Actress Richa Chadha will next star in Madam Chief Minister which is being helmed by director Subhash Kapoor. The first poster was unveiled recently but it received a lot of criticism from netizens over casual casteism. The makers received backlash over a Savarna, an upper-class woman playing the role of an untouchable. Many expressed their outrage over the fact that the broom is being used as a prop when it is known as a symbol of Dalit oppression and that the poster is stereotyping the community.
After the intense backlash, Richa Chadha released a long statement on January 15, 2021, addressing the issue. “This film was a learning experience for me, for us all. The promotions were no different. The first poster that was released faced severe criticism, rightly so. What to me (and my privileged eyes) was a mere prop used by my character in a scene, came across as a stereotypical portrayal of Dalits for many of our people,” she said in a statement.
Glad to present to you all, my new movie #MadamChiefMinister, a political drama about an ‘untouchable’ who hustles and makes it big in life! Out in cinemas on 22nd January! Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/7dXDY1KRIX
— TheRichaChadha (@RichaChadha) January 4, 2021
“As an actor, I receive the communication for posting, complete with the copy, handles, and hashtags. Needless to say, I have no role in the designing of promotional materials. By saying this, I am not throwing the makers under the bus. They realised this inadvertent error and took this criticism in their stride. They responded immediately by retracting the objectionable poster and by releasing a new poster the very next day. It was a regrettable and completely unintentional oversight, not a deliberate insinuation. We are sorry. Our heart is in the right place. Hopefully, you will see that for yourself when you watch the film,” she further said.
Explaining her character Tara and what she stands for, Richa Chadha said, “We have made this film for love, as though we were on a mission to tell this story. Tara, one feisty oddball of a woman, fights patriarchy, caste oppression, brutal violence along with the usual betrayals of politics, to rise to the top and affect change. And she does so with incredible dignity and courage. I could relate to her righteous rage. She spoke to me. As the film nears release, I am becoming aware that I have to say goodbye to Tara. I am also aware that she will never entirely leave my side.”
Madam Chief Minister releases in theatres on 22 January.