Critics and the audience have lauded Geetika Vidya’s performance as Sunita in Anubhav Sinha’s Thappad.
In this interview with indianexpress.com, Vidya spoke about how she got into her character and the scenes that made her understand Sunita.
How did you get into your character?
First, I focused on the script to see what space has been given to her and then, I tried to see how her story is unfolding and how much say or effect she has on people and situations around her.
After I read the script, I noted down her solo scenes and tried to understand how she behaves when there is no one else around her. And how she creates her own space even when people are around her.
I thought of three-four women from my personal experiences (who have gone through domestic abuse/violence). What I picked up from their experiences was their strength. One of the house-helps was looking tired. When my mother tried to ask her what happened, she told us her husband had locked her out of the house and she had to sleep on the platform that night. She could not eat or take a bath. So, that is what I picked up. Her reality of having being locked out of the house was what I was thinking of when I was putting oil in Amrita’s (Taapsee’s character) hair when I say if ‘I get locked, where will I go? What will happen to me?’
How did Anubhav Sinha help you become Sunita?
He was a great help because he ensured the atmosphere on the set was very inclusive. There was harmony in the entire group, which enables me to be at my best. Also, he relentlessly worked on the script. When an actor has a good script, he/she has a lot. If a character is not carved well, you as an actor go an extra mile to perform it. (To play Sunita) I had the observation from my life, but he gave me a character that had spaces for these observations. I was given a beautiful script, which helped me to perform. Also, he was open to suggestions.
At one point, he clearly mentioned that the audiences’ heart should jump with delight. I asked him if there is going to be vibrancy here. He said yes. And this is the ball scene. He made me understand where the scene would come in. He told me the scene will have a sense of liberty. I had made a graph of my emotions but sometimes if I would ask him to remind and he would. This helped me.
What would be the one scene that spoke to you a lot about Sunita?
A scene that spoke to me a lot about Sunita would be the ball sequence. The way she throws the ball explains how her spirit is. As an actor who is trying to understand the character, her dance, in the end, makes so much sense because of the ball scene because I know how she is as a person from inside. Her spirit is such. Also, the ball scene was not in the first draft of the script. Even the dance scene was an addition. But for me, the ball scene was so much important. The moment Anubhav Sinha narrated me the scene, I was like ‘now I know who Sunita is.’
Also read | Thappad movie review: Anubhav Sinha film is important | Would have been waste of opportunity had we restricted Thappad’s story to upper-middle class: Anubhav Sinha | Taapsee Pannu on Thappad: Was claustrophobic while playing Amrita
How does it feel that your character/performance has stood out in the film?
I knew the director loved the character, but people loving the character is good for my growth in terms of an actor. It is a good feeling that people are appreciating my hard work. However, I hope people are not laughing at Sunita. I hope they are able to understand that this character is fighting with so many things and yet so happy.
How important was it to be part of Thappad?
It was really important for me to be part of the film once I read the script. I play a character which is not a protagonist in Bollywood terms, but I discovered I wanted to be part of the film because the story injects a change in the audience. The film sensitises you, and it reminds women how much they should love themselves. It is a lesson on one aspect of humanity.
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