In her more than a decade long career in Bollywood, Richa Chadha has realised that one can't afford to lose the hunger of doing better work, because the only way to keep going forward in the industry is to remain grounded and keep aside ego.
Though Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! in 2008 marked her first on-screen appearance, it was four years later with Gangs of Wasseypur where Richa emerged as a breakout star.
Over the years, the actor keeps close to her what she has learnt from the industry: to never be complacent.
“Bollywood has taught me that if you have talent and are ready to work without massive ego, complications, if you can keep sane and keep working, then you're in it for a long haul,” Richa told PTI in an interview.
“I'm very inspired by people like Ranveer Singh who, in his mega-stardom, still goes out and works as hard as he did in his first. That hunger to do better shouldn't ever die. The minute someone gets complacent it reflects,” she adds.
Being a part of the film industry gives one an opportunity to interact with the masses through one's work, but what being a movie actor also does is to completely strip off anonymity from the person, something which Richa grapples with.
“There was a certain mystery and enigma to stars earlier. Now, even if you go to grab a coffee, there will be people waiting to click your picture. That mystique is gone. I just want to act and don't like this loss of anonymity. I just don't. I think it's a relatable concern.
“What if one just wants to be an actor? I know I'm not alone in feeling this way... I don't enjoy this loss of anonymity that's why I keep to myself. I have a huge rich social life which is full of people from outside,” she adds.
Which is why the actor almost always gravitates to parts which aren't like her.
This was one of the prime reasons why she took up the part of Zarina Malik in Inside Edge, where she plays an actor, a “typical star”, who loves fame, attention and the spotlight of the industry.
“I love playing her because I'm not like that. I love peeping into an actor who can be insecure, ambitious, peeping into that mindspace of how it must be because I'm so far from it in real life.
“I couldn't give a damn about any of this, the trappings of fame, but Zarina really cares. She's that typical star who you hear about,” she adds.
The actor is back to reprise the role for the second season of the Amazon Prime Video series.
For Richa, one of the ways to approach a character like Zarina was to observe people around.
“I have friends, I observe them, how they deal with people, what goes on in their heads. Actors can be delusional and can live in a bubble and sadly for actors, if you're really good, you can also attract friends who can never be honest with you.”
The actor says she isn't part of the Bollywood world and doesn't find herself involved late-night party culture.
“But I know enough to carve a decent world out of it. I may not know everyday what's going on but I've been to one such party in my life, that's enough material to create something out of it. It really helps to be an actor and then play this role.”
Richa says, this time around, in terms of the story, “Zarina has completely changed.”
“She's become smarter, unlike earlier where she was fooled easily. This time it's a question of conscience.”
Created by Karan Anshuman and backed by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akhtar, Inside Edge is set in the landscape of sports and deals with power, money, fame and the mind games people play.
It also stars Vivek Oberoi, Sayani Gupta, Angad Bedi, Sapna Pabbi among others. Inside Edge season two will stream from December 6.