Richa Gangopadhyay (born Antara Richa Gangopadhyay on 20 March 1986) is an Indian film actress and model who predominantly appeared in Telugu films. She has also appeared in a few Tamil and Bengali films. She is pursuing an MBA degree from Washington University, USA. After appearing in commercials, she made her film debut with Telugu political drama film Leader (2010) and later worked on several commercially successful Telugu films like Nagavalli (2010), Mirapakaay (2011), Sarocharu (2012) and Mirchi (2013).
She also played the lead in two Tamil films, including Dabangg remake, Osthe (2012), and critically acclaimed film, Mayakkam Enna (2012), directed by Selvaraghavan, for which she received numerous ‘Best Actress’ awards. She also appeared in the Bengali film Bikram Singha. In October 2013, Gangopadhyay announced that she would leave the film industry and move back to the USA to pursue her MBA. In short span of four years career, she starred along with prominent Telugu, Tamil and Bengali actors like Venkatesh, Nagarjuna, Ravi Teja, Prabhas, Dhanush and Prosenjit.
In 2005 and 2006, Gangopadhyay began participating in beauty pageants and finished in the top ten in the Miss India USA competitions, winning a smaller prize for Miss Congeniality. In August 2007, Gangopadhyay won the Miss Michigan pageant and in December, she was crowned Miss India USA 2007 at the 26th annual pageant held at Royal Albert’s Palace in New Jersey. During the competition, she also secured the title of Miss Photogenic and qualified to represent USA in the 17th Annual Miss India Worldwide Pageant held in Johannesburg.
Gangopadhyay left the USA in 2008 for Mumbai, India to embark on a career in films. She subsequently graduated with a diploma in acting from Anupam Kher’s acting school, Actor Prepares, and completed her portfolio, earning offers for work in fashion shows and for modelling. In early 2009, Gangopadhyay featured in a commercial for Vatika Almond Hair Oil alongside Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, while she also worked as a model for Peter England, Malabar Gold and Kalaniketan.
Gangopadhyay was signed on to portray the lead role in the 2010 Telugu films, Leader produced by AVM Productions and directed by Sekhar Kammula. She was recommended to an assistant director of Leader whilst at a gym, who in turn recommended her to Sekhar Kammula. Gangopadhyay went to Hyderabad and auditioned for the film on her birthday. She was selected instantly and shooting started 2 days later. In the film, she played the role of Archana, a Correspondent with a TV channel and a daughter of a politician who falls in love with the title character, played by debutant Rana Daggubati. The film opened to positive reviews and did well commercially, with Gangopadhyay’s performance described as “pretty and charming” and “good in a performance oriented role” by critics.
After the success of the film, director P. Vasu signed her up to appear in Nagavalli, a sequel to his 2005 film Chandramukhi. The film featured an ensemble cast of Venkatesh, Anushka Shetty, Shraddha Das and Poonam Kaur. During the production of the film, Vasu was initially unimpressed and Gangopadhyay has revealed that he had planned to drop her from the project. The film also opened to mixed reviews, with Gangopadhyay’s portrayal of a girl psychologically possessed by the ghost of Nagavalli, leading to critics dubbing her as “impressive” and “convincing”.
Her first release in 2011 was the action film Mirapakaay starring opposite Ravi Teja for the first time. She was signed after the director of the film, Harish Shankar who had noticed her at the success party of her previous film Leader. He initially offered her the role played by Deeksha as she was an NRI, but when they met to review the script, he was convinced that Gangopadhyay would do justice to the character of Vinamra, a traditional Brahmin girl. The film opened to good reviews with Gangopadhyay’s performance being described as “just about okay” by critics.
Gangopadhyay was next seen in two Tamil films; the first being Mayakkam Enna, a drama film based on marriage featuring Dhanush and directed by Selvaraghavan which earned her tremondous positive reviews and appreciation from all over. She then appeared alongside Silambarasan in Dharani’s Osthe, the Tamil remake of the 2010 Hindi film Dabangg, winning criticical acclaim for her role as Neduvaali. In 2012, she made her debut in Bengali, her mother tongue, through the film Bikram Singha : The Lion Is Back opposite the prolific Prosenjit Chatterjee, a remake of the Telugu film Vikramarkudu. She also featured in the Telugu films Sarocharu, Mirchi and Bhai opposite actors Ravi Teja, Prabhas and Nagarjuna which were released in 2012 and 2013.