Richa wins outstanding achievement award at LIFF in London

By Smita Sarkar

Smita Sarkar

Richa Chadha has won the outstanding achievement award for Tabreez Noorani’s film on human trafficking and slavery, Love Sonia at the Bagri London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) this year.

The opening film for LIFF, Love Sonia screened to packed audiences at Cineworld, Leicester Square where the film was received very well with a full house of distinguished guests and film lovers from all across the globe.

Speaking to at the red carpet of LIFF, Richa praised Cary Sawhney, the festival Director at LIFF, for the credibility he has earned over the years, for promoting independent cinema.

“These are films that don’t find a very wide audience in India, so festivals like this generate awareness that helps these films do well back home as well. And we do not have festivals for independent films,” she said.

“It’s (making independent films) a masochistic job. You lose your savings, you don’t find the fame and adulation that commercial actors do. But I find great satisfaction in doing cinema that appeals and moves me, so I try to balance (commercial and independent film) my projects,” she said.

“The benefit of festivals like this is that people understand that there are diverse voices in India. It is not just one monolith of Bollywood with songs and dances.“

Love Sonia, where she plays the part of a prostitute, was a heavy film. While many people were moved to tears watching Sonia’s (played by Mrunal Thakur) plight as a sex slave, Richa’s was a pivotal role as she provides the escape route that Sonia needed.

After the screening of the film, Richa appealed to not turn a deaf ear to the woes of the nearly 500,000 young girls caught up in similar situations in India. She said she was working closely with organisations to help such girls.

Richa is known for her critically-acclaimed roles, but the comedy genre is something she is naturally comfortable with. She grabbed the spotlight with her first film, a comedy Oye Lucky Lucky Oye. The project she just completed and is very gung-ho about is also a comedy, Abhi To Party Shuru Hui Hain.

Her next film is a biopic Shakeela, on a Southern adult-actress who despite being ostracised was a phenomenon in the South Indian film industry for many years. She has also signed on for a court-room drama 375, based on the Rape clause of the Indian Penal Code.

Richa made her debut in a leading role with Masaan, playing a girl caught indulging in casual sex. Her performance got her a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015. She bagged the Filmfare Award in 2012 for her role as the foul-tongued wife of a gangster in Gangs of Wasseypur.

But what kind of roles does she really like doing? Richa enthusiastically answered “I like roles that I can really bite into. I don’t like crappy side roles.”

And what would she like to try her hands on apart from acting? “Stand-up comedies,” came the quick response.

“I did try some stand-up comedies and the experience was very enjoyable. Good filmmakers in London, please cast me so that I can keep coming back. I am having so much fun here. This seems to be a country where people get my jokes,” laughed Richa.

Richa is an extremely talented and grounded actor with a natural streak of good humour. She has an intelligent aura that makes her a delight to watch both on-screen and chat off it. I hope filmmakers give her roles to work in the UK so we get to have more of this charismatic and versatile actor in London!