Yet to learn how things work in Bollywood: Geetanjali Thapa

Actor Geetanjali Thapa's film, 'Liar’s Dice', is India’s official entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Film category. She tells Shaheen Parkar what the honour means to her family back in Gangtok, her plans to venture beyond Bollywood and try regional cinema and indie shorts, and her philosophy of letting her work speak for itself

Four years ago, Geetanjali Thapa was slated to make her Bollywood debut in Amit Saxena’s 'Tina Ki Chaabi' with Ranvir Shorey as her co-star. The film did not see the light of day while Geetanjali went on to do some modelling assignments (she appeared in a hair product commercial with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and pursuing her celluloid dream. She landed parts in films that mostly did the festival rounds. One of her projects, 'Liar’s Dice', fetched her the National Award for Best Actress earlier this year. The film is now India’s official entry to the Oscars in the Best Foreign Film category. Though she is in the spotlight, Geetanjali remains unfazed and prefers to take things “as they come one at a time.”

Geetanjali Thapa
Geetanjali Thapa

It’s been a long journey from her home in Gangtok in Sikkim to Mumbai and now hoping for an Oscar nomination for Liar’s Dice. “It has yet to sink in,” she says. “After the film’s director (Geethu Mohandas) informed me about the Oscar entry, the first call that I made was to my family in Gangtok. I was keen to tell my dad about it. It was finally something,” she says.

Geetanjali Thapa in 'Liar's Dice'
A still from 'Liar's Dice', India’s official entry to the 2015 Oscars

Audition rounds
When she bagged the National Award, Geetanjali did not go around tomtoming her achievement. She says, “I prefer my work to do the talking. I have yet to learn how things operate in Bollywood. I feel it is better to be low-profile and let people notice you through your films. For me, it was one audition at a time; one film led to another. ”

Geetanjali Thapa at a beauty pageant in Guwahati in 2007
At a beauty pageant in Guwahati in 2007

Gitanjali Thapa's 2012 film ID bagged honours in the  festival circuit
Her 2012 film 'ID' bagged honours in the festival circuit

The former model, who has now made Mumbai her home, stays with her sister Kadambari who is completing her postgraduation in sociology. “I celebrated with my sister at home as the rest of my family is in Gangtok. Geethu (the director) is in Kerala and Nawazuddin Siddique (her co-star in 'Liar’s Dice') is in the US. I will have to wait for everyone to be in Mumbai.”

Geetanjali Thapa with Ranvir Shorey in Tina Ki Chaabi (2010) which did not release
With Ranvir Shorey in 'Tina Ki Chaabi' (2010) which did not release 

Geetanjali Thapa in Monsoon Shootout which was screened at the Cannes film festival 2013
In 'Monsoon Shootout' which was screened at the Cannes film festival 2013

In the film, Geetanjali essays the character of a woman who goes in search of her missing husband along with her daughter. “The child actor Manya Gupta, who is based in Shimla, is brilliant. The film has been screened at festivals.”

Choice of films
Geetanjali, who will next be seen with Emraan Hashmi in Danis Tanovic’s Tigers, was also part of Kamal KM’s 2012 film 'ID' that did the festival rounds. “I want to do all kinds of films — Bollywood, regional, indie and shorts,” says the actor who began by winning a beauty pageant in Guwahati in 2007. Sikkim’s best known export to Bollywood is veteran actor Danny Dengzongpa. The former beauty queen, however, feels this is just her beginning. Acting is something she always wanted to do from her school days. She has no plan for the future. “I live for the moment. It is better to take things as they come. At the moment, I am reading scripts and will continue auditioning for roles,” signs off the actor.

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