Geetika Vidya’s role as police officer Soni in the crime drama by the same name, firmly put her in the list of actors to follow for character roles. Triggered by the infamous Delhi gangrape case, the film explores the issue of female safety and violence against women through the eyes of a police woman, who herself is put through situations that are not safe, like confronting goons and drunk men who think they have a free pass to challenge the authority of a female officer.
Since then Geetika Vidya says she has focussed on portrayals that are more rooted to the real world, including that of the maid Sunita in Taapsee Pannu starrer Thappad who eventually stands up to her abusive husband.
Has the film industry finally gotten rid of the heroine who is expected to dance around trees and be eye candy to her hero? Or is it too early to draw that conclusion? Vidya believes that things are changing.
“When you say there is more to actresses today than just be a source of aesthetic delight to look at and things like that, I agree with you on that. My character Soni, had no makeup at all, and received a lot of love. Even Sunita as a character has no glamour to offer. I wouldn’t say no beauty to offer to you, because there is a lot of beauty in that character– beauty of strength, beauty of resilience, but physical glamour, that the character has none of it to offer to.”
Geetika Vidya is an actor to watch out for. She brings reality to complex characters with ease
Vidya insists while its not appropriate to ‘de-glam’ the female characters for the sake of it, but it must reflect the role. “In characters where there is no seduction, no glamour, when there is just strength and it is not either or, you do not necessarily need to be de-glamed (there is no such word may be…) to be a woman of strong character that is not the binary with which I work. However, Sunita and Soni’s characters are a clear example of how the story or the layers of your personality add to what you have to say and not your lip colour, or the slimness of your waist and other things.”
As the film industry sees a change in society, is it finally embracing its power to change the narrative? Today actors are taking to public forums and speaking up. It doesn’t come easy, we have seen with actors like Richa Chadha and Swara Bhasker, who got rape and death threats for speaking out on political issues.
Geetika Vidya too spoke up about the Unnao rape case and the anti-CAA movement. What motivated her to take that risk, despite knowing the kind of consequences such statements could bear for women actors? “The CAA conversation and Unnao thing came absolutely from within and that day I felt that I am getting on a platform, I will be seen and heard by so many people. I don’t know what all we will be talking about but if this is not what we are talking about, I will have some angst with me which will increase. So, I have to release it by bringing it to table. And I did.”
Vidya adds, it’s not an actor’s responsibility to speak publicly, but for her it’s important. “I am not saying that it is important for actors to do it, but it was important for me and I am that person. If I was a teacher, if I was someone else, I would’ve still spoken about it. I am Geetika and I am happy to be an actor. Now, I probably am an actor today because of the kind of person that I’ve been throughout my life because of how we are shaped, and if we allow ourselves to be, and we have enough resources around us, our being shapes our perfection around us.”
She further drove her point home by explaining the kind of impact that an actor can generate when they speak up on social and political issues, “For example, if Ramachandra Guha says something or Vandana Shiva says something, they won’t reach as much people as what Deepika Padukone says. We can be the platform to exchange the vital message/information and it is important that we do because we will reach a lot of people.”