Richa Chadda Wants To Go Back To France To Meet Her Lover

The actress opens up about her newfound French love, her upcoming drama Masaan and why she's not worried about competing with Alia, Shraddha & Co

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Richa Chadda Wants To Go Back To France To Meet Her Lover
Masaan is dark and eerie, an intense story set in a small-town about people grappling with loss. What drew you towards it?
Team Masaan (smiles). Neeraj (Ghaywan, director) was the continuity supervisor on Gangs of Wasseypur, Vicky (Kaushal, lead actor) was an Assistant Director on GOW while Varun (Grover, who's co-written the screenplay of Masaan) wrote the lyrics. Moreover, I see Masaan as a very optimistic film. You may call it dark and eerie.

masaan movie poster

Is there a difference between the Indian theatrical release and the Cannes version?

Yes, there are an additional nine minutes in the Indian cut. We didn't show that at Cannes because those portions would have been lost in translation.

Since it isn't your run-of-the-mill masala entertainer, how would you sell the idea of Masaan to the average moviegoer?
The film explores the friction between the established order and the present youth which wants to break away from the shackles of caste and class even as the patriarchal society furiously hinges on to it. My character is that of Devi, who has an independent streak, is educated, has access to the Internet and isn't afraid to do what she thinks is right. How that collides with the older generation is something that the film deals with through mine and Vicky's character.

You are 5 films old and all of them are fairly niche compared to what other actors of your age are doing. Do you ever feel the need to ape an Alia/ Shraddha/ Anushka?
That's the perception I carry, yes. But wasn't Ram Leela a mainstream film? Okay, so my track wasn't noticed maybe because it didn't have romance. Having said that, all the actors you mentioned are experimenting with non-mainstream stuff. Shraddha did a Haider and Alia did a Highway. Dabbling in different genres is a trend these days. Deepika did a Piku and Anushka did a NH 10!

So do you think you could also perhaps dabble and act in a complete mainstream drama?
Yes, I do feel the need to do more commercial stuff and so my next film, Cabaret, is a completely commercial entertainer! It is song-and-dance with an element of thrill what the Bhatts are known for. So I am fully aware that if I do more and more commercial stuff, it will get easier for someone like a Neeraj to get funding when he makes a film with me.

Are there enough people in the industry to guide you in the right direction or there are more detractors who warn you against doing a film like Masaan?
There are enough people out there to pull you down. They say oh, you just did a dark drama, why do you want to do another that will put you back by 2 years! But I don't take them seriously and eventually do my own thing (smiles).

While being a niche actress has its own perks, do you also have to make peace with the fact- and it may not be a bad thing at all- that you don't get to make money by dancing at weddings, ribbon-cutting events and the likes? They usually prefer the conventionally glamorous heroines...
Oh, absolutely! I definitely lose out on that aspect of being a movie star but it doesn't bother me so much. A lot of time they ask me which are some of my songs they can play at weddings where I could perform, and I am just like, uh, maybe not! I am very patient as a person and I believe everything in life comes at the right time.

But considering the painfully small shelf-life of a Hindi film heroine....
(Interrupts) Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better filmography. To work with someone like Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who are respected all over the world, is quite good actually.

It also must feel good to go to Cannes strictly on the merit of your film unlike some stars who show up there only because of a beauty brand they endorse
They are doing their job and I am doing mine. So I am not really bothered. Fashion is a big part of the festival and you can't take that away from Cannes.

From what we hear, you have finally found your man - the famous French actor-director Franck Gastambide...
(Smiles) I knew this was coming! But you see my romance is difficult because it is continents away! It isn't different cities or states, but countries altogether. Frank is extremely sweet and when I met him for the first time at dinner, I didn't know he was somebody famous.

french actor director franck gastambide

How did you two hit it off?
He was sitting across the table and since we are not so clued into the local French industry, I didn't quite know he was a biggie as such. We just chatted for a bit and instantly hit it off! Ever since I have come back, I have been busy. I'd love to go back to France to meet him but Masaan is round the corner.

Are you enjoying the dating phase? What are some things that bring the both of you together since there may be some cultural differences and 'lost-in-translation' moments?
He is an actor-director and a comedian. But that's not what brought us together. He also works as an animal-trainer and I am a big, big animal-lover. Like you pointed out we do have a big language barrier. Let's see where this goes! (Smiles)
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