Actress Richa Chadha has been someone who has always been fearless in her opinions, and she has always called a spade a spade. Whether it’s with her social media posts or with her interview responses, she has never shied away from saying what she feels is right. She has been in the film industry for almost 15 years, and it seems that she is growing more fearless by the day, and that’s what is reflecting even on her character that she is choosing to play onscreen. Point in case, her character of Zarina in her last released web show, ‘Inside Edge 3’.
Talking about growing more fearless than she was probably 10 years back and that pushing her character choices, she says, “No, not at all. I have become more fearless in life, but I always took up really interesting characters. I think there was some amount of fearlessness always present in me. Fresh out of college, I first took up ‘Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye’. When I did this movie everyone told me that it was only the role of the heroine’s sister and that it is a very loud role. But I saw the intent behind that character and understood the intellect of the film and I loved working on that role. It was a small role but it was so much fun working on it, and I am so grateful to people that they still remember the dialogues from that film. Then ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ was my most fearless choice ever because it was playing the role of a mother to Nawazuddin Siddiqui who himself was no spring chicken and being paired with Manoj Bajpayee, whom I first saw when I was in class 5. So, I really think that it was a very fearless decision and I think it proved to be a double treat for me as because of it, people got to know me and my caliber. Most people rejected me for any film, even remotely normal, forget glamorous roles after that. Some risks have paid off but have also caused some amount of damage. Even for ‘Madam Chief Minister’, the film did well on Netflix eventually but I gained a whole bunch of weight for it, I had odd hair, I had to learn to ride a bike. It was an experimental role for me. I had to look like a boy. The first time the financers of the film came, they came expecting to meet Richa Chaddha and I was sitting there next to them and they did not recognise me. I have always taken these risks because I feel that I am young and if I don’t take these risks now then options keep getting lesser and lesser. I am really happy with the work that I do.”
But did she ever envision that OTT would become such a massive thing in India when she decided to step into it back in 2017? Were there people who dissuaded her decision? “Yes, of course, there were people like that. Some even came to my house to tell me that what I had done was not very wise of me and that it was a mistake. However, I feel that you have to have foresight as a creative person. You have to know that not everyone is watching shows like ‘Naagin’ and not everybody is watching Hollywood movies and shows. You have to have content that is rooted in your own roots like cricket. It was a risk, it was like the first time and we had to do a lot of things and we also made a lot of mistakes (with ‘Inside Edge’). We learned from the terrible reviews on season 1 but that is how it is supposed to work. You take a risk and you learn. Nearly all of the people who told me back then that I should not do web series are all online now. I think that you have to sense it and you have to smell the change when it comes. I still think the dinosaurs of Bollywood are smelling the coffee and not realising what is going on and then one day they will realise that one day they will be hit by a meteorite. Covid is kind of doing that now for instance as the cinema halls are being closed and I think that these are things about which everyone should be aware of,” adds Chadha.
She is also one of the actresses who has been working for a long time, but yet is not considered as one of the A-league actresses. Has she not been able to sell her talent to mainstream filmmakers? “I haven’t really bothered myself with it actually. I have confidence in my skill. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have self-doubt or I don’t get nervous during the shots. I am not arrogant or overconfident but I do feel and I do know that I have been wanting to do this since I was 4. I didn’t grow up to be a banker or anything of that sort, I always wanted to be a professional artiste. I have the same faith in my instinct. Today, I have started to write and I have written a fantastic character for myself because I know what I am capable of. The story is not about my work life but is about all the things that I want to do in life. I have written things for myself that a lot of actresses would not like to do and I have been fully cognizant about it. I know that it is risky but still I will put that out in the world. It is a script that I wrote during the lockdown. I was mentored for it by a very cool writer and I really hope that I can make it. As a creative person, I would say that I am living my best life,” concludes Chadha.
All through the pandemic and lockdowns, she has been busy with numerous projects, and her last project ‘Inside Edge 3’ got her immense praise.