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Dhaassyam Geetha Bhascker: The aunt next door

Dhaassyam Geetha Bhascker  

The decision to have Dhaassyam Geetha Bhascker play an aunt to Bhanumathi in Fidaa was nothing short of a casting wonder. Her un-cinematic histrionics and screen presence introduced us to an unlikely aunt-next-door actor, who made her celluloid debut when she’s touching 60. She concedes to a sudden burst of activity in her life now. A visual arts teacher and an educational trainer by profession, she’s also turning an author with the book Destiny’s Child as well. The mother of Pelli Choopulu director Tharun Bhascker, is enjoying the phase that’s come with a lot of firsts (actor, advertisements, turning an author). She gets candid in an interview, prior to the book launch and a Fidaa-platinum disc event at Sudarshan 35 mm.

“Tharun had taken me to Sekhar Kammula for the audition, and said that I wouldn’t anyway get past the audition. I saw that as a challenge and I made it. The Fidaa team told me it would only be a four-day schedule. I was frank enough to tell them that I wouldn’t want the film work to clash with my teaching routine; they’d agreed to it. Then I packed my bags and left for Banswada, a sleepy village that the filmmaker brought to life.” She was surprised to see people dropping everything to come and watch the shoot that sometimes happened from 7 am to 7 pm. She had no camera nervousness at all. Being a teacher helped, she says “I always knew how to conduct myself when there are a hundred eyes watching me. I’d never check the monitor to see how I did a shot. I would take work to sets and enjoyed interacting with a friendly team. It was supposed to be a short trip, but I ended up boarding the train seven times,” she smiles. “I didn’t inform anyone, except my family about acting in Fidaa. Many students call me amma, akka and Geetha; now I have a new name-Attamma.”

Growing up in Chennai, she had married an engineer Vudhay, (his expertise in numerology is the reason behind the spelling) based in Warangal. Living in a Telangana household meant that she had to learn the language fast; that did come to use in Fidaa. “I was scared to know what my son and daughter-in-law felt about the film. I didn’t want to embarrass them, that was the only concern.” Prior to Fidaa, her only interest in films was music. “People were shocked that I didn’t know anything about Sai Chand and his illustrious father.” She still remembers the songs she hears but not the film names, and points towards the radio set in her kitchen (gifted by her dad) without which she cannot cook. “Tharun keeps joking that music adds more flavour to my dishes.”

A diploma holder in fine arts, she’s good with artwork, embroidery, cooking and had also learnt music in the past. She feels the acting opportunity was essential to come to terms with her husband’s untimely death. “Many advised me not to enter films and be careful with my conduct on sets. I didn’t respond to them; films are like any other field, just that it’s overexposed in comparison to other arenas. My husband had always pushed my abilities forward and I too have a life. Many were questioning Tharun’s decision to turn a filmmaker then. I’d only told him that you’re fulfilling your late father’s wish.”

She was a proud mother a year earlier when Pelli Choopulu released, it’s the son’s turn to be proud of her now. “Talking to students, connecting to their thoughts on a daily basis sustains my energy. I always believe people shouldn’t shut their doors and be open to new horizons each day,” she signs off.

The book story

Dhaassyam Geetha Bhascker: The aunt next door

“I always had a flair for writing since childhood. Writing a book was something I should have done way earlier. The book ‘Destiny’s Child’ is an attempt to be modern at thinking and yet be rooted to our culture. It was an auto driver’s interest to learn and converse in English that helped me shape the characters in the book. I want my work to be read by ordinary people. I always enjoyed the storytelling workshops I had organised in schools, I feel I have a perspective that needs to be read. I would like to thank the contributions of Arcot Suresh (HOD of Nizam College) and Madhavi Kalyan (an energy therapist and healer).”

More to her

Before Fidaa, Geetha Bhascker had acted in Tharun Bhascker’s short film Anukokunda (shot for a 48-hour film contest) where she acted with Ritu Verma. Besides, she had acted in a couple of ads for an ice-cream brand.

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 4:17:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/dhaassyam-geetha-bhascker-the-aunt-next-door/article19384930.ece

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