With a dreamy debut in Bollywood with Sudhir Mishra's Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi and her enchanting looks, Chitrangda Singh left us swooning over her acting skills as much as over her unconventional beauty. However soon, many hearts broke when she took a sabbatical from work for some personal reasons. However now, Chitrangda is back with a bang.
This time, she's more confident and in her words, 'more focused and in a happy space'.
Here's a snippet from our conversation with Chitrangda 2.0. Excerpts-
'Production Is Not Just About The Money'
Q. As an actor in front of the camera and now as the capacity of a producer in Soorma, which of the two roles do you find more challenging?
A. Hands down producer. (laughs) I have so much respect for producers after doing Soorma. It's not just about the money but I think it's about patience and the amount you want to believe in your project and take it through no matter what. It's challenging to handle and manage people. I never thought it would be so difficult. I think in the creative field more than anyone else, people come with certain opinions.To get the right kind of people on board for project is the most important thing. There's a whole list on things that I have learnt and is definitely more challenging.
'I Felt A Certain Amount Of Shame And Guilt'
Q. How did you decide to become a producer?
A. When I wasn't really doing much work during 2014-15 as I wasn't getting the kind of offers that I was looking for, I started working on two stories which I was writing at that point. I thought somebody would produce it. It was a very vague thing. When I met Sandeep Singh in December 2014 and heard his story, I wrote it down and met him couple of times. I realized how powerful the story was and how important it was to make it for a lot of reasons. I felt certain amount of shame and guilt that I don't know about this man at all. For me honestly, it was a little bit of anger. I have been around sportsmen who ain't cricketers and know how they are given step-treatment. So, I thought Soorma was a very important film to make. That's probably one of the reasons why I thought of becoming a producer with this film. I think I have to give full credit to this film and story that I became a producer.
Q. What about those two stories which you were writing back then? Do you have plans to act in them?
A. At that point, I was writing those two scripts thinking that I would act in them. Those are the characters which I would love to play on screen. One was the love story and the other was a thriller. We have locked the screenplay and dialogues for one. The work is going on the other one. Things were put on a backburner after I met Sandeep Singh. Soorma became a far more powerful story than anything that I was even thinking of.
'I Chose Not To Work Instead Of Doing Something Which I Wouldn't Be Proud Of'
Q. You have been very selective about the films that you take up. However these days, visibility matters a lot in showbiz. Do you think there's a flip side to you being so choosy about your films?
A. You mean to say you get forgotten (laughs). I have taken big breaks in between. There was four and a half years first time and then two and half years the other time. But I have realized that if you are doing good work, people don't forget you that easily, if they have liked what you have done and you have left some kind of a mark. I have so thankful to the audience and the industry that they have not completely forgotten me. If you do good work, you remain relevant. It's not important that you have to keep doing something or the other to remain relevant. That's my take. I wasn't really getting the offers that I was looking for or the kind of people I wanted to work with at that point. So, I just chose not to work instead of doing the kind of work I wouldn't be proud of.
'Women Introspect All The Time'
Q. Looking back at your journey so far, do you ever feel that perhaps you should have done more commercial mainstream films or you are just happy with how things have panned out for you so far?
A. Women introspect all the time. (laughs) I was going through certain professional and personal issues at that point. I wasn't doing such a good job of handling both things. I chose what I needed to. I think that's why the professional bit took a little bit of a backseat. But that was the best that I could do at that point. I don't think I was this superwoman who could do everything. So, I really don't have any regrets as such because I don't think I had a choice.
I am that kind of person who needs to be feeling at peace and settled inside on my personal space to be able to concentrate on other things that I have to do professional. Acting is a very demanding career. It isn't not something where you just walk around. It's very important to remain focused and be there at the right time when something comes your way. I do know I have missed on a couple of things when I wasn't here. So, I know some people were looking for me and reached out to me at that point. I cannot reveal much about them now but there were these two very big important films that I could have been a part of at that time.
Q. You said that it's more important for you to be feeling at peace inside. How did you manage to achieve that?
A. I was going through certain situations in my personal space at that point. You have to handle things as you go. It takes time for you to come in terms with those things and be a stronger person. It takes a while for you to change your priorities in life. Especially when it comes to me. There are a lot of people who are very blessed to be very focused on their profession and remain very driven which is great. However it takes some time for you to make that kind of a switch if you are not instinctively that kind of a person.
Q. You have a very good work equation with Sudhir Mishra and have acted in three of his films. In future, have you thought of asking him to direct one of your films as a producer?
A. He's somebody whom I respect immensely. He's the reason why I am here. I would be more than happy to. But I would be so nervous to approach him as a producer because he's who is. I respect him so much. If there is one thing which I could wish we could put together again would be Meherunnisa. It's a film that Sudhir has been wanting to make for such a long time. I worked on my character in that film so much. If God willing, that's a miracle I would wish for.
Q. Now that you have become a producer, any chances of you directing a film?
A. Hahaa, I will freaking die if I direct and produce. No ya, that's too far. I am not saying there's an age for you to start directing. People as young as 20 year old are directing. But I think you just need to feel ready for it. It will be just natural if it happens to me.
'If You Have A Good Story, It's Half The Battle Won'
Q. With Soorma, you have joined the likes of Anushka Sharma, Priyanka Chopra, Dia Mirza as actresses who have turned producers. But as your first film, you have chosen a very intense subject. Did this thought never cross your mind that maybe I should do this later and make my production debut with a more commercial film?
A. I think a good story is the mantra for success. It's not like if you make commercial films or love stories or just add an item song, then it will become a success. A good story is like a gem these days. If you have that, it's half the battle won.
'Sanjay Dutt Is The Kindest & Nicest Person That I Have Met In This Industry'
Q. You are working with Sanjay Dutt in Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 3. How has that experience been for you?
A. It's been lovely. It's been so joyous to work with him. He's the kindest and nicest person that I have met in this industry. I have been a fan of Sanju. When you are in the industry, you hear stories about him of how he was when he was growing up and then you get to work with this man. He's a very quiet person. But there's this aura about him. When I started working with him, I realized he is such like a child. There's a purity about him.