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    Feb 2010


    Default Presenting Richa "Gangs Of Wasseypur" Chadda, in a fiery and no-holds-barred interview

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    Richa Chadda is all set to take over the reins of her dead husband’s empire in Gangs Of Wasseypur 2.

    The film’s encouraging opening has galvanized the film’s producers Viacom 18 and Sunil Bohra to plan the release of the second part of the Wasseypur saga where the character played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui takes over his father’s crime empire in Wasseypur.

    But it’s Manoj Bajpai’s character Sultan’s widow played by Richa Chadda who will shock and surprise audiences. A sneak-peek in part 2 of Wasseypur reveals that Manoj Bajpai’s fiery wife from the first part transforms into an aging 45-year old power behind the throne. Then she finally shifts gears to play an old but still fiery and feisty 80-year old matriarch lording over a crime syndicate.

    Richa’s role has distinct shades of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth.

    For the 26-year old Richa the challenge of playing a woman who goes from 17 to 45 to an 80-year old woman was daunting, to begin with.

    Recalls the actress, “We were shooting on location in Uttar Pradesh and I had to go from age 18-22 straight to age 45 in the second part without a pause because there was no division between part 1 and 2. We shot the entire film at one go. If I had time I would’ve prepared for the part, put on weight to carry off the aging women’s role and make the transition into an 80-year old woman easier for myself. But there was no time to make the transition smoothly.”

    Instead of putting on weight Richa had to rely on prosthetics to add bulk to her midriff and wrinkles to her face. As for the dying moments of the film when she becomes an 80-year old woman, Richa referred to her grandmother. “My naani who is from Patna lives in Delhi with us. I borrowed a lot of my body language and speaking mannerisms from her. I had not been to Bihar or Wasseypur for a very long time. So the accent and the body language all had to come from observances rather than any ingrained knowledge of how a woman from that area would behave.”

    Apart from huge age spectrum from 18 to 80 that the two parts of the Wasseypur saga cover for her, what specially fascinates Richa is the way the voice-level changes for the character. “In the first part when she’s just Sultan’s wife asserting herself she screams and rants all over the place to make herself heard. In part 2 when she takes control of her husband’s empire her voice-level drops. With power comes a sense of self confidence. My character now talks very softly and still everyone listens and obeys her.”

    Richa’s transformation into a fiery rural wife of a gangster in Wasseypur has earned her a new respect in Bollywood. “I’ve been in Mumbai and the Hindi film industry for close to six years. No one paid any attention to me. I was just dismissed as a model-type of airhead from Delhi, and worse. Since I was from Delhi everyone would patronize me by trying to speak to me in Hindi, as if I couldn’t follow English. That really infuriated me. The Mumbai entertainment industry presumed things about me. I am actually a product of St Stephens College. But I was treated like a vernacular nobody. Hota hai. Now I’ve the same people coming to me with a new respect and no condescension. So I am happy. The journey has been long but finally fulfilling. I started my film career five years ago with a bit role in Dibakar Bannerjee’s Oye lucky Lucky Oye. I remember I had gone on the sets with one jar of Charmis cream and one tube of Vaseline. I thought that was all the makeup I’d need. I still think makeup is not important for a performance.”

    Part 1 of the Wasseypur saga showed Richa being curiously accepting of her over-libididous husband’s sexual transgressions.

    Explains the actress, “I was given no justification for the way he responds to her husband’s womanizing. But I figured on my own that she comes from a Muslim family and knows that men can have four wives. So the wife, I felt, would rather see her husband do his thing on the side with her knowledge rather than secretly. It’s like Bollywood’s star wives. They apparently tell their husbands,‘Do what you like outside the house. But don’t bring your diversions home.’

    Richa’s next release after Gangs Of Wasseypur 2 would be Tamanche, a Bonnie & Clyde kind of crime caper about a pair of male and female criminals on the run.

    Says Richa, “I’d like to think Wasseypur is a new beginning for my career. I don’t want to be perceived as this Delhi ki ladkii who has to be spoken to in Hindi. I am fine with the rashtra bhasha. But I’ve no problems being as cool as the Bollywood actresses. If speaking in fluent English is how cool is defined here.”



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