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Meet this Leader's love

Last updated on: February 15, 2010 16:19 IST

Meet this Leader's love

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Richa Gangopadhyaya is a pretty and glamorous girl, the face behind many ads like Dabur Vatika, Medimix Soap, VVD Gold Oil, Peter England, Pepe Jeans and Malabar Gold.

Born and brought up in the US, the tall and lissom Miss India-USA 2007 has always been naturally inclined towards the performing arts.

She is a trained dancer (semi-classical, salsa, hip-hop) and has been playing the violin right from a very young age.

Richa shifted base to Mumbai and started modelling about a year and a half ago. Having extremely supportive parents helped her achieve her dreams.

Now she is ready with her Telugu debut Leader. She shares her experience with Radhika Rajamani.

How and why did you choose the Telugu film Leader as your debut?

To be honest, I had little knowledge of the Telugu film industry. I had however watched Sekhar Kammula's film Happy Days and knew his credibility as a good director. I knew AVM was a big banner and Leader marked the launch of Rama Naidu garu's grandson. The script of Leader was powerful and I had a strong role. I wanted to do something with impact.

What is it that appealed to you about Leader?

It is an atypical political film written brilliantly by Sekhar. It has family drama as well as a love story. The movie has the potential to empower the masses. I was sold on the script.


Image: Richa Gangopadhyaya

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'Sekhar and his team were so welcoming that it didn't take much time to adjust'

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Why did you choose acting? How did you get Leader?

I was modelling but found it restrictive. Acting offered more scope. I had done plays in school. I also took a three-month diploma course in acting from Anupam Kher's School when I came to Mumbai which helped me break my inhibitions.

Mr Kher also gave me private coaching and believed in me. I was city hopping after I made my portfolio. A co-ordinator who was looking out for actors for Sekhar's film got in touch with me. I gave an audition on my birthday. Then I was flown for a screen test. I started shooting after two days. It came as a complete shock to me. Incidentally my grandparents live in Hyderabad.

How did you adapt yourself to the shoot, the cast and the crew?

I am optimistic, tenacious and adjusting. I was apprehensive about stepping into the film world but Sekhar and his team were so welcoming that it didn't take much time to adjust. It was a learning experience too.

How was your first day of shoot?

I was nervous but Sekhar made me comfortable with his casual attitude. The co-director also helped. Rana gave me confidence while Priya energised the set. It was a family atmosphere on the sets.


Image: Richa Gangopadhyaya

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'Rana has leadership qualities'

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How did you overcome the language barrier?

It was completely alien to me. I was making up by emoting. Initially there was prompting from the co-director. After a while I became familiar with the language and started picking up the dialogues. Now I understand and speak the language.

What is your role in the film like?

I play Archana, a CEO of a TV channel and a politician's daughter. She is a righteous, no-nonsense woman tough from the outside but vulnerable inside. She is the hero's love interest. There is a play of varied emotions in the role. It's not a typical glamorous role but a role of substance. I could relate to Archana. I would pretty much react the way she would to real life situations. I could relate to her inner qualities like integrity, honesty in relationship and compassion for the masses. What was new and different for me was the outer appearance -- dressing like a Telugu girl.

How was Rana to work with?

Amazing. He is a seasoned person on and off screen and a multi-faceted one too. He brought focus, discipline and a contagious energy to the sets. He fitted the role as he has leadership qualities. He helped me gain confidence in acting. It was comfortable to act with him. I think he'll be a real role model for youth.

What about Priya Anand?

Lots of fun. People think there would be jealousy between two heroines but we got along fine right from start. We bonded well and could relate to each other.


Image: A scene from Leader

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'I am past the nervous stage'

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What did you learn from acting in Leader?

Acting is dynamic; an evolving process. One keeps on learning. I learnt a lot about emoting and expressions. Technically I learnt about camera angles too. Sekhar taught me how to immerse in the character and how to switch it on and off. 

Have you signed any projects?

Lots of offers are coming but I haven't signed any yet.

Are you nervous now that the film is ready?

We all have been waiting for this a long time. I am past the nervous stage. Now there is only eagerness to show the film's message.


Image: A scene from Leader

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