Tuesday January 22, 2019

Actress Richa Chadha Speaks Upon Patriarchal Society

Richa said she is soaking in the environment, which is getting translated into her performance

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Richa Chadha
Richa Chadha, Wikimedia Commons

Actress Richa Chadha, who essays south Indian film actress Shakeela in a biopic of that name, says being disrespectful towards any successful adult film star and tagging her as a “porn star” is a sign of a hypocritical and patriarchal society.

“Calling an adult (film) star a porn star is a sign of patriarchy. You are disrespecting an actress (Shakeela in this case) who is part of films that are adult in theme. And then you are watching them so much that those films are making huge money. What kind of hypocrisy is that,” Richa Chadha told IANS in an interview on the set of the biopic “Shakeela” here.

Highlighting the “duplicity of the morality of our society”, she said: “Adult films are made because there is a market for them… It is really easy to call successful, self-made woman names in a patriarchal society.”

Directed by Indrajit Lankesh, the logo of “Shakeela” was launched a few days ago. The film’s tagline reads ‘Not A Porn Star’. So, is it a way of conveying to the audience a perspective on the story of Shakeela?

“See, there is no point of fighting about what people said about her at the peak of her career. People watched her films and called her a porn star, which she was not. In the film, we are unveiling the story of an actress and the unexplored side of her journey. Then let the people decide if she really deserved the tag she had to bear,” Richa said.

An outspoken and forthright actress, Richa Chadha has been vocal about the #MeToo movement as well. She says she feels privileged that, from the beginning of her career, she never had to deal with any sexual predator.

“I am really fortunate, in all the opportunities that came my way, of not having to deal with these regular predators who are making the work environment worse for women. But I want to say that I know almost all women somewhere or the other have faced some moments of awkwardness in their life — be it an inappropriate text, uncomfortable touch, some eyes gazing at them… It all happens to us at the workplace.”

Richa Chadha
Richa Chadha. Flickr

Such practices have also led to some good talent being lost. But Richa says not anymore.

“We lost a lot of them in the last few years, but now that women are opening up and standing up against such discrimination, the future looks bright where new talent will come and flourish without feeling uncomfortable at the workplace,” she said.

As for “Shakeela”, Richa was happy about being able to give select media a glimpse into the set of the movie. A fragment of Kerala has been recreated for the film set here to shoot a marriage sequence with utmost detailing to capture the nuances of Malayali culture.

Richa said she is soaking in the environment, which is getting translated into her performance.

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“One of the reasons why we wanted some media to come here on the set is because of the beauty of this place… It is calm, quiet and a colourful slice of the southland. This is a set we have built to show how a south Indian marriage looks like. The mandap, decoration with flowers and every authentic element of a Malayali marriage gives us a chance to soak in their culture.

“For years, we are widely exposed to north Indian culture through Bollywood films. But with this biopic, I am hoping that a large Indian audience will get to experience the beautiful south Indian culture,” said the “Masaan” actress. (IANS)

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Actress Richa Chadha Looks at The #MeToo Movement Positively

The promotional calendar, featuring Richa in 12 avatars, is themed on the 1990s' pulp films

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Richa Chadha
Instead of trial by media, it should be trial by law: Richa Chadha on #MeToo. Flickr

Actress Richa Chadha, who is proud to portray a brave character like Shakeela on the big screen, looks at the #MeToo movement positively. She believes the movement should have a trial by law that can bring the truth to the fore.

The most recent name to have emerged in the #MeToo wave is that of filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, who has been accused of sexual harassment by a woman assistant.

On her opinion on the movement, Richa Chadha told the media here: “I am happy that this movement took place and it is important to the cause of it. However, I feel that instead of the #MeToo movement being more about trial by media, it should be more trial by law, which is what will bring the truth to the cause.

“Instead of rumours, I feel it’s more important to understand the actual cases and bring justice to them.”

The actress was present along with “Shakeela” director Indrajit Lankesh for the launch of a quirky calendar here on Thursday night.

Richa
Richa Chadha at an event, IANS

The film is based on the life of bold south Indian actress Shakeela who gained popularity in the 1990s by acting in Telugu and Malayalam films.

Richa said: “When I first heard the story and when Indrajit told me about the script, I was amazed to know how cinematic her life is. She is an unapologetic person who never apologized for her choices. She empowered herself and did things in a business which was largely male-dominated back then.

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“‘Shakeela’ is a story deserving to be told. I am fascinated by her and her story. We talk about issues like women empowerment, gender discrimination and #MeToo today. Shakeela has seen and witnessed this years ago. And she bravely stood up for each of these things during her time which was way early in those days. And she has lived an unapologetic life. Her career choices was always about why should I be ashamed to do my work.”

The promotional calendar, featuring Richa in 12 avatars, is themed on the 1990s’ pulp films.

Richa Chadha said: “The idea of the calendar was to create something that was tongue-in-cheek and equally funny. It is a homage to those pulp films of the 1990s. These posters have been intricately thought through with the intention of invoking a funny reaction from the audiences. I hope people get the humour in all of this. It’s a fun concept and the calendar is something that works well for the film.” (IANS)