She may be better known for her serious roles in movies such as Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi and Kal: Yesterday and Tomorrow but Chitrangada Singh would much prefer to be in happy-go-lucky traditional Bollywood fare. “I have got recognition for serious dramas. But I would love to do a pure entertainment film that does not require any intellect to act or watch. These are real Bollywood movies. I’m one of those Hema Malini and Rekha buffs,” she says.
Chitraganda will soon be seen in two Bollywood productions, Sorry Bhai with Sanjay Suri and Shabana Azmi; and potentially Aamir Khan’s production Delhi Belly. She can be seen on the cover of this month’s Verve magazine which marks, in its way, her comeback from a semi-retirement following her marriage to golfer Jyoti Randhawa.
Everyone of course comments on Chitrangada’s remarkable similarity to the late Smita Patel. “A lot of people used to tell me I look like Smita. When I was in Class 9, a documentary maker, who was making a film on Smita, approached me to play her younger version. My mother and I didn’t take it seriously. But it was the first time that the likeness struck us. I can’t take such an awesome compliment seriously. I’ve a long way to go.”
How did she break into an industry that seems to rely so much on family and friends for new debutantes? “I knew no one from the film industry. I never thought it would be easy for me to be in movies. But I’ve always been a total movie buff – acting, dancing and singing through school. Then I did a number of ads and music videos. Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi just happened. Someone from Delhi suggested my name to Sudhir Mishra,” she explains.