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Richa Chadha: Love Sonia was gruelling, emotionally exhausting

The actress plays a sex worker in Tabrez Noorani's directorial debut.

Our Correspondent

Actress Richa Chadha has already picked up an award for Best Supporting Actress at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne this August, but when she was approached to take on the role of the sex worker Madhuri in Tabrez Noorani's hard-hitting film on the global sex trade, the actress was hesitant.

Chadha felt worried if the film would do justice to the sensitive subject and was relieved when Noorani showed her the research of over a decade that he had on the film. When she agreed to the part, she found the actual shoot exhausting and mentally taxing.

"The story was gruelling and emotionally exhausting," Chadha said. "As actors for us to go through this, through the process of enacting the life of these girls momentarily, scars us. I can only imagine what the girls in real life must be going through."

In her own research for the role, Chadha met several survivors of sex trafficking and heard their harrowing tales. After two and a half months of filming, during which she immersed herself in that world, the actress said she had to go in for pyschotherapy to come out of the part.

"To immerse [myself] in the role, live through those emotions, learn those realities and accept them to essay the role of Madhuri took its toll," she said. "We are lucky as educated people to have access to information and to facilities and I had to seek the help of professional 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."

Love Sonia, which also stars Mrunal Thakur, Anupam Kher, Rajkummar Rao, Manoj Bajpayee and Demi Moore, is due to be released in India on 14 September.