With Gangs of Wasseypur completing seven years, Richa Chadha on how she was offered roles of hero’s mother post film

It may be one of the most iconic films on her résumé, but Richa Chadha says that the success of Gangs Of Wasseypur (2012) — that marked its seventh anniversary on Saturday — posed an unanticipated problem for her.

So convinced were filmmakers by her spirited act of Nagma Khatoon — the wife of Manoj Bajpai’s character Sardar and mother to Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s character Faizal — that the actor, then 25, was promptly stereotyped as an on-screen mother.

“I thought my career was over after Wasseypur. Post the film’s release, it was a struggle to break the image of an older woman. It was an uphill task to get filmmakers to meet me and make them believe that I looked starkly different from Nagma,” she recounts. Fortunately, her gumption was rewarded; the actor walked away with several awards that year.

Chadha points out how the instance was her first brush with Bollywood’s inherent sexism. “It highlights the sexism in our industry because I wasn’t the only one who was ageing on screen. Now, I would take it as a sign that I had played my part well. But at that time, I was confused by the industry’s response.”