Fighting the Good Fight with Geetika Budhiraja
In a manner of speaking, Geetika Budhiraja has been fighting to be an actress since childhood. Her mother dissuaded her from watching television (“It will ruin your eyes and you’ll wear glasses as thick as your grandmothers”) and placed the dvd copy or James Cameron’s Oscar Award-Winning film Titanic on the top shelf, just out of reach. After fashioning a makeshift ladder to reach it she was saddened to find the dvd box empty. She decided then to never feel that disappointment again. Setting her own course as an actress, she has achieved at an early age the distinction of being in TV and film productions with tens of millions of viewers and receiving awards for her performances in competition with Oscar winners. It’s a benevolent and creative justice she has seized. As a part of both Indian and American productions, Budhiraja also proves the positive side of international talent collaboration in different film communities across the world. It’s the wave of the modern entertainment production industry and Geetika is one of the artists leading the charge.
Budhiraja first came into the national public eye via India’s longest running reality television series Roadies. As the tenacious unwavering straight arrow who worked harder than those around her, she became instantly recognizable. Call it great casting or call it star quality, it wasn’t long before the actress completed her two seasons on this iconic Indian TV series and moved on to scripted shows like Balika Vadhu. Airing in a plethora of locations like Serbia, Indonesia, Indonesia, Viet Nam, and beyond, Balika Vadhu has won more than thirty awards including five Colors Golden Petal Awards, six Indian Telly Awards, and six Indian Television Academy Awards. The show takes on some very serious and controversial topics. Geetika appeared on the series as Dr. Sujata. The actress states, “My storyline was very intense and something which I felt strongly about. In preparation for this role, I travelled to orthodox villages to get a deeper sense of the location. My character is a young doctor in a village where pregnant women are shamed and blamed for the gender of the fetus and further forced to commit female feticide and infanticide. In the patriarchal illiterate and dangerous society, Dr. Sujata bets her life and fights against the entire village to save the girl fetus. I play the revolution to save the female infants.”
Adding to the work vetting her comedic sensibilities is Geetika’s appearance in Mumbai-based filmmaker Pooja Pathak’s Expectations vs Reality. This director (also of the award-winning film Speak Up) says of the actress “Geetika has a natural charm that lights up each frame. Switching in the contrast of each emotion as per the requirement of Expectations vs Reality wasn’t easy but Geetika surprised me with her professionalism and preparation for each juxtaposition. While casting her, I just knew she had a sweet and sour edge to her, however…she completely spellbound the production with her readiness and comedic timing.”
Perhaps the most riveting performance of this international talent thus far was Budhiraja’s role as Sam in the film Borders. An orphaned refugee with no memory of the first seven years of her life, Sam is constantly haunted by her damaged childhood. In an attempt to deal with the PTSD, she throws her life into service and finds comfort and connection in the abandoned senior citizens she cares for. Her altruism not only heals her but has a positive effect on those in her sphere of influence. Budhiraja was recognized with the award for Outstanding Lead Actress (Drama) at the Ojai short film festival. Other notable films at the festival included Night Shift (produced by Viola Davis’ production company JuVee) and Little Match Girl starring two-time Academy Award winner Kim Magnusson and Golden Globe nominee Rebecca Ferguson. Regrettably, Geetika was in India when news of her award reached her. She states,“ Receiving the ‘Outstanding lead actress, Drama’ award while I was with my family in India, I felt so much love from the states. I felt acknowledged and appreciated. I’m filled with gratitude and believe it ever more firmly that dreams do come true. We just gotta work and make it happen!”
Constantly in motion, upcoming projects for this in-demand actress include a US-Indian collaboration titled RASH (with an Emmy award-winning writer attached to the project) and the TV series Unremembered. Not much can be revealed about either of these productions as they are yet to be released but it’s certain that Geetika Budhiraja will be bringing the versatility that has become her calling card. You might laugh or you might be in tears but you’ll definitely feel what she brings to the role and story.