of A Biopic Based On Meena Kumari" - Richa Chadha

Shravan Shah , 21 Sep 2018

Love Sonia is making a lot of noise among the audience. The film which deals with human trafficking not only shakes you up from within but leaves a deeper impact on you that continues to stay for days. Every character in the film is tailor-made and thus every scene manages to surprise you. Richa Chadha in a candid conversation spoke about the film, her next project based on the life of an adult star and much more. Read on.

Love Sonia was in the making for a while now. The film released finally after two years and is making quite an impact. Ask Richa the reason for the delay and she said, “The film is released after two years because that’s how long it takes them to edit and get a proper release. This story was as relevant as it is 10 years ago, today. And I hope it becomes less relevant with time.”

Explaining the reason why we need films like these, the actress added, “We need it because we are not aware. I don’t think we know the extent and depth of the problem of human trafficking for the sex trade and because we don’t know if we can’t fix it. That’s why I think a film like this is so important.” Richa has been a part of a number of scripts which have helped her carve her niche. Right from Masaan, Gangs Of Wasseypur to Fukrey, Richa stands out in every character she portrays. Does it feel great when the audience and critics love her performance and Richa explained, “It makes me feel happy and validated because it’s not easy for any middle-class girl to come to Bombay and start a career without knowing anybody just taking the audition route. It’s hard, and it’s always going to be hard. I’m happy about it because I can always call it my own journey.”

But it is not always easy when you take the audition route. While many do it, many succumb to the casting couch, but not Richa. The actress has been one of the few actresses who has always worked hard and not fallen prey. Ask her is there a way to eliminate the casting couch and she immediately said, “It’s not going work unless everybody talks about it together. It’s not going work unless we have systems in place to protect whistleblowers. Otherwise, it’s going be one trending topic and will soon die. And that’s how we’ve seen atrocity happens in India at the drop of the hat every day. Recently, I read a story about five kids lynching a Dalit boy because he touched a balloon in a temple. Five kids killing another kid. This is disturbing and we shouldn’t just wait for Bollywood to make a film on this subject and some big star to make a headline on it. We should talk about it. They are things we all know exist but we pretend like they don’t. They are happening on a daily, hourly, minutely basis so why don’t we talk about it? We should.”

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Namaskaram

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While Love Sonia is doing well, the actress will next be seen essaying the role of adult film actress Shakeela in her biopic. The images of the actress essaying the role are already over the internet and the audience can’t wait for this one. While we are excited, was it an instant yes when she was offered the film and Richa revealed that she was concerned initially.

I was concerned because she’s an adult star so I was concerned about how they would film certain things. But having said that, I just finished two schedules of it. And I’ve had so much fun working with that group most of the crew is from the South the technicians, a lot of the talent also. I think the Bombay Film industry needs to take a lesson or two in humility from them because they are humble, sort of jugaadu and that kind of stuff really goes a long way. I think we need to be quicker. It’s always good to exchange ideas. My experience was really grounded, everyone eats together, my experience was just really fun. Even though it’s Hindi film and the crew is from the south, it’s just amazing.”

While Shakeela biopic is being made, we already saw a film on her senior and contemporary Silk Smitha. Titled The Dirty Picture, Vidya Balan essayed the titular role and it not only managed to impress the masses but also earned great moolah at the box office. While everyone loved TDP, ask Richa what are her expectations from the Shakeela biopic and she said, “This film is very different from The Dirty Picture. For this film, we are talking to her and trying to figure out how she did it what she did. If she gives suggestions, we try to incorporate it. I remember the first time I met her after we began the shooting for the film. She saw me and she asked, “Are you wearing lenses? I was like, “Ya ma’am you used to wear green lenses so she’s like no I used to wear sterling grey lenses!” Somebody ran and got the sterling grey lenses. She was that involved in the process. We are just trying to make it with a lot of heart and I’m really enjoying the process. Let’s see what happens with it. The film will narrate her story right from childhood, her family background, whether there was poverty? What were the challenges? So it’s a true biopic in that sense.”

Is there a pressure considering she’s still alive and Richa added, “Not pressure but I have some responsibilities. Because I feel like she should proudly be able to say that this is based on my film and it’s true. Mostly I read stuff that people are not happy when their biopics are made. That is really sad.”

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Shakeela

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While this biopic was offered to her ask Richa is there any other biopic on a Bollywood actress she would want to be a part of and Richa immediately exclaimed, “Meena Kumari without a doubt. Of course, there are people who I really admire like Nargis Dutt and Madhubala aur aisa talent that doesn’t exist today. Those women could do commercial and artistic stuff. They were superheroes but Meena Kumari is still somebody who I really admire. She mentored Gulzaar Saab. She hated the taste of alcohol and imagine later developing a taste for it and be claimed by it. That is something. She did diverse roles. From Sahib, Biwi, Ghulaam to playing an older woman in Mere Apne when she was just 40-44. I love her life and I love her as an actor. I have enjoyed all of her films. Actresses in that era had a vast variety to offer and today people are just bracketing actresses from an item girl to a Bandra girl. Why are we doing this? I don’t know.”

Apart from the Shakeela biopic, Richa is also a part of Ashwiny Iyer Tiwary’s Panga. The film also stars Kangana Ranaut and showcases her essaying the role of a Kabaddi player. Ask Richa how excited she is about the film and she said, “I’m excited for this because I get to do a lot of stuff which I’ve not done before, and it’s a sports film. I love doing physical work so I’ll be happy to lose all this weight that I’ve gained for Shakeela. More than that I’m happy to work with Ashwiny because I’ve seen her previous work even Nil Battey Sannata and I thought there’s a lot of compassion in her. She’s very true to her art.” Talking about prepping up for the film, the actress added, “I loved hanging out with her. She showed me clips and references of what she wanted me to do exactly. I’m really very happy.”

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