Richa Chadda, who is playing the titular role in Indrajit Lankesh’s biopic on Shakeela, is currently shooting in Bengaluru. The actor says she didn’t think twice when she was offered the role of the adult film star. “I usually go by the script. When I met Indrajit, I found the subject of the film inspiring and the script was written creatively. Incidentally, I had also wanted to make a film on similar lines. Taking up such a film means shouldering much responsibility,” she tells us.
Lesser known side to Shakeela
“Few know that Shakeela is a survivor. There are so many dramatic and life-changing incidents that she has gone through. We’ve woven in her personal life which has affected her professional life in the story,” says Richa, adding that the film will have many revelations. “Shakeela’s life has been very bizarre. We see many who take to alcohol and drugs because of personal or professional failures. But through all the turmoil, she kept her spirits up. And that’s the side of her that will be revealed in her film.” Richa affirms that the film does not glorify Shakeela, nor does it sugarcoat the truth. “The film presents a balanced viewpoint. All actors are prisoners of their image. I have been trapped in the image of a bold and gutsy girl. No one knows my other side. Life as an actor is not all about acting.”
Conversations with Shakeela
“I had a long conversation with Shakeela before I felt ready to face the camera. I didn’t treat the meetings as interviews or interrogations. The first time I met her, it was formal, but by the second time we had broken the ice. We talked about life, boyfriends, food and everything under the sun. I just observed everything about her.” Richa discovered that their backgrounds were quite different. “I am a middle class girl, who grew up in a family with four brothers. My upbringing was very different from her’s, which was a liberated one. But at the same time, she is very religious.”
Attempt to reach a pan-Indian audience
“I am glad to be taking the culture of Kerala to a pan-Indian audience. I did Gangs of Wasseypur, which was set in Bihar. If a story is strong, it can work anywhere,” concludes the actor.