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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Richa Chadha on Inside Edge 2: “Zarina Malik Wants Her Share of the Pie”

Richa Chadha is amongst the boldest and superlative actors in Bollywood. 

Be it Raseela Bhabhi from Ram-Leela or Bholi Punjaban in the Fukrey series, all of her roles are formidable with a hint of compassion and generosity.

To break-through into a cut-throat business like the entertainment industry is one mammoth of a task, but Richa has proved that she is here to stay. 

Richa’s Amazon Prime Original series Inside Edge was nominated for an Emmy and now, season 2 is here, which sees her character in a darker shade.

In an exclusive interaction with Filme Shilmy, Richa opens up on Inside Edge and what determines her to choose projects.

Inside Edge left on a dramatic and high note. What can we expect from Zarina Malik in season 2?

The character has really turned over a new leaf but not in a good way. This time she is tempted by greed and wants the power, her share of the pie.

One of the driving forces of this was how she was treated by Vikrant Dhawan (played by Viveik Oberoi) in the last series.

She wants to make sure that never happens again… She wants to become more like Bhai (played by Aamir Bashir).

From playing a utopian lawyer in Section 375 to a grey character in Inside Edge, how challenging is to constantly shift between characters?

It’s weird but I really enjoy being a part of all these different lives without having much baggage for it.

I only look at complicated parts where I can add a layer or two because I want to experiment continuously.

That is the benefit of not being a superstar with 500 crores liability so I want to make the most of it.

Working on OTT platforms is definitely more open as the medium itself allows scope for experimentation and there are no box-office pressures.

Plus, people try to do new things. It is fun and this is the time to do it.

Many of your roles seem to have a rough exterior with a soft heart. Is this a factor you consider before choosing a film?

I just want to continue to experiment and female filmmakers are now more open.

When I played an elder woman in Gangs Of Wasseypur, I got bracketed by it.

But when I see Taapsee and Bhumi doing films like Saand Ki Aankh, it shows that times really are changing and we can headline projects regardless of age or mediums.

Sometimes when an actor plays a part really well, some think they are that person.

The most asked question to me is “are you that Bholi Panjaban in real life?”

I take it as a compliment (without getting offended) because I’m not a narcotics dealer/pimp/organ marketer.

So it’s interesting to play such characters. My role choices are out-of-the-box because I guess I am too.

In fact, there are some films in my filmography that I’m not so proud of.

But as long as I challenge myself and keep doing different things, then I can keep myself happy.

Panga with Kangana is your next film and you’ve said that this will be quite different from other roles. Tell us a bit more?

I’m playing a sportsperson for the first time and it’s one of the greatest privileges as an actor to learn something new.

I got some of the best coaches in Kabaddi to train us and learn a new skill, as well as be able to work on a project with my mind and body.

Ashwiny is such an exciting filmmaker and Kangana is supremely talented.

The prominence of female directors telling women-oriented stories is a huge shift, regardless of whether people see it or not and it’s happened gradually.

In fact, a lot of actors who have now broken into the scene have come from the digital space.

Many actors are doing far better on the digital front than they would in films because movies work on a different eco-system.

You’ve always been vocal about the patriarchy and problematic issues regarding the film industry. What are the hopes of this changing?

There’s always that one person who expresses things in every generation… I don’t feel that special (laughs).

I guess I will continue to do it because that is who I am and I can afford to speak my mind without it becoming national news… So why not?

In today’s day and age, you can’t be apolitical. Whichever side you’re on, you will eventually get sucked into it.

At the same time, I have no issues with people who have views in comparison to mine because that’s what democracy is.

How far away are we from having content without the brackets or tags… Especially regarding gender?

With regards to the content being gender-neutral, I guess in the next couple of years people will stop referring movies as ‘male’ or ‘female’ centric.

I just find labels confusing as these will always make someone unhappy. I’m hoping things will only get better from here.

But having said that, let’s not get ahead of ourselves and expect a miracle because the truth is that the Indian film industry is working for a bunch of audiences that are very diverse.

We cannot ignore the fact that some of the content produced is to provide ‘escapist’ entertainment to people.

If we make peace with that, we will be okay.

Directed by Aakash Bhatia, Karan Anshuman, Gurmmeet Singh, it is executively produced by Farhan Akhtar & Ritesh Sidhwani.

Joining the cast lead cast in Season 2 are Aamir Bashir, Sapna Pabbi, and Markand Deshpande. 

Inside Edge 2 streams on Amazon Prime Video from 6th December.

Watch the Inside Edge 2 trailer here:


Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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