Name to know: Geetanjali Thapa


Name to know: Geetanjali Thapa

Meet this little-known National Award winner – and an accomplished goat-whisperer

By Vatsala Chhibber  July 21st, 2019

Kamala, a tribal woman from a village in Himachal Pradesh, embarks on a journey to find her missing husband – daughter and baby goat in tow – in director Geetu Mohandas’ debut feature Liar’s Dice, which premiered at the Mumbai Film Festival in October last year. And which has just been selected as India’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, by the Film Federation of India.   

Kamala’s gauche mannerisms, ever so subtle – a faint curl of the lip, a slight waddle in her gait – are measured to perfection by Geetanjali Thapa, who won a National Award for her performance earlier this year.

Adapting to a three-year-old child, a two-week-old goat (that duly nibbled on her hair), and indie cinema’s poster boy Nawazuddin Siddiqui (he plays reluctant chaperone to the odd trio), was an easy task for Thapa. The real challenge was the merciless weather. “We were shooting near the Indo-Tibetan border, where the temperature would drop below zero,” she says.

The Sikkim native’s flurry of critical acclaim began with her debut film, Kamal KM’s I.D. (2012), which won her best performance awards last year (at the LA Film Festival and Imagineindia International Film Festival, Madrid), soon followed by the Cannes premiere of her noir drama, Monsoon Shootout (2013). Next up for the 25-year-old is White Lies, co-starring Emraan Hashmi, by Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic (No Man’s Land, 2001).

Despite her success, Thapa isn’t dreaming of blockbusters. Ask about her next steps and her careful response is, “I just hope I get to do good films, enjoy what I do and stay happy.”  

You may want to read: Name to know: Sanam Saeed