She kicked off her career in tinseltown with a demure diva act in Sudhir Mishra’s Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (2005). And no wonder, Chitrangda Singh got stuck with tags like ‘serious’ and ‘offbeat’. But the dusky beauty is in a mood to experiment with hardcore commercial cinema now as she basks in the success of Yeh Saali Zindagi (YSZ), which is being billed as her first commercial hit.
Singh says she’s already busy with some big budget ventures, where she’ll share screen space with Akshay Kumar and John Abraham in Rohit Dhawan’s Desi Boyz, while being paired opposite Arjun Rampal in Mishra’s next. “Many feel I’m only interested in a particular genre of films, but that’s not true. I will be experimenting with commercial cinema because I don’t want to restrict myself,” says Singh."Mainstream success makes it easier for actors to indulge in offbeat work," she adds. "Plus, it’s important to prove your viability in big ticket films because it undoubtedly gets you a broader audience base." While the actor admits that she’s drawn towards performance-driven films like Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, she says, "I don’t think I am trying to create a niche for myself in the industry. In fact, thanks to films like Peepli [Live] and Dhobi Ghat, I don’t see these offbeat films occupying a separate space. People are interested in all kinds of good cinema. And I seriously give credit to Aamir Khan for making such movies feasible," says Singh, who has acted in only four films – Hazaaron…, Kal – Yesterday And Tomorrow (2005), Sorry Bhai (2008) and YSZ – in eight years, largely thanks to her self-imposed three-year exile, during which rumours did the rounds that her husband, golfer Jyoti Randhawa, was unhappy with her choice of career.
But thanks to her first hit, Singh feels Bollywood has changed its attitude towards her. “The industry has started looking at me differently after the success of Yeh Saali Zindagi. I won’t call it a mind-boggling change but suddenly, several big banners are showing interest in me,” she says with a laugh. “Earlier, such banners would appreciate films like Hazaaron..., but would have questions about my place in a commercial Bollywood set-up.”
Though Singh is eyeing bigger films, she isn’t sure about competing with popular female stars like Kareena Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra. “Competing is a very strange word. I don’t know if I am competing with anyone. From the start of my career, I have simply taken up the offers that excite me. Even now, I only choose the best films that are offered by directors,” she says.
Besides Desi Boyz, where she’ll be seen performing a sexy salsa number, Singh will also be seen in Shrishti Arya’s untitled venture with Abraham. Set to leave for a schedule of Dhawan’s movie in a few days, she adds, “Once I wrap it up, I will start learning salsa for my dance number in the film. I am very excited because I love to dance,” she says, adding that Arya’s film —which was to hit floors in mid-February — has been delayed.