“I have to live different lives on screen”

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Actress Geeta Agrawal Sharma, who recently starred in hit films like 12th failure And Laapataa Ladiessays that although her on-screen presence was limited to supporting roles, she never went unnoticed.

On the role of Madam Aulakh, a politician who runs a cocaine racket in Punjab in a crime thriller web series CAT, to Pushpa, a resilient mother in the ambitious feature-length drama 12th failure who ultimately takes charge of the house and the farm, the actor gradually becomes a constant in projects of all genres and formats.

Geeta started her career with TV shows such as Kaisa Yeh Ishq Hai and made his film debut with the 2007 film Photo. A decade later, she featured in the comedy film Moubarakanwhich earned him a role in OMG 2.

“I've done Moubarakan in which I had worked alongside Pavan Malhotra, and he suggested my name to the director of OMG 2 (Amit Rai), because he had seen my work earlier.

“So one role led to another. I had worked with Balwinder Singh Janjua, who was the author of Moubarakan. He cast me in his first OTT directorial series “CAT” and later in his film, Tera Kya Hoga Belle“, the 50-year-old actor told PTI in an interview.

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

“I had made a web series with director Siddharth Anand called 'Flesh'. He then offered me Fighter. It was a small but beautiful role. It rarely happens that when you act alongside a superstar, you are visible in the same frame. It was quite nice of the director and editor to offer me this presence,” she added.

There have been times when people have approached her for a film saying, “You are playing the role of a mother to 'x' actor”, a character that perplexes the actor, who comes from theater.

“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 its characters are no longer anonymous.

“When I was doing Chhapaak, my character didn't have a name but in the script her name was Rama, that's what a director (Meghna Gulzar) does. In 'A Suitable Boy' (by Mira Nair), my character's name was not there deliberately, she was called 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 character is Manju. Now my characters “I started having names. It’s 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 had contacted to work with her again.

Mehra collaborated with Geeta on 'Delhi 6', which was her second film. She was later 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, he often repeats me. Luckily, I got to work with 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 a part of big films. Whether the role was small or big, it had a suitable graphic,” she said.

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

“I find myself in a corner, I'm scared and I feel the pressure. I remember meeting a man in an airport recently, who asked me for a selfie, and I said, 'Okay.' He walked me two doors down and said, “I want you to take a picture with my wife. These things are better than compliments,” she recalls.

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

“Acting is for me the opportunity to live the life of a new person each time, to get under the skin of their personality. Acting is a kind of art that certainly has a purpose. If I could represent the lives of everyone around us, that would be great.

“I played the role of a sports coach, a politician's wife, a poor woman, among others. Through these characters, I was able to live different lives on screen. He “There are thousands of such characters who should be portrayed. I hope directors offer me these roles and think I can play them well,” she said.

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