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Richa Chadha doesn't fear to 'call a spade a spade' and that's what keeps you intrigued throughout the conversation as she steers clear of sugar-coated words.
A force to be reckoned with, both on and off screen, we recently caught up with the actress at a suburban studio.
'I Am Very Non- Violent In Real Life'
Q. How does it feel to be back as Bholi Punjaban?
A. It's always fun to play a woman like her. She's fearless and doesn't care a damn about the person whom she is dealing with.
Q. So, do you feel that of all the characters you have portrayed on screen until now, Bholi Punjaban is the most badass one?
A. I think she's more famous and definitely the badass one. I have done different kind of roles but she is the one who is a 'leader' by her personality.
Q. How much do you relate to her in real life?
A. I am not Bholi Punjaban like real life. She's very mean yaar. I am vegan, I don't wear leather, fur or silk. I am very non-violent in real life. I follow Gandhiji and preach ahimsa.
Q. Fukrey when it released turned out to be a sleeper hit and people were quite surprised to see this 'badass' avatar of yours. What was your reaction?
A. At that time, we were all newcomers and no one had any expectations from us. So, when it became a hit, people woke up to a different side of all the actors. After its theatrical release, the film also received a good response on TV, D2H and was even re-released in Delhi on public demand. Fukrey run for five weeks in theaters which has become such a rare sight in today's times. I am very proud of that film and this one too. We didn't expect that kind of reaction with Fukrey. But once we got it, we became even more confident. In such situations, it's the script which is the real king. All characters become part of your household and people start liking them.
'We Didn't Let The Success Of Fukrey Get To Our Heads'
Q. When the first film performs so well, does that bring in pressure with the sequel?
A. There is pressure when it comes to writing the film and making it. So, we never relaxed thinking that 'Chalo, yeh toh hit hi hai'. We never took it easy and still did our workshops and readings. We were supporting each other throughout the film. We didn't let the success of the first film get to our heads. That's why we worked harder on the sequel.
Q. You always surprise the audience with different kind of roles...
A. (cuts in) yes, of course. People like surprises and I love them too. No one likes shock. (laughs) I like surprising the audience and feel that you have to talent to dabble with different kind of roles, then why not use them? I think I will do much more in the years to come.
Q. Did you always expect your web-series Inside Edge to perform so well?
A. I expected it because it's India's first original series and I have never put my career or reputation at stake for something which is a new concept and which won't work. It went global and people from Trinidad, Kenya and others too liked the story. The season two of Inside Edge is going to be even more better. It's currently in the scripting stage.
'I Don't Have The Patience To Direct A Film'
Q. You have already ventured into production. Now, do you have any plans to direct a film?
A. No, I will never direct a film. I can't dabble with all the aspects of film-making. I can produce and write a film. But, I don't have the patience to direct a film.
Q. You did a short cameo in Anil Kapoor's 24. Is a season 3 of that series on the cards and would we get to see you in it?
A. I have no idea. I don't think she will come back. I did that one episode because Anil Kapoor called me up and I agreed to do it.
Q. What is that one genre or space that you really wish to explore?
A. I want to do more comedies. Not like Bholi Punjaban. Maybe. something more like the middle class day-to-day normal comedy.
'I Don't Know Why People Think It's Fun To Watch A Woman Hurling Abuses'
Q. You have always playing strong characters on screen...
A. No, no it isn't like that. I have even played a victim. I was one in Masaan, in Sarbjit whatever the role was. It's just that people remember me as a strong person which becomes a problem...
Q. But why do you say that it's a problem?
A. I say that it's a problem because they have such baggage for an actress. Tomorrow if I want to play somebody who is meek and timid, the filmmakers can't shake off my image from their head or let go the image of certain characters I;ve played, like that of Bholi Punjaban from their head. I will still do it but experimentation becomes a little difficult I remember I had gone to promote a film and they were asking me to mouth a dialogue of Bholi. I don't know why people think it's fun to see a woman hurling abuses.
Q. Do you get approached for cameos or small roles in big-budgeted films?
A. I do get approached and I turn them down unless I make a big mistake.
'All I Needed To Do Was To Wear A Sexy Skirt...'
Q. How difficult was it for you to shed the baggage after doing Gangs Of Wasseypur and playing Nawazuddin Siddiqui's mother in it?
A. I didn't really have to put in much effort to shed that image. All I needed to do was to wear a sexy skirt, walk about in it, and show everyone how I look and how Nawazuddin (who played her son in Gangs) looks and there's no way I could ever look like his mother in real-life. That made people realize that I'd have to go back to my mother's time, to actually look like Nawaz's mom."