Mumbai: She had no plans to enter Bollywood but made her debut in 2003 with Sudhir Mishra's Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi, and her performance was widely appreciated by critics and audience alike. In hindsight, Chitrangda Singh says her vulnerability worked in her favour, and that she was never rigid about things.
"When I sit down and watch some of the scenes from my debut film, I see a vulnerable girl on-screen, who just followed the vision of her film director, without knowing much about acting. Without trying to prove her skill as a performer, a level of being clueless at times.
"The fact is I am never rigid, fixing a goal or being ambitious," Chitrangda, whose next big screen outing is Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3, told IANS in an interview here.
That's why she feels she is "open to life".
"Even when a difficult situation comes my way, I am not heartbroken to think ‘Oh my God, what will happen next? This is not how not I planned my life!' My approach towards life is never that.
"Having said that, I am more focused on my career. I am focused enough to explore, but I do to make a strategy to do an item number for changing my image and then play a part in an offbeat film to maintain the image of an intellectual actor," she said.
There is an influx of women story writers and filmmakers in the Indian film industry. Chitrangda has joined the bandwagon as producer of Soorma. She believes a female gaze on a men's film would definitely be different.
The way a woman sees masculinity and power -- it brings a new perspective to a male character.
"My all-time favourite example is Kathryn Bigelow, who directed ‘The Hurt Locker'. I think whenever a woman is directing a film, the treatment changes from that of a man director."
So, does she plan to work more behind the camera now?
"Ideally as a cinema person, if I want to grow with a 360 degree angle, I should be doing everything and I am in the process of that. I am as greedy as any actress is, to be part of good cinema, interesting and impactful roles.
"I have written two scripts. I may produce it and may find a director to direct it. I have produced one film. In future, I will be doing more of that. So, I am trying to push the limit to grow as a creative person, in front and behind the camera," replied the 41-year-old actress.
Chitrangda's beauty is praised by everyone and her look has been compared with the late legendary Smita Patil.
Asked if good looks help an actress to find her way in the entertainment business faster, she said: "Yes, it does, because cinema is a visual medium. If I am born with a certain beauty, it will make people watch me on-screen, there is no doubt about it.
"Having said that, if my personality and my performance as an actress is not engaging enough, the audience will opt for the next. I think our audience has matured."
But did she get offered what many would call roles of 'eyecandy' in mainstream cinema?
"I did get offers of many roles where I am to play a hot, sensual woman, and when I asked them, 'Do I have anything else to do, except for looking good?' If their answer is ‘No', then I say ‘no' too," said the Desi Boyz actress.
In the pursuit of more meaningful characters, Chitrangda said she is open to work in the digital platforms.
"I think digital platforms are interesting for any performer because it gives so much opportunity to explore… There are stories and roles written for digital platforms whether it is Netflix, Amazon, otherwise we do not get to see them in mainstream entertainment.
"So given an opportunity, I would surely love to try out something on a digital platform."
Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster 3 is releasing on July 27.