Bholi Punjaban returns with Fukrey Returns!

By Neeru Saluja

She is bold, feisty and outspoken. Actress Richa Chaddha, who played the deadly female don Bholi Punjaban in Fukrey makes a comeback in comedy with Fukrey Returns.

Richa Chaddha, who is known for portraying strong roles in hard hitting films like Masaan, Sarabjit and Gangs of Wasseypur, loves to show her other side with comedy films. Releasing on 8 December in Australia by Zee Studios, the film is a sequel to the 2013 Fukrey and features the original cast.

We had a light and hearty conversation with the actress who revealed her funny yet feminist side as an actress. She believes to be an actor representing evolving cinema, and with her brilliant acting abilities and selective choice for films, she will definitely remain a critic’s favourite.

Here is an excerpt from The Indian Down Under’s chat with the Bollywood actress.

Richa, so what is Bholi Punjaban upto these days?

Bholi is torturing the Fukrey boys! It’s a lot of fun to get back with the team. I love hanging out with my boys. We have reconnected after many years though we haven’t lost touch.

Critics have appreciated your recent performances in independent cinema. How was it doing a comedy role after a few serious roles?

I find comedy very liberating and easy to do. It has no baggage, you can just laugh and have fun. You can speak your mind in comedy films, which I’m comfortable with and often get told off for! I would like to do more comedy films. The darker films do take a toll on you.

Talking about darker films, there is also a darker side to the Indian film industry which you have recently raised your voice about ”“ the Weinsteins of Bollywood. What are your views on it?

A lot of people have spoken and written about it. I myself wrote a blog about the Weinsteins of Bollywood. Hollywood offers a lot of compensation in terms of loyalty. In Bollywood, actors are scared of speaking up as there is no compensation and there is a hanging fear of losing work. Hopefully times will change and people will speak up.

Last time when we spoke you were raising funds to provide shelter home for rescued trafficked girls. As an actress, how do you feel you can make a social impact?

When you are famous, you can use your celebrity status for a good cause. It’s a mammoth task to stop human trafficking, but even if you make a small contribution, it makes a big social impact. We cannot change the society, but can definitely make a difference.

As a guest for the Melbourne Film Festival in 2016, you talked about women empowerment. As a Bollywood actress, what does women empowerment mean to you?

Women in Bollywood are doing their best with what is given. Women should take inspiration from us. Writers, directors and actors are making a difference in Indian cinema. Women in Bollywood are doing very well lately and I’m happy to be part of that change. My message has always been ”˜Be strong, and never think you are lesser than anyone’.

To end on a lighter note, what was the most hilarious moment on the sets of Fukrey Returns?

We had lots of fun while shooting the film. But there was this one particular scene where we had to shoot in a cave and we forgot about Manjot! He was so angry at us, but he’s super cute even when he is angry.


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