42 years ago Liza Minnelli immortalized herself in Bob Fosse's Cabaret.
Now it's our own Richa Chadda's turn. The spunky Gangs Of Wasseypur scene-stealer has been selected to play the title role in the desi Cabaret.
For nearly two years, Pooja Bhatt has been in search of a strong sexy seductive sizzling siren to play the main role. Pooja nearly zeroed in on a newcomer. But she has now opted for Richa.
Confirming this Pooja says, "It was a close call. I was contemplating a newcomer for the part. And I nearly went for it. But then I realized it was too much to expect a newcomer to deliver what the character required."
Not only is the girl in the title role required to perform the traditional cabaret, she must also be a topnotch dramatic actress.
Says Pooja, "It's a very difficult role. Somehow Richa's face kept returning into my mind. When I mentioned her for the role some people told me she was too desi, too much of a Delhi girl. But I feel the sensuous side of Richa is ready to be tapped. I asked her to meet me."
Richa drove down from the airport to Pooja's residence at midnight on Tuesday straight from the Los Cabos Film Festival in Mexico.
Says Pooja, "Richa came straight over and said, 'You wanted to see me about something urgent?' I told her I want her to do Cabaret. We are both on the same page on this. Richa knows she'll have to work very hard to get a cabaret dancer's body-language right."
Pooja has asked her brother Rahul Bhatt to train Richa. "Rahul is a fitness trainer. He will put Richa under a strict regime and make her slog to look the part."
Gulshan Devaiah will star opposite Richa and veteran ad maker Kaustav Narayan Niyogi will direct.
Enthuses Pooja, "I've been asking Kaustav to direct a film for years. He's finally taking the plunge...I can see the crackling chemistry between Richa and Gulshan. They will set the screen on fire."
Gulshan and Richa were in the cast of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Goliyon Ki Raas Leela Ram Leela, though they didn't have many scenes together.
Pooja has also cast her old friends Deepak Tijori and Mukul Dev in pivotal roles in Cabaret.
She's very excited about the new adventure. "Richa came back from Mexico saying everyone there was comparing her with Salma Hayek. I say, we've found our own Salma."
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