‘You don’t have to choose between films and theatre’
Actress Richa Chadha, who is making a comeback on stage after two years with The Life in Telling, says that contrary to what people think, there are many who run their homes by just doing theatre.
It is safe to say that Richa Chadha has now carved a niche for herself in Bollywood. Having started her acting career with stage during her school days, over the years, she has managed to balance the two mediums. The actress, whose performance in plays like White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, Bagdad Ka Gulam, Kennedy Bridge and Trivial Disaster, was much appreciated, says that stage has not only contributed to her professional life but also to her personal life.
“Personally, it has taught me team work. The discipline on stage is different and anyone can get nervous because the medium is such,” she says, adding, “Professionally, I have learnt how to think on my feet and it helps in improvisation while doing movies. It also helps to remember lines because you have to learn the dialogues by-heart of a two-hour play.”
And not just actors like her but even people who want to get into direction can learn immensely from the medium, feels Richa. “You learn to use space, interacting with your actors and so on,” she says.
Richa enjoys visiting the auditorium and loves the ‘smell’ of the stage. “I get a good feeling when I enter an auditorium. I just love the medium,” she quips.
Richa’s comeback play is titled The Life in Telling. Produced by Quasar Thakore Padamsee’s QTP Productions, the play will run two shows — one in Mumbai (May 25) and the other in Delhi (June 1). “The play comprises three short stories and I will be part of all three and playing different characters in them,” says the actress.
She will share stage with talented actors like Vinay Pathak, Ashwin Musharan and others. Richa says that working with such actors enhances her acting but she is also nervous while working with them. “That’s because they are such veteran actors and I am a big fan of them. But it’s always fun to create something in a team. In theatre, you depend on each other a lot as compared to films. In films, you can finish an emotional scene during a close up because you are acting for the camera,” says the actress. She adds that there is a lot of give and take on stage, without which a play is not possible. “You are dependent on each other and everyone has to work in sync. You not only remember your own lines but those of your costars too,” she says.
Explaining her absence from stage for two years, she says that films were keeping her busy. “Because the dates of one of my films got postponed by a month, I am doing The Life in Telling,” she says.
Richa is happy with the kind of commercial opportunities theatre is offering to those involved with it. “In Mumbai, enough people watch theatre because of which people can run their homes by just doing theatre. You don’t have to choose between films and theatre. I have so many friends who are just doing theatre and still taking care of their families, which is a good thing,” she says.
The Masaan actress says that stage is a big thing though we cannot compare it to films. “There are many who want to use stage as a stepping stone to get into films; but they don’t need to do that kyuki rangmanch apne aap mein hi ek bahut bada madhyam hai (because stage is a big medium in itself),” says the actress who has participated in Thespo (a youth theatre movement with year round workshops, collaborations, curated plays, a bimonthly e-zine and the annual Youth Theatre Festival) when she came to Mumbai.
Because of her hectic acting work, she complains that very few people are offering her theatre work. “I would prefer doing a play, rather than doing a bad film. I want more people to offer me plays,” she says before signing off.
ST Reader Service
The Life in Telling will be staged on May 25 at Royal Opera House, Mumbai and on June 1 at Maneckshaw Auditorium, New Delhi