Why Richa Chadha was nervous before doing a stand-up show
Actors often talk about the genre they enjoy exploring. Richa Chadha, too, has always maintained that comedy is her favourite space. In the past, she has proved her mettle as Bholi Punjaban in the Fukrey film franchise. She has also had a brush with stand-up comedy, and has been hinting at taking her passion for this forward.
Recently, it was announced that Richa will make her debut with a stand-up comedy show on the web and she’s obviously kicked about the opportunity. “I’m excited to appear in this show alongside several other people. None of us is a professional comedy actor or stand up comedian. It was a challenge and I just dived in,” she says, adding that humour comes naturally to her when she tries to express herself.
Thanking those who have helped her learn more, Richa adds that it was wonderful to be mentored by accomplished comics like Sapan Verma and Ashish Shakya. “They prepared me for my live show. I have done this once before, and it was alright, but this show is as real as it gets. I am nervous that my image as a serious actor is about to be shattered thanks to this standup comedy act,” shared the actor, who will next be seen in season two of the web show Inside Edge and in the films, Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai, Panga and Shakeela.
Born and raised in Manhattan, New York, the English accent is hard to miss when you talk to actor Devika Bhise. And therefore, she took on a big challenge when she signed on for the English biopic on Rami Laxmibai, titled The Warrior Queen of Jhansi. Both because it’s a biopic on a historical personality, and the way she’d have to manoeuvre her way through Hindi.
On the film, which she has also co-written, Devika says, “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity... it’s not lost on me at all. I am so thrilled! The toughest part was the Hindi, Marathi and English dialogues I had to speak. The majority [of dialogues] were in Hindi and Marathi, and add to that their period dialects! They were antiquated, stylised ways of speaking. We had to work on what an Indian queen in 1858 would sound like, which is very unlike what people sound today.”
Her mother and maternal grandmother came to her rescue, she reveals, “I trained for months with my mother and Ajji. That was a special experience.”
Devika has earlier been part of projects such as The Man Who knew Infinity with actor Dev Patel. She is still all praise for the Slumdog Millionaire star. “I have worked with Dev only in The Man… He is lovely. I prayed for him when he got nominated for the Oscars for his film Lion,” says Devika.
Considering how Rani Laxmibai has been portrayed in films before, and quite recently, by Kangana Ranaut in Manikarnika — The Queen of Jhansi, how did Devika make sure her portrayal was different from what had already been attempted before?
“That’s simple. I didn’t watch any other films or portrayals of the Rani of Jhansi. My portrayal comes from primary sources and the research I had done. I didn’t watch any artistic or creative rendering that has come in the last few years. By the time Manikarnika came out in the theatres, our film was entirely locked up and was being picked up by the distributors,” reveals Devika.
Any interest in Bollywood for her? “I don’t know. As of now, I am based in New York, and my career has been there. If I get a script in Bollywood that really interests me, I would absolutely be open to doing something here,” she adds.
The toughest part was the Hindi, Marathi and English dialogues I had to speak. The majority [of dialogues] were in Hindi and Marathi, and add to that their period dialects!