Geetanjali Thapa on being low-key and letting her work speak

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By SAIONEE CHAKRABORTY
  • Published 8.10.13
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Sikkimese beauty Geetanjali Thapa, who made Calcutta home for a brief period and has “very fond memories of the time” she spent here with her “friends and relatives”, is making a noise with her indie films. A t2 chat…

Congratulations for I.D. and the recognition (best actress at Imagine India International Film Festival, Madrid, and Best Performance in the Narrative Competition at Los Angeles Film Fest) it is getting you...

We are very happy about the response and acknowledgement our film is getting. I.D. (directed by Kamal K.M.) is about identity, displacement, the so-called shining India and the people who are left behind. My character’s name is Charu.

What drew you to this film?

I met Kamal for the narration and liked the story immediately. I have great respect for what Kamal believes in and the way he perceives life. In a sense, we are all displaced at some level.... People like Resul Pookutty, Madhu Neelakandan, Rajeev Ravi, B. Ajith Kumar, Sunil Babu (all co-producers) and many others came together to make this film. They are masters at what they do. Anyone would have grabbed an opportunity to work with them!

You left Calcutta all of a sudden, just when you were carving a niche for yourself. Then we spotted you in the L’Oreal ad with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and haven’t heard of you till now. You haven’t really spoken about your films either. Why?

Well, it hasn’t been a bed of roses, it still isn’t. I’ve worked in independent films which don’t get wide releases, so you don’t get to hear much about them. Also, I like being low-key. I like doing my work and let it speak. I enjoy working on TVCs once in a while as they pay well and it’s a fun break from films.

You seem to have a knack for picking indie projects. Is that a conscious decision?

It isn’t a conscious decision. I want to do films that I like, films that I would watch myself. I want to work with people I look up to, whose work I admire and people I am comfortable with. Every film I’ve done has taught me a great deal. I’ve been very lucky so far to be working with such incredible people.

What is you favourite indie film of late?

The Lunchbox.

You have worked in Liar’s Dice. What is it about?

Liar’s Dice is a simple, beautiful film directed by Geethu Mohandas. It’s about a woman who defies the norms of the village she hails from and sets out on a journey along with her daughter to find her husband, who is a labourer and has gone missing.

Your co-star in Liar’s Dice is Nawazuddin Siddiqui. Are you a fan?

An ardent fan! He is such a wonderful person and a brilliant actor. He was very helpful and working with him was a very fulfilling experience.

You also have a Danis Tanovic (director of Oscar-winning No Man’s Land) film on your CV, White Lies...

White Lies was a lot of fun because I was acquainted with a different style of filmmaking. Danis was kind enough to explain various things to me. I would be nervous all the time, but he made sure that everyone on the set was working hard and having fun at the same time. I think the director establishes the tone on the set and he made it stress-free for all of us. (Co-star) Emraan Hashmi too was very gracious. He would help me with my lines and give me tips here and there. I am grateful that I got to work with such genuine and hard-working people.

What’s next?

I’ve been meeting directors and reading a few scripts. Let’s see where that goes.

Finally, when do we see your films release here?

Sometime next year, I can’t say for sure. Soon enough I hope!