She’s barely made an entry into K town with the upcoming ‘Manathil Mayam Seithai’ (MMS). But Mollywood and Tollywood favourite, Richa Panai, has already made it into B Town with her first Hindi film. Strangely enough however, her Bollywood entry too has a South connection, being the Hindi remake of the Malayalam hit, ‘Traffic’. In a chat with CE, Richa talks about the K Town entry and being part of four industries.
For the Lucknow-born Richa, films have happened quite by chance, though it was a dream she nurtured. “I won the Ms Lucknow title after my 12 th Standard and decided to get into modelling. But I had no connections in showbiz. I was very naive and thought offers would come pouring in after the pageant! So I was heartbroken when that didn’t happen,” she says with a laugh.
After a correspondence degree from Delhi University, she decided to move to Mumbai to try her luck. She chuckles, “I became an air hostess with Kingfisher, hoping that I would meet some film people and get an inroad into cinema. Of course, it doesn’t work that way but I was too naive at that time!” But a Bangalore agency did contact her and her modelling career kicked off in the South. And that led her into the film industry eventually. “People are grateful to their first film director, but I am grateful to Jabbar Kalarakkal who gave me my first ad film. I wouldn’t have got noticed for cinema if it weren’t for those ads,” says a grateful Richa, who incidentally met Jabbar during one of her flights.
In two years, she’s been part of six films in Malayalam and Telugu and now she’s entering Kollywood with ‘Manathil Mayam Seithai’ opposite Sethu. She says, “I’m very excited to be part of Kollywood. After all, Rajinikanth is from here! In MMS, I play a girl who meets the hero, while learning guitar. It’s a lovely romantic story with added thrills and I’m looking forward to the audience reaction here!”
Meanwhile, Richa has started shooting for her first Hindi flick, to be directed by Rajesh Pillai, who directed the original in Malayalam. She shares the screen with Parambrata, Jimmy Shergill, Divya Dutta, Manoj Bajpai and Nikita. “The film is produced by Endemol and to be distributed by Fox Star,” concludes Richa.