Richa Chadha’s role in Love Sonia has already gotten her two awards before the film has even released across the world, one in London Indian Film Festival and one at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne. The actress is one of the few people in the industry capable of such a feat where her work is speaking for her. The Fukrey actress plays the role of a sex worker and the Madam of a brothel in Love Sonia. She, along with actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Anupam Kher, Freida Pinto, Mrunal Thakur and Rajkumar Rao bring us the reality of the Sex Trafficking world which is directed by Tabrez Noorani.
Richa who was hesitant to the do the role when offered it because she was worried if the story would do justice to the portrayal of something so sensitive. She believed the director, Tabrez when he showed her the decade of research he’s been doing for the film. When the actress started shooting for the film she met many sexworkers, a lot of young girls who were rescued from the flesh trade and listened to incidents that one could never fathom were even possible. After 2.5 months of shooting in different locations, depicting brutality and real stories on screen, once done with filming, Richa headed to for therapy sessions with a psychologist to help her detach from the role. An effect on one’s mental state changes each day with scenarios that are presented in front of you and we completed understand why Richa needed help removing herself from her character because for 2.5 months she was part of it all.
Speaking about the process, Richa said, “The story of the film was gruelling and emotionally exhausting. To imagine as actors for us to go through this through the process of enacting living the life of these girls momentarily scars us, I can only imagine what would the girls in real life must be going through. For me it wasn’t an easy process. To immerse into the role, live through those emotions, learn those realities and accept them to essay the role of Madhuri took its toll on me. We are lucky as educated people to have access to information and to facilities and I had to seek help of professionals who are psychologists and find therapeutic ways to get myself out of the character to resume my normal life. This character was more than just a role it was a life we had to lead and also pull out of it emotionally once we were through it”.
For an actor like Richa, she could remove herself gradually but for millions of girls, this is the story of their lives. Love Sonia is a crucial film to change the discourse around India’s sex trafficking issue.