Quick five Friday Review

Playing women of substance

Actress Geetha   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

S he has wrapped up a schedule of a serial’s shooting and is on her way to the airport. Before the next schedule starts, she has to complete shooting for films in Kannada, Telugu and Tamil. After winding those up, she will return home, to the United States to be with her family.

Thirty-seven years and still counting… Geetha is in no mood to sit back and relax. She started acting when she was in class eight, that too with Rajinikanth (in Bhairavi , as his sister). With an enviable portfolio of films in Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu, Geetha is known for her portrayal of powerful roles on screen.

Although she is not a Malayali, she has endeared herself to viewers of Malayalam cinema with strong roles, both as a heroine and as a supporting actress. She continues to get roles that aren’t run-of-the-mill. Geetha is currently acting in a Malayalam serial, ‘Sthreethwam’, which is aired on Surya TV. Excerpts from an interview with the actress:

Foray into television

Actually I have done only one Malayalam serial before this. I have acted in a couple of serials in Tamil. Since I have to come down from the U.S. for the shoot, I have to adjust the dates accordingly and can't do all the work that comes my way, be it films or serials.

What made me say yes to 'Sthreethwam' was the story itself. ‘Sthreethwam’ is written and directed by Saji Lukose. I play Susannamma, a widow struggling to make ends meet to take care of her two daughters. The storyline is different. Unlike many soaps, there aren’t any mothers-in-law, daughters-in-law, sister-in-law et al (laughs).

The Malayali audience

Malayalam cinema has always been special for me. It is here that I learnt all about acting. I had done only Kannada and Telugu films and had little idea about the Malayalam film industry when I got an opportunity to act here. All I knew or heard about was Prem Nazir, Sheelamma and Saradamma.

When I was given Panchagni, I couldn’t speak the language and Hariharan sir [director of the movie scripted by M. T. Vasudevan Nair] and the team supported me a lot. It is here that I got roles that brought out the best in me and there are so many roles that are close to my heart, such as those in Vaishali, Valsalyam, Oru Vadakkan Veeragatha, Lal Salam, Sukhamo Devi…

On choosing roles

I never had to do that because unless it is a good role, irrespective of its length, the directors don’t approach me. I have been lucky and I have always got my share of importance in the movie. If you look at my work in Mallu Singh, Zachariyayude Garbhinikal, North 24 Katham or Salala Mobiles, you will see that my characters had a space that was significant in the film.

Changing phases of cinema

The present generation knows everything by the time they do their first movie, whereas in my case I learnt it all very slowly. As for the film industry, trends keep changing and that makes working in the industry very interesting. Family drama, fantasy/mythological tales, storylines with larger-than-life heroes, realistic movies… we have seen it all. Now you have heroes themselves doing comedy.

Balancing family and films

My family is supportive of my career. My husband, Vasan, had asked me whether I wanted to act after our marriage. He had no problems when I expressed my desire to continue acting because this is the only work I know! Our son, Ram, is now 16. However, they aren’t exposed much to my movies. In fact, Ram stopped watching my movies as a young boy saying, “Amma you are always crying and I don’t want to see that.”

‘Sthreethwam’ airs on Surya TV, Monday to Friday, 6.30 p.m.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 12:16:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/actress-geetha-on-her-foray-into-television/article7915988.ece

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