• Monday, June 17, 2024

Enterainmnet stories

Chhaya Kadam opens up about her journey from ‘Laapataa Ladies’ to Cannes

Chhaya Kadam with Aamir Khan and Kiran Rao

By: Mohnish Singh

Growing up, she wanted to be a Kabaddi player and then the dream shifted to opening a gym. Chhaya Kadam, who is winning hearts with her stellar performances as Manju Mai in Laapataa Ladies and gangster Kanchan Kombdi in Madgaon Express, says she came to acting late and by chance.

Kadam is now looking forward to attending the 77th Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of Payal Kapadia’s All We Imagine As Light, which is part of the main competition. She is also excited about Sister Midnight, a film to be screened in the film gala’s sidebar section Director’s Fortnight.

“I am very happy. This is a beautiful moment in my life and I am enjoying it without thinking too much about what’s next,” she said about the audience appreciation for Laapataa Ladies and Madgaon Express as well as the Cannes selection of her two movies.

Kadam said she grew up in a Mumbai suburb called Kalina in a housing board colony and had different dreams at different points of time.

“I was a state-level Kabaddi player, so I thought about going in that direction. After some time, it shifted to owning a gym or joining the police force because I had the physique… People start their journeys in schools and college by doing theatre, but I entered the profession quite late,” Kadam told PTI in an interview.

The actress credits a workshop she did with theatre veteran and former National School of Drama director Waman Kendre in 2001 for changing the course of her life.

“I started enjoying the process while doing the workshop. That was the beginning for me. People think it is easy to break into acting but it took me six years to do my first play. It wasn’t easy even after that but whatever came my way, I worked on it with complete honesty.”

After becoming an actress, Kadam said she dreamed about getting a National Film Award and featuring in a variety of roles but a festival like Cannes was not even on her wish list.

Manju Mai, a fiercely independent teaseller with a soft corner for one of the two heroines who gets lost in Kiran Rao’s Laapataa Ladies, has become something of a social media sensation with viewers sharing screenshots and dialogues on X and in reels on Instagram.

Kadam said she is surprised the character has resonated with not just the youth but also women of different age groups.

“I recently spoke to Sneha Desai, the writer of Laapataa Ladies, when the film released on OTT. She asked me, ‘How do you feel?’. I told her that whenever I receive any praise, she comes to my mind because Manju Mai’s thoughts were shaped by her and Kiran,” she added.

Rao had seen Kadam in Nagraj Manjule’s 2013 film Fandry and the director remembered her during Laapataa Ladies.

Similarly, Madgaon Express director Kunal Kemmu spotted Kadam in a role in the 2022 Marathi film Kaun Pravin Tambe? starring Shreyas Talpade.

“Kiran really liked Fandry and wanted to work with me. Kunal told me that when he saw me in Pravin Tambe, he felt he had found his Kanchan Kombdi. He reached out to Shreyas Talpade to ask about me. I am grateful to both the directors because people are connecting to these roles,” she said.

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