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Home»Interview»Exclusive! Geetanjali Kulkarni: I was attracted to fame 20 years back, now only work matters»

Exclusive! Geetanjali Kulkarni: I was attracted to fame 20 years back, now only work matters

Geetanjali Kulkarni plays a pivotal role in the upcoming Zee5 series, Rangbaaz: Darr Ki Rajneeti.

  • Shaheen Irani

Last Updated: 09.29 AM, Jul 28, 2022

Exclusive! Geetanjali Kulkarni: I was attracted to fame 20 years back, now only work matters
Geetanjali Kulkarni (Instagram).

Soon to be seen in Rangbaaz: Darr Ki Rajneeti (Rangbaaz 3), Geetanjali Kulkarni says that she was attracted to fame and recognition 20 years back. The ‘Gullak’ actress shares her working style, why she works on lesser projects and what fame means to her today. Of course, Geetanjali also speaks in length about her character Ahilya Devi and her wish to become like the person she plays.

Excerpts from the interview…

Firstly, congratulations on Gullak 3. You guys did it again. And thank you for picking up a different character yet again in Rangbaaz 3. While we do understand it is different, can you tell me the one distinctive thing that made you also say yes to the project?

This is a political-drama and political-thriller. It is very different from Gullak. It's a different genre, a slice-of-life.

Sorry ma'am, I'm trying to understand the character. While we get the feel that the genres are different, how would you say that the characters are different from one another? Since you play a mother even here.

Since the genre of the show is different, thus her character is also different. Ahilya Devi is a part of the drama created. Her character is inspired from those dramas. She is someone who raises her voice for truth and justice. I have been inspired by such people in life. When I heard this story and character, I loved the fact that Ahilya Devi would speak up till her very last breath. That was very inspiring for me. I feel that these small things elevate our mood as humans. Such people inspire us and Ahilya Devi inspired me. Thus, I took up the role.

Tell me a little more about your role.

I play the mother to the character Deepu played by Sohum Majumdar. He is a martyr because of Saheb. She fights for justice for her son. She's actually very tough. She challenges a powerhouse politician like Saheb and forces the system to react. She doesn't back out and fights till her last breath. She goes to Supreme Court too. She's so strong that Deepu is also inspired from her.

Even as her son died, Ahilya Devi is devastated but she doesn't cry. A normal citizen would be scared but Ahilya Devi's strength is that she is not scared of what could happen. She shakes everyone up with her protests. That is why so many people support her. She gives people the motivation to fight back. That is how Ahilya Devi is. She doesn't give up and rather challenges Saheb and the system.

Which quality of Ahilya Devi do you want to imbibe as an actor or a person?

I would like to be as tough as Ahilya Devi. I'm not that tough. I don't have the courage to go against a system. It's very tough to speak against someone and fight for the right thing. It's just not possible for a common actor like me. I take up such roles sub-consciously because a part of me wants to be that. I'm not an activist, I'm an actor but at least I can contribute in some way. It might be a very small contribution through the character and story but it is my way of sending the message across. I'm a common man who doesn't have the knowledge or power. While I'm upset about that, at the same time, I'm also happy that I get such roles as an actor that makes me feel powerful. I try to not be scared of the people I deal with. I'm just happy that this profession has let me explore that side.

So, you wish you didn't have the fear of people? You wish you could raise your voice against the wrongdoings?

I am not that way right now. Sure, I want to be like that. It's very difficult to be like that in today's time. You need to observe and understand this since childhood. I can't suddenly become like her at this age. I know how to act because I have been training for it since 25 years. Activists live a different life. They have been raising their voice since school and college. If I say that I would speak against someone, that will just be talks because I don't have the power to go through with it. It takes a lot of guts and takes experience. If I start now, then maybe after 25 years, I can come close to Ahilya Devi. I'm almost 49 so I don't even dream about being able to do something like that. However, I respect and admire every woman who can raise their voice for the right. I want the society to follow them too.

Tell me about your preparation process. Was it reading and trying to understand the mindset of revolutionaries?

I'm very politically aware. I read newspapers and follow people who follow politics. Maybe that is why I said yes to the story. I found the role challenging. The narration was enough, actually. The story was penned in detail. We keep on watching political dramas. So, we're all aware. I'm at least very interested in this topic and so, am very lucky to have found this project. All these people have affected. It is a very inspiring role for me. Everything I have seen and read or even my conversations with people who are involved in politics, all of that helped me build the character. I researched about the condition in North India 25 years back. However, more than the research, this story has drama, thrill and emotions, so that is the focus. I also bring a Bihari tone to the character.

So, can you talk in Bihari language now?

No, no, no. I have created the illusion that I can speak in Bihari (giggles). There's an accent and tone of the language when my character talks.

How did the show happen to you? Were you working on another show when this happened? Were you not able to take it up and then this eventually fell into place? Tell me about that.

I don't take up a lot of work. Very rarely have I shot for two-three projects simultaneously. There was just a day left for Gullak shoot and I started shooting for Rangbaaz too. So, they happened back-to-back. While shooting for Rangbaaz, I didn't take up any other project. This is the pace that I like. I try to do one project at a time rather than 2-3. I'm not the kind of person who takes up 10 projects at one time. I don't have the strength to do that. I want to stay in one place, give it my all and then move on to the next. I really like that I can make the fullest of one project at a time.

When you work on one project at a time, you get deeply invested in the character. Is that why you take up lesser projects?

Yeah, absolutely. I like to concentrate one thing and not do 10 things at a time. I'm not a social media person and only post things about my work. I like to keep my life private. I roam around and work with children in villages. I'm in Ahmednagar in a school I'm associated with. I'm not the kind of person who only focuses on acting and taking on projects. I want to do different things in life so my experience also grows. If I travel places, then only can I bring my experience to the table, right? I don't only want to meet directors and casting directors and give auditions. That is one part of my life but I also have another part of my life. I'm very comfortable about that in my life. I wouldn't have imagined the kind of people I met and the experiences I gained through travelling.

When you travel, do people recognise you? Share some experiences.

Very few people recognise me and I'm very happy about it. Of course, being recognized is a good feeling but I don't know if I can handle many people recognizing me. I adore the stars who handle them. My personality is very seamless. I look like 90% of the women and I'm very happy about it. I was attracted to fame 20 years back but now I like my work better. These are by-products. I'm very comfortable with my status. It's not awkward when people recognise me and at the same time, not many people know me. So, that is very comforting.

Have you followed the franchise and been a fan of the show?

Unfortunately, I had not watched the shows. I know there was Zeeshan Ayub and Jimmy Sheirgill in the first two seasons. It was great to work with the director Sachin, who worked on Rangbaaz even before. I'm very old-school and don't consume a lot of OTT content. I take time out in a week and watch OTT. I'm a very active person who cannot sit in one place. I keep working at home also, which is again why I consume very little.

Your upcoming projects?

I completed an independent film called Minimal. The shoot has just ended and it will come some time later. I'm doing Moonwalk with Voot and Gullak 4 with Sony LIV. Gullak is being written, so hopefully even that will commence shoot this year itself. Aarya is also getting season 3 and I might be a part of that too.