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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

Geeta Agrawal Sharma on bagging films like 12th Fail, Laapataa Ladies: 'One role led to another'

Geeta started her career with TV shows such as Kaisa Yeh Ishq Hai and made her film debut with the 2007 movie Foto

PTI Mumbai Published 25.03.24, 09:03 AM
A still from 12th Fail

A still from 12th Fail X

Actor Geeta Agrawal Sharma, who most recently starred in hit films like “12th Fail” and “Laapataa Ladies”, says while her screen presence was limited to supporting roles, it never went unnoticed.

From playing Madam Aulakh, a politician who runs a cocaine racket in Punjab in crime thriller web series "CAT", to Pushpa, a resilient mother in the aspirational drama feature "12th Fail" who eventually takes the charge of the house and farm, the actor is gradually becoming a constant in projects across genres and formats.

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Geeta started her career with TV shows such as “Kaisa Yeh Ishq Hai” and made her film debut with the 2007 movie “Foto”. A decade later, she featured in the comedy film "Mubarakan", which landed her a role in "OMG 2".

"I had done ‘Mubarakan’ in which I had worked alongside Pavan Malhotra, and he suggested my name to the director of ‘OMG 2’ (Amit Rai), as he had seen my work earlier.

"So, one role led to another. I had worked with Balwinder Singh Janjua, who was the writer of ‘Mubarakan’. He cast me in his directorial debut OTT series ‘CAT’ and later in his film, ‘Tera Kya Hoga Lovely’," the 50-year-old actor told PTI in an interview.

If she played Yashoda, a conventional mother who comes of age in the heart-warming gem "Laapataa Ladies", she also featured in the big-budget action drama "Fighter" as Usha, a mother torn between her daughter, essayed by Deepika Padukone, and husband (Ashutosh Rana).

"I had done a web series with director Siddharth Anand titled ‘Flesh’. He later offered me ‘Fighter’. It was a small yet beautiful role. It happens rarely that when you act alongside a superstar you are visible in the same frame. It was kind enough on the part of the director and editor to give me that presence," she added.

There have been times people have approached her for a film, saying "You are playing the role of a mother to 'x' actor", a character brief that puzzles the actor, who comes from theatre.

"I’m like, ‘What kind of offer is this?’ There has to be something substantial," she added.

What has changed for the better is that her characters are no longer nameless.

"When I was doing ‘Chhapaak’, my character had no name but in the script her name was Rama, this is what a woman director (Meghna Gulzar) does. In ‘A Suitable Boy’ (by Mira Nair), my character’s name was not there deliberately, she was addressed as Mrs Mahesh.

"In ‘12th Fail’, I remember my character’s name Pushpa was written on my hand. When you have a name for your character, you get that confidence. In ‘All India Rank’, my character’s name is Manju. Now, my characters have started having names. This is a big change that has happened," Geeta said.

The Wardha-born actor said most of her directors like Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, Anand, and Balwinder Singh Janjua have reached out to work with her again.

Mehra collaborated with Geeta on “Delhi 6”, which was her second film. She was then cast in “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” and “Mirzya”. Janjua is teaming up with the actor on the upcoming film “Sab First Class”.

“Whenever I work with a director, they often repeat me. Fortunately, I got to work with some great directors like Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, Mira Nair, Meghna Gulzar, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and Varun Grover. I don’t believe in luck but I’m glad I got to be part of great films. Irrespective of whether the role was small or big, it had a proper graph,” she said.

With her work standing out in different films, people have also started recognising her. Geeta, however, said she doesn't know how to take compliments.

"I get into a corner, get frightened, and feel the pressure. I remember meeting a man recently at an airport, who asked me for a selfie, and I said, ‘Okay’. He made me walk till two gates and said, ‘I want you to have a picture with my wife’. These things are better than the compliments,” she recalled.

Geeta, who has taught acting to students in Haryana schools and colleges, said she feels a certain responsibility to portray different shades of women on screen.

“Acting is an opportunity for me to live the life of a new person every time, to get into the skin of their personality. Acting is a kind of an art, which definitely has some purpose. If I get to represent the life of everyone around us, it would be great.

"I’ve played the role of a sports coach, a wife of a politician, a poor woman, among many others. Through these characters, I got to live different lives on screen. There are thousands of such characters that should be represented. I hope directors offer me those roles and think that I can play those parts well,” she said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)

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