Actress Richa Chadha, who has featured in quirky films like Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye, Fukrey and the latest Fukrey Returns, says female actors do not get many opportunities in humourous roles.
Richa, who also hosted a comedy show on television titled Queens of Comedy, said: “I do not understand why people think that women cannot do justice to a comedy role. We have had a history of leading ladies who played extremely funny roles in films from the black and white era.
“From Madhubala, who acted in a film like ‘Chalti Ka Nam Gadi’ to Sridevi in ‘Mr India’, we have had so many actresses who have great comic timing.”
However, she said: “I think we do not allow women to play funny parts thinking they are supposed to be pretty, which is the stereotypical thought. So I would say, do not ask such question, because it encourages stereotype. We have a history of it.”
Richa played the character Bholi Punjaban in Fukrey in 2013. Now its sequel Fukrey Returns, which released on Friday, is winning her praise.
Asked about how the character has travelled through from the first film to its sequel, the actress said: “Well, Bholi Punaban is a criminal and will always remain the same. In the first instalment, she was sent to jail, and in ‘Fukrey Returns’, she is back from the jail, lost all her money and illegal business and is struggling for survival.
“But you know, the film is a quirky one, so there are a lot of funny elements to it.”
She started her career in 2008 with Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye. Then Richa made her mark with movies like Gangs of Wasseypur, Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela and Sarbjit, apart from projects like Words with Gods and Masaan which went to various foreign film fests.
Richa also acted in India’s first Amazon original web-series Inside Edge.
She admits actors have more opportunities and avenues to explore nowadays.
“I take pride to be a part of that change because I acted in a web series for Amazon Originals where from the production to the storyline, everything was Indian, and it is receiving a positive response. Whether it is television show hosting or stage performance, there are so many opportunities for actors. This is a great phase.”