INTERVIEW

Richa Chadha on ‘Inside Edge’ and the reason why Bholi Punjaban from ‘Fukrey’ clicked

‘Men loved her because she is powerful and scary; women love her because she is a complete badass.’

After nine years, a bunch of accolades and some setbacks, Richa Chadha seems to have mastered the trick of keeping her audiences interested in whatever she does. The actor from Gangs of Wasseypur, Fukrey and Masaan has been applauded for her performance in Inside Edge, Amazon Prime Video’s first Indian drama. The series, directed by Karan Anshuman, is set in the high-stakes and scandal-ridden world of the Indian Premiere League. Chadha plays an actor who owns a team and has a tell-tale fringe and a volatile personal life (Preity Zinta appears to be the reference).

Chadha has moved away from the disappointment of her first solo project, Cabaret, being indefinitely postponed. She is looking ahead to the releases Fukrey Returns in December and Jia Aur Jia, a road trip movie with Kalki Koechlin. In a conversation with Scroll.in, Chadha reveals why Fukrey Returns is an important film for her and how streaming platforms have come to the rescue of storytellers.

‘Inside Edge’ seems to have been received well. Were you expecting this?
Well, no. I thought only people in India who follow cricket will watch it. But Inside Edge is now one of the most watched shows on Amazon Prime. I guess people who don’t watch Hindi entertainment shows or cricket have also liked it. Nobody in the team had expected this in fact, and now they will have to work doubly hard to come up with season 2, if that happens.

Would you ascribe the show’s success to the way it serves up cricket, glamour and scandal?
I have a theory about this. People who don’t watch Hindi entertainment channels or don’t watch cricket have watched and liked this show because it is original content. Our parents were lucky with good shows on TV, like Buniyaad, Hum Log, Circus. It was the golden age of television with directors experimenting with great scripts and concepts. That went away and we were left with only adapting to what currently works at the box office.

Even in my years of prominence in Bollywood, I have seen how the business has changed. It is no more about jubilees but the first weekend collections. There is a serious dearth of good content at home or even at the theatres, that is compelling enough for people to step out of their homes or watch something on television for anything longer than 30 minutes. When you give audiences something like this, they are willing to binge-watch.

Play
Inside Edge (2017).

Your character in ‘Inside Edge’ is a star who owns an IPL team and fights the odds to stand her ground. It is obviously based on Preity Zinta. Has she contacted you or the makers of the series?
It is a strong character, very nuanced writing of a woman who is insecure but is also very happy inside. I had to get inside an actor’s head to get it right.

Preity Zinta has not contacted me. I do not know her socially, though I have been a huge fan of her work. And I don’t think I can call her up and talk to her about it either. If she feels it is based on her, it is not for me to say. But I don’t think a real person’s life would have such a dramatic turn of events. Having said that, I don’t think I did a bad job of it.

How are streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon helping Indian actors and filmmakers? Are they better platforms for original and edgy ideas?
Absolutely. When I signed up for Inside Edge, people were sceptical – why are you doing TV? I had to explain to them this is not TV. Why are you taking a chance with your career? We are now taking to audiences that binge-watches American shows for three or four hours at a stretch on streaming platforms. Even our films cannot match up to them.

Now that the series has worked, I stand vindicated.

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Fukrey Returns (2017).

With ‘Inside Edge’ working out and ‘Fukrey Returns’ ready for a December release, you must be over the disappointment of your solo project ‘Cabaret’ missing its release date repeatedly.
Cabaret was an experiment. I was upset but convinced myself that there must be a divine explanation behind the film not releasing. I cannot take responsibility for the distributor and exhibitor nexus, and don’t have a say in the matter. Over time I have learnt not to get upset with these things because at least I got paid. There are others who did not.

Why did Bholi Punjaban from ‘Fukrey’ work as well as it did?
For many reasons. I don’t remember seeing an empowered woman on screen who is intimidating, no-nonsense and still quite cute. She is not the stereotypical sasuma or jealous bhabi. She is not your Phoolan Devi or Manorama but an imposing vamp who scares the hell out of four grown men. That was really interesting.

But it was a comedy and we did not really read so much into the character at that time. It was not like in Masaan, where I was told my character left people all moist-eyed. Men loved Bholi Punjaban in a way because she was powerful and scary. And women loved her because she was a complete badass. They wanted to be like her.

How did you arrive at that conclusion?
A few months after the film released, I was in Delhi during the winter. I was still not used to looking at myself as a Bollywood person. I was having a hard time and was irritable as I was running errands for my mom. I was at a shop were a lady and her daughter came up to me and began to compliment me: beta, I wish I could answer my mom-in-law the way you did in that film.

I was stunned. I realised that decades of being repressed actually makes our women want to break out and use such foul language. And now the writer and director Mrig Lamba has written my character with more conviction and added more shades for Fukrey Returns. I am just happy with the way the film has turned out.

What’s next?
Other than Jia and Jia, there is Love Sonia, a crowdfunded project on human trafficking. It changed me. The back story of my character brought me closer to the ordeal that these girls and women have to go through. The abortions, living with HIV, drugs… If the film is able to induce some compassion towards these women, it would mean a lot to me.

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Masaan (2015).
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Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Also those looking to upgrade their TV to a smart one can get Rs. 20,000 off by exchanging it for the Sony Bravia 108cm Android TV.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch. For those of you just looking for a high quality fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge has Rs. 4500 off on 22nd September.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and the super compact JBL Go Portable Speaker at 56% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.