The trailer has garnered more than 50 lakh views online and ‘Sarbjit’ is easily the most-anticipated movie right now. Based on the real story of an Indian national convicted of spying in Pakistan and murdered in its jail, the movie is emotionally charged to say the least. HT sat down with its critically-acclaimed actress Richa Chadha for a tête-à-tête. Excerpts:
How has the ‘Sarbjit’ experience been?
I am glad that I could be part of it after my initial apprehensions. The role was deglam and rural, the character I play had to age substantially and require me to even play a mother to two children. So, I was sceptical; but it was Omung’s (director Omung Kumar’s) passion that convinced me to do the part.
What is the emotional toll playing a character such as this takes on the actor?
It was ‘Masaan’ rather that took a toll on me. It left me listless, as if a friend had left me. I had to take a vacation to come out of it. With ‘Sarbjit’ though, I have managed to stay disconnected and move on. Randeep (Hooda) really gets into his roles but I don’t want to be like him. I want to have the ability to switch on a character and switch it off.
With so many strong screenplays being written for women, is it the best time to be an actress?
“Our film industry has always had strong actresses such as Nargis and Madhubala. Then this commercial don’t-need-to-act phase came. Things are picking up again. It is a great time to be an actress definitely — there is interesting work happening. Maybe, 15 years ago, ‘Sarbjit’ would have been an art movie, now it is mainstream. I am happy but there is a bad side to it as well — the over-reliance on the opening-weekend collections. You work so hard and a few star ratings decide how much your film earns.
How was shooting in Punjab?
Oh, amazing! I love Punjab — the people, the food, the atmosphere. I find Punjabi food comforting, it’s what I grew up eating. Apart from a few stalker-type incidents (an over-excited fan followed her to the sets), Punjab was great.