Chitrangada Singh on commercial cinema, competition and life as working mother
You seem to be very keen on doing commercial cinema. You took a break from your serious image with Desi Boyz, but chances of getting a raw deal is more in commercial films…
I agree, because those scripts are written for another purpose. It is for the masses, so there is another formula running there which is fine, you choose what you want to do and what you don’t. You go back and forth and build your own body of work. But it is not very easy to do commercial cinema; you play up to the masses, you have to dramatise and still not look stupid. And then, you don’t plan things, it just happens. People see you in a certain way. For instance, Farah (Khan) felt I could do an item number, which I didn’t know.
Perception is that you are a thinking actress…
Yes. I love those roles as they have defined me. But I would like to thank Rohit Dhawan (director of Desi Boyz) and Farah for bringing out something different, which is not predictable. It gets boring when you get predictable.
Are you getting offers for commercial films?
Yes, I did a couple of them which were too out and out and I didn’t see myself going that out and out (laughs). I would like to take baby steps into commercial cinema.
Are you open to doing bold scenes?
If the role is amazing and if it is important for the character, I will do it.
How are you dealing with competition from established and younger actresses?
Competition does make you anxious, but I am not so much playing the competition. I choose certain kind of work and there is enough work for everyone. Everybody gets what they deserve. No amount of young, old, married, single, somebody’s brother, sister matters. Enough work is coming my way and I don’t know if I can manage more than that.
Do you have enough heroes to work with you? Which Khan would you like to work with?
All of them, put them all up (laugh).
Which direction is your career taking? Where do you see yourself in the near future?
I see myself doing good cinema, different cinema, commercial cinema. I would love to work with Vishal Bhardwaj and Farhan Akhtar. When I did the item number Kafirana (Joker), it was a great challenge to become a totally different person, almost unrecognisable. I was taking a great chance, because I felt a lot of people might say it will not work. But it was good for my confidence as an actor.
Did you always wanted to become an actress?
I never thought of being in movies, I had never been to Mumbai before. My father tells me that I would choose a different profession everyday. I have wanted to be an interviewer, news reader, museum worker, curator and air hostess. Had I not been an actress, I would have probably been in an art gallery dealing with antiques.
Isn’t it hard being a mother and wife while being an actor? Long hours, outdoor shoots, travel… does it take a toll on your personal life?
I travel a lot and it is not easy all the time. But it is also not that hard when I look around. I don’t need to show up at 9 am everyday at an office. I take on as much work as I can manage.
You are a Delhi girl. The city is not considered to be very safe for women. Any untoward incident you remember?
Delhi is volatile, very aggressive and unsafe for women. There is a lot of floating population and differences in mentality because of the various backgrounds people come from. When I was in a hostel in Delhi, travelling in public transport was very unsafe. I have been eve-teased umpteen number of times, it is very normal there. Sometimes it would get really scary. I remember a car with tinted glasses would regularly pull along and slow down while we would be walking back to the hostel and we would start walking faster. Once the car came closer and somebody opened the door and we started running. I feel that the protest that has happened in the wake of the recent gang-rape has made men more sensitive towards women.