In Conversation with Richa Chadda: On Masaan and More

For a person who regaled us with her performance in her debut film (Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye) and kept enthralling us with each of her performance since, Masaan’s success is just another feather in Richa Chadda’s already crowded Cap!

On behalf of MAM I had a chat with her recently about the film, her journey and what can we expect from her from here on.

Masaan Character-DeviThe audience and Critics have loved Masaan. Everybody is heaping praise on the film. I’m sure you must be flushed with excitement after the release?

It is great that people have loved the movie so much. We did not, after all, set out to make a film for festivals. It was made for the audience and they have loved it. Feels very good to hear such good things from them, all the critical acclaim and online reviews have been heartening 🙂

How did Masaan happen? How did you get to be a part of it? 

Surprising as it may sound, actually the role was written for me. Neeraj had kept me in mind when he wrote the character of Devi. We hit it off very well during Gangs Of Wasseypur and when he came to me with the script, I immediately agreed. I liked the script and I believed in Neeraj as a writer / director. I was on, just like that.  

What made the story / script click for you? 

I loved my part. Devi is a beautifully written character. She is a very rooted, layered character. I instantly took a liking and said yes.

What went into your preparation for the role?

Neeraj had done most of the work for me. He explained the character very well to me. I understood the character’s role, motivation, point of view and developed a sense of how to go about portraying Devi. Neeraj also asked me to watch certain films to understand the mood and setting.  

How different was Devi from the other characters you have played so far?

This role was written for me. So, that made a lot of difference. Also, the earlier roles that I have essayed have been brash, outspoken and bold. Devi is very subdued. Though she is modern, she is restrained due to her setting and situations. She is a small town girl who goes through a lot in her life. She is facing a moral dilemma and how she deals with the crisis forms the crux of the story.

Does playing a small town girl come easily to you?

I find it very funny when people ask me that question, you know? You belong to this country and you play the part of a girl from a particular region of the country.Yes, I have done a Gangs Of Wasseypur before, where the setting were similar, but that does not mean that I have always or will continue to play the same character.

Sure. I understand the frustration.

I try to bring a certain distinctiveness to each role. So, it does feel bad when you get slotted.

Hhmm… Coming back to Masan, do share any incident / anecdote that you fondly remember.

It was not an easy film. It is not a candy floss film. So, there were very little “happy” moments apart from being satisfied with the shots you give. There were a lot of uneasy moments in the film for the character.

Considering that Devi goes through a lot in the film, did you want to lash out like your earlier characters would have?

No, never. I was performing as per the script. Devi is not a Bholi Punjaban (Fukrey) or Dolly (OLLO). I never carry any baggage from my earlier films. I’m different from the roles that I have essayed in the past. The typecasting does not help 🙂 

Masaan-Richa ChaddaWell, all that must be worth now, as the movie is getting the kind of response it deserves?

Yes, absolutely.

Now, tell us something about your short film with Mira Nair (Words with Gods).

It is a part of an anthology film (Heartbeat of the World). Ours is one of the stories. The movie also has some very big international film personalities associated with it. It was a short, sweet experience. Working with Mira Nair was a dream and it has turned out well.. Now, let’s see when we get to see the film release in India. 

Looking forward to it.  What have you been up to lately? What is next on your radar?

Oh, there is a lot to look forward to. I have several films coming up. There is Ghoomketu with Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jia aur Jia with Kalki Koechlin and a couple of other films too.

So, there is a lot to look forward to for us. Wish you all the very best. Do take a break to bask in the success of Masaan. It is very well deserved 🙂

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