Richa Chadda’s all set to take over the reins of her dead husband’s empire in Gangs Of Wasseypur 2.
The film’s encouraging opening has encouraged the film’s producers, Viacom 18 and Sunil Bohra, to plan the release of the sequel where the character played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui takes over his father’s crime empire in Wasseypur.
But it’s the widow of Sultan (played by Manoj Bajpai), played by Richa, who will shock audiences. A sneak peek into the sequel reveals that Bajpai’s fiery wife from the first part plays a 45 year-old successor to the empire. Richa’s character ages further in the film, and she will also play a feisty 80 year-old matriarch as the film progresses.
Richa’s role has distinct shades of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth.
For 26 year-old Richa, the challenge of playing a woman who goes from 18 to 45 to an 80 year-old character was quite daunting.
Recalls the actor, “We were shooting in Uttar Pradesh and I had to go from playing an 18 year-old, to a 45 year-old without a pause, because we shot the entire film at one go. If I had time, I would’ve prepared for the part and put on some weight to pull off an ageing woman’s role. But there was no time to make a smoother transition.”
Richa had to rely on prosthetics to add bulk to her midriff and wrinkles to her face. To play an 80 year-old, Richa observed her grandmother. “My naani lives with me in Delhi. I aped her body language and mannerisms.”
Richa’s transformation into a fiery, rural wife of a gangster in Wasseypur has earned her new respect in Bollywood. “I’ve been in Mumbai and in the Hindi film industry for about six years but no one paid any attention to me. I was dismissed as a model and an airhead from Delhi. People patronised me by speaking to me in Hindi, as if I couldn’t follow English. I am a product of St Stephen’s College, but was treated like a nobody. I started my film career five years ago with a role in Dibakar Bannerjee’s Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye. I went on the sets with a jar of cream and a tube of Vaseline. I thought that was all the makeup I’d need,” she says.
Richa’s next release after Gangs Of Wasseypur 2 will be Tamanche, a Bonnie & Clyde-style crime caper about a pair of 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 ladki who has to be spoken to in Hindi. I am fine with the rashtra bhasha. But I’ve no problems being as ‘cool’ as other Bollywood actors — if speaking in fluent English is how cool is defined here, that is.”