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Richa Chadha On Jia Aur Jia, Female Road Trip Films and Typecasting In Bollywood

In an interaction with News18.com, Bollywood actor Richa Chadha talks about her upcoming film Jia Aur Jia, female road trips films and typecasting in Bollywood.

Kriti Tulsiani | News18.com@sleepingpsyche2

Updated:October 26, 2017, 12:16 PM IST
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In an industry wherein films like Dil Chahta Hai and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara have set benchmarks for road trips, it’s surprising to see that projects on all-women road trips are still not a common sight in Bollywood. Perhaps this is why Howard Rosemeyer’s Jia Aur Jia, co-starring Richa Chadha and Kalki Koechlin, has piqued up curiosity.

“This is the first film where women are taking a road trip. I think the way people see women in general, they think ki paise nahi kamaayegi, so how will she travel? But the truth is that women do take trips together, they also travel for their bachelorettes now,” she says while interacting with News18.com.

On being asked why it took so long for Bollywood to finally churn out a film like this, she explains, “I don’t think filmmakers can understand girls. Honestly, girls just want to have fun, they want to take trips together. And it’s different when it’s just women and that’s something that Bollywood or any other industry has to understand. If we look at Hollywood for instance, they’ve had many such films. I’m just very confused ki aisa kyu hai."

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When asked if this is because of the subconscious fear in filmmakers and producers’ minds that female actors may not churn out big returns, Richa says, “I think the fear may be there but it’s an illogical fear. If the ratio of successful films in Bollywood is like 5-10%, then people should stop making male-dominated and male-oriented films. Those films are going to flop more if you’re going to consider ratio or statistics.”

“In fact, every film that has flopped has been a kind of male-dominated or a male-oriented one, then why are people making films with men in them. I think the argument that women can’t sell tickets is illogical,” she adds.

With more women-oriented films like Veere Di Wedding releasing in the coming months, one might sense a trend. But Richa hopes for this to be much more than just a mere pattern. “I really hope it’s not a trend – because trends come and go. I hope it’s something longer than a trend. I hope this becomes a genre of films,” she says.

“People have had to re-imagine how the films are to be done like small town middle-class drama is working right now. If something works, then people start making more and more of that,” she says adding to the fact that the middle-class is now re-emerging in Bollywood.

Richa made her debut with Dibakar Banerjee’s Oye Lucky Lucky Oye but tasted success only with Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur. When asked why one never sees her in a typical Bollywood heroine avatar, Richa quips, “If you debut with a Gangs of Wasseypur, then people tend to look at you in a certain way.”

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“I’ve no problem in playing the heroine or an anti-heroine, but if people have seen you in a particular way, then they can’t see you any other way. And I find this thing very ridiculous,” she adds.

She further states how Bollywood has a history of typecasting actors. “120 percent! There’s typecasting and stereotyping in Bollywood. If you look at the characters of men and women, some people are mostly playing the same characters, just different names. And sometimes in the 90s, they didn’t even change the name. They thought Prem hai toh Prem hi, Rahul was Rahul. So, if this is not stereotyping then I don’t know what is.”

Richa recently made her relationship with Victoria and Abdul actor Ali Fazal public. When asked why the two, despite being active on social media, kept it under wraps, Richa laughs and says that it’s their collective policy.

“We don’t deny it, we don’ discuss it, that’s our collective policy. Because people ask questions we don’t want to answer. It becomes a little difficult to live your own life in peace.”

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| Edited by: Kriti Tulsiani
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