Richa Chadha wants to turn pro­ducer, screen­play writer

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Nishad Nee­lam­baran

With two Academy Awards, one BAFTA, one Golden Globe, one Grammy and six Na­tional Awards, mu­si­cian AR Rah­man is a global icon. Known for the way he blends western and In­dian in­stru­ments, Rah­man has gifted us an un­end­ing playlist of soul­ful melodies — Roja (1992), Bom­bay (1995), Dil Se… (1998), Rang De Bas­anti (2006), Rock­star (2011) — in a ca­reer span­ning over two decades. In an in­ter­view, the Mozart of Madras talks about Bollywood mu­sic, the trend of remixes, fu­ture projects, and more. Ex­cerpts:

In re­cent years, we haven’t seen much of you in the Hindi film in­dus­try. Was it a con­scious de­ci­sion to stay away?

I was con­cen­trat­ing on my movie, 99 Songs, which is yet to re­lease and Dil Bechara, which

is sup­posed to come out. I was also do­ing Tamil movies. My time was di­vided be­tween my pro­duc­tions, build­ing a stu­dio, and spend­ing time with my kids and nur­tur­ing them into mu­si­cians. That re­quired a lot of at­ten­tion and a lot of time. And now, they are al­most on track (laughs). You have to play all the roles. I am sat­is­fied with the time I have spent with them.

How has the dig­i­tal wave changed the rules of the mu­sic in­dus­try? There are no gate­keep­ers any­more. Any kid who is do­ing well can be dis­cov­ered now. No one can say, ‘Oh, He is performing well but no­body is pro­mot­ing him’. But of course, big play­ers limit the scale of con­tent into very small cat­e­gories. If some­thing works, they think this is what we need. For in­stance, if you think a dish is very good and let’s have this for breakfast, lunch and din­ner, it be­comes bor­ing (laughs).

Remixes are rul­ing Bollywood. A few of your com­po­si­tions were also recre­ated. Are you happy with any of them?

The one which I was happy with was The Humma Song (Ok Jaanu; 2017) as it helped the movie. How­ever, af­ter that I didn’t like any of them. Some of them are re­ally dis­as­trous and very an­noy­ing. In fact, I told the com­pany who made the remix, ‘You are forc­ing me to sup­port this but I hate this one, and people are going to troll me if I sup­port this’. As far as the trend is con­cerned, it’s over. I think people are re­al­is­ing that mu­sic needs love and find­ing a song for the movie, rather than tak­ing the fast food route.

Do you think Bollywood mu­sic has over­shad­owed other forms?

I won’t say that, as Bollywood has a lot of mar­ket­ing money. Where there is money, there is ex­po­sure. You hear some­thing beau­ti­ful but there are only 30,000 views and then you hear some­thing not so im­pres­sive, and it has more than 500 mil­lion views. It is the mar­ket­ing money and there are paid views, people do that.

Look­ing at the mu­sic in­dus­try in In­dia, how do you think things have changed over the years?

The fear of fail­ure is more. It’s all-or-noth­ing. So the ease of do­ing some­thing beau­ti­ful is gone.

Would we see more of Rah­man’s com­po­si­tions this year?

I am do­ing an Aanand L Rai movie and two more films which you will come to know, hope­fully! Then you might hear good news about 99 Songs, too.

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Richa Chadha, who has starred in both films and web shows, is now look­ing to add a new feather to her hat, that of an au­thor. The ac­tor re­veals she is pen­ning a book for a leading publishing house. “I’ve been com­mis­sioned to write a book. But the process is very slow. I’m con­stantly work­ing and trav­el­ling, hence I have no free time. I’ve al­ready writ­ten about half of the book. I hope to put in more ef­fort and com­plete writ­ing it soon,” she says.

Ask her to di­vulge de­tails about the book and Richa is re­luc­tant. “It’s not fic­tion. The only fic­tion that I’ll write are screen­plays, but at a later stage,” is all she’s will­ing to re­veal. She be­lieves that be­ing a screen­play writer, along with be­ing a pro­ducer, is a cre­atively sat­is­fy­ing process. “Writ­ing screen­plays is a great way to ex­press your­self and it gives you more cre­ative con­trol. I would love to turn pro­ducer. In fact, I’ve al­ready se­lected a script. My col­lege mate has writ­ten it. Maybe later in the year, I can for­malise things,” she shares.

Richa, who was re­cently seen in In­side Edge 2, be­lieves that since the con­tent for films is un­der­go­ing an evo­lu­tion and the web space is wit­ness­ing a ma­jor boom, it is tele­vi­sion that will even­tu­ally bear the brunt. “Films and web are two very dif­fer­ent medi­ums. When tele­vi­sion gained mo­men­tum, people thought that it would mark the death of cin­ema but that didn’t hap­pen. Now with the boom in streaming plat­forms, they are say­ing that films will die but I don’t be­lieve any par­tic­u­lar medium has an up­per hand over the other. How­ever, I be­lieve tele­vi­sion might face a set­back,” she ex­plains.

The Panga ac­tor says that the surge that films and OTT plat­forms are wit­ness­ing is al­low­ing bet­ter roles for women to be con­ceived. “Films are evolv­ing and chang­ing as much as con­tent on the web is and that’s be­cause the same people are run­ning film stu­dios as well as web shows. That’s why one can no­tice an evo­lu­tion in the parts for

I would love to turn a pro­ducer. I’ve al­ready se­lected a script. My col­lege mate has writ­ten it. Maybe later in the year, I can for­malise things. RICHA CHADHA AC­TOR

women in both films and streaming plat­forms,” Richa con­cludes.

Richa Chadha

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