National award winner, Geetanjali Thapa speaks to SHUBARNA MUKERJI SHU about her insecurities and her film, Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz, directed by Onir
Onir is back with a love story after a long time and it is hardly a surprise that he has picked one which is as unique as the rest of his work. This one is a love story between a RJ and a girl suffering from leukoderma. Knowing Onir, we are certain this will be one emotional roller-coaster, but here’s what his lead actress, Geetanjali Thapa has to say.
How was it working on Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz?
I had a wonderful time. We had such interesting and fun workshops for the film. It was rather extensive. Of course, I didn’t meet Zain (Khan Durrani), as was Onir’s diktat. According to the script we don’t meet for the longest time, so he wanted to keep it that way. So my workshops were around others, we all sat down and back-storied for them, where they are from, what kind of life they have, what do they do when they wake-up in the mornings, how they like their coffee to even the major life changing experiences and their responses to it….
You know what I liked about the film, it doesn’t wait for love to give the girl the confidence, she might be suffering from leukoderma, but she is a self-made woman.
I think playing Archana really helped me a lot too. I found the process very cathartic. Playing different characters makes you enrich your own resources, you dip into library of experiences and create something else on screen. Like you rightly said, she is a confident girl. She is not waiting for love to come and set her free. She is out there doing her own thing, of course, she has insecurities. These insecurities are like the ones you or I would be having…how do I look, how do I sound, what should I eat, how my breasts look…or it could be things we make up in our heads too. Archana has those things, but despite that, she wakes up in the morning and lives her life to the fullest. It is not like she is waiting for her knight in shining armour come and rescue her. She is a very happy person already.
How did you dig the compassion and understanding for the role and conquer it?
I think playing Archana was rather therapeutic, because it opened me up to so much. Abhishek Chatterjee has based this character on a friend of his. So I had so many stories to learn from. As for the understanding, well, I could completely relate to what she might be feeling. It is how people look at you, how people make you feel. I don’t look like the quintessential Indian Hindi film actor. I face this judgement a lot…I don’t have a problem with how I look, but I was made aware of how I look different than a lot other people around me. So I could relate to that… People make her feel she is different, for me that’s because I am from the northeast. It turns into your insecurity whether you like it or not.
What was your take away?
I learnt so much when I was working with Abhishek… I cannot really pick one particular thing that you take away from this kind of an experience. I guess, I learnt a little about accepting myself, If you love yourself, you can also give. If you are insecure, bothered, you will focus all your energies on yourself and not be able to give…
Tell us about Onir.
He is a very sweet, sensitive person, he is always smiling, he sets the mood of the set. You take one look at his infectious smile and follow the calm.
Now we talk about the heartthrob… Zain!
He has done a wonderful job in the film, but I really cannot talk about how wonderful it was to work with him, because we didn’t meet throughout the filming or even during the workshops. The characters meet at a certain point in the film; they are interacting through messages or calls. We were not allowed to meet or talk to each other, other than the times we were shooting. I finally met him when we did the scene where we meet… so it was all too real. Believe me, when we look at each other, it was almost like the first time we saw each other. Though we were speaking over the phone. Everyone around me was saying, how handsome he is, how wonderful he sounds, I would be like yes, I know how he sounds…I have been talking to him all the time, but I want to see him.