Geetika Tyagi: Sensational, sexist headlines are deplorable
The actor chats about her part in Class of ’83 and the ongoing flux in Bollywood
Class of ’83 is the story of Vijay Singh, an upright cop demoted to the post of Dean of the police academy. Vijay, played by Bobby Deol, is haunted by his past: several of his men were ambushed and killed by a gangster allied to the chief minister. Just as tragically, Vijay’s wife, Sudha, died in hospital while he was away. As the story progresses, Vijay enlists five cadets to redeem himself.
Sudha, who appears through flashbacks and reveals Vijay at his most tender, is played by Geetika Tyagi. The actor had previously appeared in the shows City of Dreams and Powder. In this interview, Geetika shared her experience of working on Class of ’83 and collaborating with Bobby Deol.
What was the best response you got for Class of ’83?
I recently received a note on social media that the film is not just a revenge story, it’s also Vijay and Sudha’s love story, their relationship, and the burden that he carries. That remark is my favourite one so far.
What did you like most about your character?
That she is understanding and giving. She is simple herself, and yet understands the complexities that come with his job, that she tries to be a bridge between her husband and her son. And that she has the last word in all family matters. “Ghar mein sahib main hoon,” she says.
Bobby has been praised for his performance as Dean Vijay Singh.
Bobby did not come with any starry chip on the shoulder. He submitted himself to the film to become Vijay Singh. But, there is no denying that he was a huge star and still has those movie star qualities like charisma, watchability, and with age, there is sincerity and honesty in his eyes.
He was very professional. We first met at his office, Sunny Super Sound, for a reading with the director. We went through the lines, rehearsed like two normal actors. He made sure that his co-actors, whether it was me or the young cadets, did not feel that he was distant. He had his own life experiences to bring to our track and he did not hold back because of inhibitions.
You recently tweeted about the situation in Bollywood and the media trial of Rhea Chakraborty.
Yes, I tweeted about it. Media plays a vital role in a democracy. Can we forget what major role investigative journalism and media activism played in the Jessica Laal murder case or in the Nitish Katara murder case? Widespread press coverage helped the victims and guilty were punished. But, sensational, sexist headlines and irresponsible coverage is deplorable.
It’s problematic when media outlets violate the norms of journalistic conduct. In this specific matter, I really feel we should leave it to the agencies to find the truth. There are larger concerns that the country is facing.
You’ve worked in both OTT and theatre. While one continues to thrive during the lockdown, the other is in danger.
I am doing City of Dreams Season 2 next for Hotstar. As for theatre, the pandemic has been devastating for the people surviving largely on the medium. The entire experience of professional theatre is about the live response that artistes receive from the audience. One may enjoy a movie at home, but theatre dramas, big productions or small, are enjoyed only in a gathering of audience and artists alike. Social distancing on stage is an oxymoron. One can only hope that the things bounce back for us theatre artists to the way they were before the outbreak.