Very few actresses in Bollywood have that rare mix of beauty and brains which makes for a deadly combination. Chitrangda Singh is one of them. The stunning beauty has always managed to impress one and all be it with her choice of films and with her performances. She is back once again in mentor Sudhir Mishra's latest offering Inkaar which deals with the topic of sexual harassment at work-place. In this exclusive interview with Bollywood Hungama's Nikhil Ramsubramaniam, Chitrangda speaks about her character of Maya, her comfort level with Sudhir Mishra and her camaraderie with co-star Arjun Rampal. Read on...
You've been very selective with your choice of roles thus far. What made you say yes to Inkaar?
When you see the film you will see how equally strong both the lead characters are. There are a lot of layers to Maya's character. We usually don't write such characters in our films. She is ambitious and thinks she has as much right as any man, she is very strong headed, and yet she is neither completely right nor completely wrong. The script was very modern. For me Inkaar is essentially a love story. It's about these two people who are so passionately involved at one time and when they end up at loggerheads against each other, they do that too with equal passion.
Did the fact that it was being directed by Sudhir Mishra comfort you?
Absolutely it always is a comforting factor being directed by Sudhir Mishra. I've said this before there is a rapport we share for so many years now. I've been directed by him when I didn't even know what's a movie camera, how should I be facing the camera etc. So you can imagine I've been that naïve in front of him. I've learnt a lot over the years working with him. I don't mind committing a mistake in front of him or even don't hesitate asking him any questions if I am not certain about some thing.
How similar is your character Maya to the modern urban Indian woman?
She is the absolute modern Indian woman, as right or as wrong as any woman today. She is fighting for the fairness of it all, she is ambitious and she doesn't want a man to take credit for her doing well in her career. It's a situation which a lot of women are facing these days. Even though she is strong-headed, like any woman, she is emotional and has feelings too.
How's been the experience pairing up with Arjun Rampal for the first time?
Arjun is wonderful to work with, he has his moods (smiles), but there is a kind of comfort level which we managed to achieve. Coincidentally before the shoot began, we were on the same flight to Delhi and that's when we kinda broke the ice and got to know each other.
Do you think in cases of sexual harassment in a work place, is it the woman who gets sympathy votes more often than not?
I don't think so. A woman is wronged more often than not. Sexual harassment is very difficult to prove. When a girl says, "He looked at me in a wrong way, or held my hands in a wrong way!" how can you prove it? I was talking to some HR heads of some leading companies and they said that very few percentage of such cases actually land up for hearing. Most of them get squashed under the table or through an out of court settlement by giving certain compensation.
Is the battle of the sexes element one of the USPs of Inkaar?
I guess so. Inkaar is the battle of the sexes, it's also about power dynamics, and the desire to achieve one's goals at any cost. Even though it's set in an ad agency, such things can exist anywhere be it a Govt. office or even a village panchayat. There are 2 different points of view to the whole story which makes it interesting to watch.
Your character in Yeh Saali Zindagi and now even in Inkaar has shades of grey. What do you have to say about that?
That's what I like about Sudhir's characters. He never makes them too good or too bad. They are human like any of us be it Priti in Yeh Saali Zindagi or Maya in Inkaar.
Tell us a bit about your look and styling in the film.
Rick Roy has designed my costumes. He also did my styling for 'Kafirana' song in Joker. Here my character's graph spans over 7 years from being an intern to becoming the national creative director of the ad agency. So the look does change during the course of the film. For my look as an intern, we went in for a very chic, casual look and I went shopping with Rick Roy to Colaba Causeway. I even got the piercing done and that along with the nose-ring forms an integral part of the look. For my look as the national creative director, they wanted me to cut my hair short so I am seen sporting a different look in those portions.
Coming to the 'Kafirana' song from Joker, you got a lot of praise for that item song. When can we see you again in such a pataka item song?
I would love to; I am always game to do something different. I had such a good time with Farah on the sets. She has superb energy. She'd tell me to not get too conscious of my sexuality. While doing an item song you can't be inhibited about your sexuality. I pushed myself out there and I am happy that people liked the song.
Finally tell us about your next release I, Me Aur Main opposite John Abraham?
It's a film about relationships; it's funny, modern but not preachy. I play a woman who is very successful and yet feels she is missing something in life. She wants to find her roots. We're pretty much done with the shooting and will soon get into promotional work.
Watch Promo: Inkaar