Anurag Kashyap’s cult classic Gangs Of Wasseypur opened today in theatres nine years ago. After being screened at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight as more than a five-hour long feature, becoming one of the only Hindi films to achieve that, it was broken into two parts for the Hindi theatres, as no one was ready to run it as a 319 minutes film. The first part was released on June 22, 2012, followed by the second part one-and-a-half months later on August 8.
The film, featuring an ensemble cast of Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadha, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Piyush Mishra, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Huma Qureshi, had its story centred on the coal mafia of Dhanbad, and the underlying power struggles, politics and vengeance between three crime families from 1941 to the mid-1990s. Upon release no one could predict how the film would perform, considering the complex premise and the physical and verbal violence in it, but it got great critical reviews and had a modest run at the box office. Over the years it attained a cult status and became a fan favourite.
On the occasion of its ninth anniversary, Richa recalls her time on the film, and she admits that it wasn’t as great when she thinks about it. “To be honest, Gangs of Wasseypur was a very tough film to do and it was a tough time personally as well for me. It wasn’t a set where we had a lot of fun as we were a bunch of youngsters working with much older and senior actors like Manoj, Piyush Bhai and even Nawaz. They were all very experienced actors and I remember being very intimidated on the set, very worried all the time about whether I would get the performance right,” she shares.
Richa played Manoj’s first wife in the film and a mother of four sons, a character much older than her in real life, and in retrospect she isn’t too content with her choice. “Now I look at that phase wistfully because I was so young then and I took a huge risk doing that film. It took me about seven years to climb my way out of that hole where people wouldn’t think I was way older than what I really was. Looking back, I really feel grateful, but it was a mixed blessing and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to take such a huge risk at the beginning of their career now,” she asserts.
Recently, Richa also celebrated eight years of another one of her breakthrough performances, Fukrey, also featuring Pulkit Samrat, Varun Sharma, Ali Fazal and Manjot Singh. It was there that she met the love of her life, Ali, and she has all good memories associated with that film. “When I think of Fukrey, I think of all the fun times. I made some very good friends on that set and I have a great working relationship with Excel. They really do take care of their talents and I met Ali in that film too, so it brings back a lot of great memories,” she concludes.
Image source: SpotboyE archives, IMDb, Instagram/therichachadha