Actor Richa Chadha, who plays an upright investigating officer on "The Great Indian Murder", on Tuesday said the role is a departure from some of her previous characters which weren't as "understated" as the one in the upcoming Disney+ Hotstar thriller series. Directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia, the whodunnit is an adaptation of Vikas Swarup's acclaimed novel "Six Suspects", which revolves around the murder of the son of a high-profile minister. The show also features "Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta" star Pratik Gandhi.
Chadha, known for her performances in films like the "Gangs of Wasseypur" series, "Fukrey" franchise and "Masaan", said Dhulia's only brief for her to portray DCP Sudha Bharadwaj was to play the role with a "lot of dignity".
"But that doesn't mean she doesn't have a sense of humour or there won't be any lighter moments in her life when something tragic has happened in her personal life. I built the character keeping those nuances in mind.
"I haven't really got a chance to play straight-up, 'normal' characters. They are either abusive, extremely rural or a ganglord... But this is perhaps one of the most straight, upfront characters I have played," Chadha told reporters during the virtual trailer launch of the show.
The 35-year-old actor said when she embodied the character, it gave her a sense of direction as an artiste on how to approach her scenes. With "The Great Indian Murder", Chadha said, it was important for her to keep her performance subtle.
"My character guided me in which direction to go. It is difficult for actors because you are always told to create something new. Sometimes it is extremely hard to just sit back.... Here, I am playing an investigator, so it is all about my eyes, I have to read between the lines, understand what people are saying and what they mean. It was tough to stay understated and perform in this male (dominated) world for the character."
At the press conference, the actor was joined by Gandhi, who plays Suraj Yadav, a Central Bureau of Investigation officer, tasked with uncovering the mystery surrounding the murder along with Chadha's Bharadwaj. Gandhi said he was intrigued how the show deviated from the book and came up with two new characters, his and Chadha's. The series has been co-written by Dhulia, Vijay Maurya and Puneet Sharma.
"It was an extremely challenging and interesting character. Richa and my character are not the part of the book, they were especially written for the 'The Great Indian Murder'. It was exciting for me because after reading the book, when I started reading the script, I was fascinated by how they took the story forward. I had ample opportunities to play those layers with humour," he added.
Swarup said "Six Suspects" was a "complex" book to translate to screen as the viewpoints of the suspects -- each of whom represents a different stratum of society -- keeps shifting.
The author lauded the team for not compromising on the scale of the show and said that new characters were required as additions to act as narrators for the story.
"Richa and Pratik's characters have been added, because in a show, you must have a 'sutradhar' (narrator), which you don't need in a subplot. A book has subplots, interior monologue, but a screen is in your face, which goes from point A to B, to C," he added.
"The Great Indian Murder" also stars Raghubir Yadav, Ashutosh Rana, Sharib Hashmi, Amey Wagh, Jatin Goswami, Shashank Arora and Paoli Dam.
The show is backed by actor Ajay Devgn and producer Priti Vinay Sinha, who have produced the series under their banner ADF and RLE Media for Disney+ Hotstar.
The series is set to be released on February 4.