Geetanjali Thapa now laughs off comments saying ‘she is not Indian enough’

Coming from Sikkim, physical appearance did create a hindrance for national award-winning actor Geetanjali Thapa as she says she faced “discrimination” here.

“I have faced discrimination. I have been told I can’t do this as I don’t look Indian enough. People say ‘she is a good actor but she doesn’t (look) Indian’. I used to feel sad about it, but now I have developed a thick skin.

“I laugh it off, it doesn’t affect me at all. I am here and doing good work. There are filmmakers, who are willing to cast me and that is great,” Thapa told PTI.

Sikkim’s best known face in Bollywood is veteran actor Danny Denzongpa and Thapa is sharing the screen space with him in Bioscopewala.

She says the perception towards them is changing slowly but it cannot happen overnight.

“There are certain filmmakers who are willing to change the history or ethnicity or backstory of a character to fit me and that is great.

“Why should I always play a girl from northeast? Maybe, I can play an Indian girl, who is studying in Diu or Mumbai or from Bangalore. I think all this will change but it will take time. I think we have to move forward. Slowly but surely things are changing,” she said.

Bioscopewala is a modern-day adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s 1892 short story Kabuliwala.

“I remember reading about Kabuliwala during my school days. I had seen the Hindi version which had Balraj Sahini in it. I had not seen the Bengali version. I watched it sometime ago. I had auditioned for the role and that’s how I got it,” she said.

Besides Denzongpa and Thapa, the film also boasts of performers like Adil Hussain and Tisca Chopra.

“They were all very warm and helpful, they did not intimidate me, they were very accommodating. They are a brilliant bunch of actors, they pushed me to make my craft better.

“It was like a masterclass. I am grateful for this masterclass. It has made me better as an actor, I learnt a lot from actors, technicians, crew, etc. It was an enriching experience,” she said.

Thapa, who has been part of films like Monsoon Shootout, Liar’s Dice, Trapped, says it is not easy to get the roles she wants to do.

“I do get good scripts but at the same time, it is not easy. I am happy and content with my work. I go for good scripts. It can be full length, a short film, a web series or a regional film. The role has to excite me, be it in the commercial space or indie.”

Thapa said she would like to be accepted in all kinds of films.

“It has turned out that I like doing only certain kind of films, but it is not a conscious decision. It has worked out that way. I am a greedy actor, I want to do it all.”

The song and dance films are also on her wish list.

“I watch those films and I find them entertaining. Song and dance doesn’t mean it is frizzle. There have been films that have good content as well. If given an opportunity, I wouldn’t mind trying song and dance films, it maybe a stress buster,” she said.