Home » EXCLUSIVE: Chhaya Kadam on bagging Grand Prix for All We Imagine as Light; says, “The role was written for me”

EXCLUSIVE: Chhaya Kadam on bagging Grand Prix for All We Imagine as Light; says, “The role was written for me”

by Sanika Ratnaparkhi


Chhaya Kadam elaborates on her experience winning the Grand Prix at the 77th Cannes Film Festival. She also sheds light on the process for All We Imagine as Light.

Actress Chhaya Kadam has been making headlines for her mesmerising performances in Kiran Rao’s Laapataa Ladies and Kunal Khemu’s Madgaon Express. The actress also starred in Payal Kapadia’s Grand Prix-winning movie All We Imagine as Light. Apart from bagging the Grand Prix at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, the actress has been winning several hearts. In light of her recent win, we sat down with her for an exclusive interview where she opened up about her struggle in the industry, her process of getting into the skin of the character, and, above all, about her journey with a director like Payal Kapadia.

How did you start the process for All We Imagine as Light?

Before meeting Payal Kapadia, I met Sachin Khurana for the same film, and I knew that he was going offer a good role. He knew my process very well and was aware of the fact that I don’t usually audition for the role. Hence, rather than going the usual way, we decided to meet for a chat, wherein he introduced me to the character, and I started understanding Parvati (Character from All We Imagine as Light) in bits and pieces. I initially met Parvati as a friend, and in no time, I could relate to her. “Yeh mere siva aur koi kar nahi sakta hai, yeh mere liye likha hua hai” (No one apart from me can play this character; it has been written for me.) That is how close I felt to the character. Parvati was relatable because she is from Konkan and close to my age. 

How was your experience working with Payal Kapadia?

Payal had seen my work, and hence she had me in mind while casting Parvati. She knows her character very well, from writing a character to portraying it on screen. There is a lot of transition in this process, and she knows how to smoothly take you through it. We did a lot of workshops for the movie, where we learned and studied the character in detail.

How were the workshops crafted?

In the workshop, we worked on everything, even the minute words said by the character. If we said a sentence in a particular way, we were made to think about why we were saying it in such a way. As actors, we often take artistic liberty by making additions, saying impromptu dialogues, etc. But here it wasn’t like this; everything was decided. The number of words, the tonality, and even the pauses were decided beforehand.

What is your opinion about Payal Kapadia’s process as a director?

I really enjoyed the process. Payal worked on this script for 5 years, and that was visible in her thorough research. As actors, we try to leave our prints on different characters, and this might not always have positive repercussions because, beyond a certain point, all the characters might start to appear the same. The audience, too, is extremely intelligent, and they can make out these things. Hence, at times I like to go by the director’s thoughts, which is what I did here too. Both of us always wanted to create something “vegla” (different), and hence we had several discussions on bringing that uniqueness alive into the performance.

Apart from this, Chhaya Kadam also elaborated on her experience working with Kiran Rao, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ravi Jadhav, Nagraj Manjule, and other renowned directors. She further gave us insights into how wonderful and deeply blessed she considers herself to have bagged such empowering and good roles.

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