Richa Chadha’s next, ‘Sarbjit’, will see her essay the role of Sukhpreet, Sarabjit Singh’s wife. Although the actress has been seen in a variety of roles since her debut in 2008. In ‘Sarbjit’, she’ll be sharing the screen with Randeep Hooda and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a film based on real-life events. BizAsia‘s Amrita Tanna caught up with the actress to talk about the forthcoming film.
You�۪re only a few days away from the release of ��Sarbjit�۪. How do you feel?
I�۪m excited and nervous at the same time for this film. It�۪s a challenging part again and I don�۪t know what people expect from this film or from me. Everyone know�۪s the story, and they were kind of aware of what happened, and they know the end well sadly. So one has to entertain people whilst telling the story and that�۪s always a bit hard
Everyone indeed does know the story, however, for your own role, did you find that you had to do some more research?
Yes I did actually, I had to go into the psychology of a small village women in Punjab, and we being very cosmopolitan and not knowing any better, ��we wouldn�۪t understand that there�۪s a certain hierarchy, and how a woman is married into one. So I had to research those kind of things, and the fat that she wasn�۪t as outgoing and as educated as the sister�۪s role. She tends to be really handling the things going on behind the scenes. It was challenging.
Omung Kumar directed this film, do you feel that his vision for the film really helps take the story forward?
Yes, he was very precise in what he wanted and he showed us our path completely even with things like the costumes, as he had taken on a lot of the detail in the film. I think it helps the film to have someone who has a vision that precise, so that it has that blend of cinema and reality.
How would you describe your relationship with him on the sets?
On the sets, he�۪s definitely the boss, we all have to listen to him. We can give our own suggestions but he was very precise about what he wanted. He was very clear about what he wanted in each scene, and he was also clear about his edit points. That is something that also helped in the shooting. This is possibly the fastest film I�۪ve done.
Is there anything that you�۪ll really miss from the journey of making this film?
Well I miss Punjab, I really do. It�۪s a beautiful place, and this film really took me back to my roots in a sense. I�۪m from Amritsar, and we shot quite a bit of the film on the outskirts of it, and it took me back to some family that I have lost touch with. With the food, with the general culture and ambiance of it all, with the Golden Temple. It was very nostalgic and interesting for me to go back as an adult and movie star, to where I was born.
There was news that you had choreographed a few of the steps in one song in the film. Was that something that you had in your mind to do already?
No, it�۪s just because I�۪m Punjabi and just that the others are not. So it was just for fun, it�۪s wasn�۪t serious.
You’re sharing the screen with Randeep Hooda and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. What was your relationship like with them on the sets?
It was very fun despite being a serious film. Randeep and I have worked together before and I think I met him a few months back when he was doing a film and he was playing a really serious mood at the time. With Aishwarya I was really taken aback, as she was so down to earth and friendly. She really reached out and talked and it was really lovely to see that. She was almost guiding in a way, like going over the script once in a while as well as sharing anecdotes. ��It was very interesting to hang out with her.
There was a recent quote where you had said ��Sarbjit�۪ is essentially an Aishwarya Rai Bachchan film, what would make you say that?
Oh no, I didn�۪t say that, somebody asked me if I felt insecure about her having more of a central part, and I said no I read the script before I signed it, so I knew what I was getting into. Having said that, I�۪m happy to be working with her. I don�۪t really necessarily compete, in the sense that traditionally people think one should, especially when one is an actor with another female colleague. It�۪s so weird, when people come to you with what they�۪ve heard with twists and turns to what you�۪ve said and put word in your mouth. I mean how can one person do all the parts in a movie. If I were to go for the best parts of the movie then I would play Dalbir and Sarbjit and also Sukhpreet and I can�۪t do that, I can�۪t be in three places at the same time.
What would you say the film�۪s appeal is, not only to Indian audiences but to international audiences as well?
I think Omung is a very contemporary director, he has a vision which is not necessarily filmy, otherwise the film would have looked and felt very different. It;s a commercial film, so it�۪s going to be engaging. Having said that it�۪s not a light hearted film, it has moments of light-heartedness and bursts of life and how life is in a rural family, and they made me do some absurd things which I�۪ve never done. Being raised in Delhi and living in Mumbai, they made me make cow dung, it�۪s called ��Upla�۪. I�۪d make rotis and spinach from the spinach dens. I was so domesticated my mother would be proud of me.
You are about to venture into the production side of film-making.
Is this something you have always wanted to do?
I wouldn�۪t say I�۪m venturing into film production, that makes it sound so heavy and serious and that�۪s not exactly what I�۪m doing. What I am doing is, a friend of mine is making a beautiful short film, and he wanted help on it and as I was always helping him anyway I thought what if I just produce it and we can take care of the creatives together. We worked on so many suggestions for music and thinking of the setting. It�۪s a 40 minute Punjabi short-film, shot in a village outside Chandigarh. And it deals again with a very serious subject. The impact, of the milieu of the normal people, and things that happen, usually when people care about politics and violence they�۪re the ones that suffer the most. So we try to say that via the teenagers, because with the late 80�۪s-early 90�۪s, I was born in Punjab at that time and my family had to move out of Amritsar. So it�۪s something that�۪s very close to my heart, and it�۪s a honour to tell that story some how.
BizAsia thanks Richa Chadha for taking the time to speak with us.
‘Sarbijt’ releases on 20th May.