Geetanjali Kulkarni was a seasoned theatre actor with tons of of exhibits in experimental and business theatre below her belt, earlier than most of us first noticed her on a display. As the general public prosecutor Nutan within the movie Court docket, Geetanjali redefined what performing meant, bringing a realism to her efficiency that we had seldom seen earlier than.
The actor made her OTT debut with a small function within the sequence Choice Day on Netflix. Her large digital breakthrough second got here with Gullak on Sony Liv, the place she gained hearts as Shanti Mishra and made individuals actually sit up and spot her versatility as an actor. She then went to wow us as Sarita in Taj Mahal 1989 on Disney+ Hotstar, and Sushila Shekhar, a corrupt cop with simply sufficient conscience within the second season of Aarya.
However maybe her most shifting efficiency was within the quick movie ‘Battle Room’ which was a part of the anthology Unpaused-Naya Safar on Amazon Prime. Geetanjali performed the function of a trainer volunteering in a Covid struggle room, serving to individuals get entry to hospital beds. The actor was merely spectacular as a heartbroken mom, who finds herself able to both assist or harm a person who she holds liable for her son’s suicide.
A graduate from the distinguished Nationwide College of Drama, Geetanjali believes that performing is not only occupation, but in addition her ardour and technique of expression. She shares that rising up, she was impressed by actors like Shabana Azmi, Anita Kanwar, Deepa Sahi, Smita Pati and Sulabha Deshpande whom she noticed on tv as part of India’s then blossoming parallel cinema motion. Watching these proficient ladies who didn’t match into the traditional glamorous heroine mould, gave her the inspiration to pursue her desires as an actor too.
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Having all the time needed to work in Marathi theatre, she was comfortable to get roles in Marathi performs after coming to Mumbai. The stage, she shares, is a much more inclusive platform and actors get the chance to play various elements. From enjoying an elephant in an adaptation of The Elephant’s Journey by the late Portuguese Nobel Laureate José de Sousa Saramago, to enjoying each Viola and Cessario in Piya Behrupiya, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Evening, Geetanjali has really explored her versatility as an actor on stage. Maybe these alternatives gave Geetanjali the arrogance to constantly select new genres and elements in movie and on OTT platforms.
As easy as her performances appear, she shares that as an actor and artist she is methodical, and course of pushed. Geetanjali shares that earlier than she started work on the primary season of Gullak she was particularly diligent, for the reason that accent, method of talking and setting weren’t acquainted to her. “I’m somebody who must get conversant in the character and my co-actors. Fortunately with Gullak TVF additionally insisted on rehearsals for 10 complete days earlier than we began capturing the primary season. In truth, to remain within the zone of the character and the present, I intentionally prevented chatting with anybody again dwelling for greater than a few minutes a day in order that I may keep away from talking Marathi. It was tough, however when the present acquired a lot love, all the trouble was value it,” she says.
Even with the character of Sushila Shekhar in Aarya 2, she made certain to do her homework. Geetanjali shares that she was curious to grasp why Sushila was the best way she was. She labored with Ram Madhvani over Zoom calls, constructing a backstory for Sushila and understanding her perspective.
However whereas she loves being part of good tales, she feels looking back that she was by no means star struck or determined to attain sure inflexible milestones inside a timeframe. She simply needed to play layered complicated roles and Geetanjali says she was lucky to maintain getting good alternatives.
Whether or not it was theatre, cinema and now OTT platforms, bringing to life ladies from such various backgrounds has broadened her horizons and made her extra empathetic as an individual. She says, “Being an actor and has empowered me as an individual. I come from a privileged background, and had quite a lot of assumptions about myself, society and even the ladies round me. Appearing and turning into part of such assorted worlds, has helped me turn into extra broadminded and empathetic as an individual. I’m positively influenced by the characters I play, and I really feel empowered by my work”.
Gullak for instance, is her tribute or try at celebrating a homemaker whose tireless efforts are seldom recognised. Geetanjali admits that as a teen she did have a sure perspective like so many people do about ladies who select to be homemakers or stay-at-home moms. However assembly ladies who’ve made these selections and enjoying the function of Mrs. Mishra modified her perceptions.
One other such alternative got here whereas enjoying the character of Sangeeta Waghmare within the quick movie Battle Room. She shares that enjoying Sangeeta has made her extra compassionate as an individual, not simply due to the grief the character is experiencing, but in addition due to the collective distress the nation had been via after the primary and second wave of the pandemic.
Geetanjali is wanting ahead to the discharge of Rangbaaz 3 on Zee 5 and can quickly start capturing for the just lately introduced movie Minimal, which is an immigrant drama. There’s Gullak Season 4 and probably an Aarya season 3 to look ahead to, however she will be able to’t reveal an excessive amount of in regards to the latter simply but.
As we log out, Geetanjali jokingly says, I feel I did Aarya Season 2 as a result of I used to be interested by what Sushila will do if there was a Season 3.” Maybe it’s this glorious mixture of curiosity and dedication that makes Geetanjali one of the gifted actors of our time, and an artist we’re but to see one of the best of.