From playing the little firecracker in Chak De India to the challenging role of a remand home girl, Chitrashi Rawat has come a long way. The bubbly actress talks about her latest film Black Home and how she went about portraying the complex character of Mirchi.

Chitrashi Rawat

Chitrashi Rawat

From Chak De India to Black Home, how would you describe your growth as an actor?  

I would like to believe that I’ve definitely evolved not only as an actor but also as a person. It has been fairly good, many lessons learnt, experiences gained. When I did Chak De India, I was this little ignorant kid who knew only about hockey and was completely alien to the film industry and its working. I didn’t know what I was doing in the film except playing hockey. But by the time I finished Chak De… I realized that there is so much that you can learn in this industry. And with every project I’ve done so far I’ve only learned on the job. And today I feel I’m mature enough to be part of a film like Black Home that deals with such sensitive issues. You need to be able to feel that in order to perform.

You come from a non-film background and don’t have any formal training in acting, has that been a challenge in any way?

Actually, it was not all that challenging in terms of acting. But since I didn’t know anyone from the industry it was difficult to meet the kind of people you would want to. Having said that the Chak De… tag helped me a lot. It got me respect as an actor. In fact while promoting the film a lot of people would ask me if I was from NSD (National School of Drama) and I didn’t even know what that was. Finally, one of my Chak De… mates told me about it (NSD). I’ve been very lucky to have worked with great directors and every one of them has always made me feel very comfortable.

A shot from Black Home

A shot from Black Home

What drew you towards Black Home?

The gut-wrenching stories of those remand home girls who are isolated from society. The fact that this film is based on true incidents and how well researched it was. Everything about this film drew me towards it. We share inspiring quotes and listen to compelling speeches but we are far behind. We’re unaware of the dark reality of our society. These girls live in an unjust, unfair & broken society with a distinction of strong and weak. And the weak if not always, but often, are exploited on some level. This is my small contribution as an actor to bring awareness regarding this crucial problem. We are in need of better childcare & easy adoption facilities. Every little girl, even a juvenile offender, deserves a better life.

Since you play a remand home girl, what was the kind of mental preparation that you had to undergo? Did you do any research or referencing for your character?

I had to literally push myself. When I read the script for the first time, I was stunned for a few hours. I didn’t know how to react or what to make of it. It was so hard hitting. I was so angry and emotional at the same time and couldn’t believe that these girls have to face such brutality every single day. It was a painful process. I googled and read more about this subject and also had long sessions with my director.

Tell us about your association with Director Ashish Deo. How did he help you get into the character?

The first thing he said to me was, ‘Beta we’re making this film for a cause and I can only see you in this character.’ I was so touched because it is a proud feeling when a director tells you that, it’s the biggest compliment for any actor. He just said that this film is about those remand home girls who are suffering everyday. Ashish Sir had researched this subject for four years and helped me a lot. In fact whatever I’ve portrayed in the film is because of him. He knew every small detail of remand homes and those girls and gave me all his information and knowledge about this character.

Would it be right to say that this is one of the most challenging roles you have played? Did it affect you emotionally, beyond the character too?

Yes, most definitely! This role has been excruciating. It was physically & mentally challenging to portray the character of Mirchi. She murders her own brother because he was raping her cousin sister. Personally, I couldn’t connect with this role because I’ve never been exposed to this part of society. It was beyond my imagination to even think how these little girls go through it every single day. But the good part about the role was that Mirchi is someone who defends, rescues & fights for the weak with all her heart. It did affect me emotionally, I was so angry. Every night I would think about these girls and it depressed me. I realized how blessed I am to have this beautiful life. It reminded me that there is so much work before us – the work of mercy, justice & humility. And I need to be doing something about it. I’m so glad that I got to do this film.

You’ve dabbled with television, films and even theatre. Which medium is closest to your heart and why? Would you do more of TV if given a choice?

I love films and am a complete movie buff. I started my career with films so they have a very special place in my heart. I love the whole process of filmmaking. It’s a big fantasy world where some things are true & some are merely your imagination. I love theater also; it gives you a different high. Performing in front of a live audience is enchanting. I would consider television if given a very interesting role. Regular soap operas are not my cup of tea.

Chitrashi Rawat in Black Home

Chitrashi Rawat in Black Home

Are you open to doing song and dance roles as well? Any particular roles that you look forward to playing?

Umm…not the typical types. I don’t fit in that bracket. I want to do all kinds of roles that have some challenge, where I get to explore more as an actor. I would love be a part of an action film where I get to do all kind of stunts. I think I’ll make a kick-ass little ninja fighter (laughs). I would love to be a part of a sports film. Basically, any role, which can challenge me physically and mentally.

Which actors do you look up to in the industry? And filmmakers you wish to work with?

Aamir Sir, SRK Sir and Mr.Bachchan. It’s an unfair question to any actor. If given a chance I would love to work with all the wonderful directors like Raju Hirani, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Shekhar Kapoor, Anurag Kashyap, Kiran Rao, Vishal Bharadwaj, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and my list goes on.

For someone who has made it on her own in the industry, are you happy with the way your career is progressing?

Yes, I’m happy with the fact that I’ve made it on my own, on my terms without any backup and support but of course I’m not satisfied. I never will be till the time I’m working. The aspiration of an actor should never die. I feel its time for me to move on to conquer new battles, scale new heights and acquire the courage to do so with grace and style.

Can you tell us a little about your upcoming projects?

My next film is an out and out comedy where I have a glamorous avatar. I can’t disclose more about it. I’m also doing a comedy musical play called Baap Ka Baap with Asraniji and Padmini Kolhapure. I play a funky NRI in it. We’ve done 25 shows so far and it’s doing very well.