The Real Fighter: Geeta Tandon, a story of a Survivor and her Rebirth from Martial Terror
What does Cinema mean to an Indian? Each aspect of the movie attracts us. The larger than life appearances, the charismatic scenery, nail-biting action sequences, absorbing and intriguing storyline all takes us to a land of ecstasy. We celebrate movies. For some of us, the best way of portrayal of emotions is the cinema. The large screen holds us to our seat, it mesmerizes us. And when it comes to the action sequences, we are blown out. Some of the action sequences just take away our breath. Even though the role of technology plays a vital role is the actual portrayal of the action sequences but there are some daredevils, unsung heroes who do the real stunts but are never acknowledged by the world.
And to this male-dominated, male-centric field, a lady has proved her ability and has become one of the topmost, sought after stuntwoman of the Hindi film industry, Geeta Tandon. Doing stunts in movies is an unusual choice of work for an Indian woman. Out of 581 stunt artists registered with the Movie Stunt Artist Association in Mumbai, including Geeta only 12 are women. Geeta is one of the few women in the Hindi film industry who has made a name for herself since most of the stunt artists usually remain invisible or lost behind the larger than life personae of the superstars they fill up for or perform for.
Sometimes Truth is Even More Painful than Fiction…….
Geeta Tandon was born in Kota Rajasthan to a Jagran Singer and his wife. The family was shifted to Mumbai in search of better opportunities. But her life took a dreadful and an endless stream of mishaps when she lost her mother at the tender age of 9. Her aunts were reluctant to take care of her and even forced her father to marry her off. At the tender age of 13, Geeta was married to a 24-year-old man. Even though she was not ready for the marriage, she gave her consent for matrimony in hope of a secured house and her own family.
But all her expectations and dreams were shattered when she was not only raped but also abused mentally and physically on the very first night of her marriage. She was treated as a sex machine, domestic slave and punching bag by her husband. By the time she was 18, she had two kids to look after. Her father, her aunt were not ready to take her back, moreover, she was illiterate. Her life story is nothing to be surprised of. This painful tale is faced by many of the hundreds of Indian girls in many major as well as small cities. Marital rape is still not seen as a crime in our country. Even the legislators are reluctant and won’t touch this problem since it is like a political and cultural hot potato.
Eventually, when she found she couldn’t take it anymore, she decided to leave her husband and move on. She tried thrice to run away from him and even complained in the local police station, but unfortunately, not even a case was registered since it was between husband and wife. But once she understood that her husband wouldn’t change his ways, she took the greatest leap of her life and ran away from that dangerous environment.
A Lioness with an Ultimate Aim
Image Source: sheroes.com
Once out of her in-law’s house, she took shelter in gurudwara but she understood she needed to work for the better future of her kids. She survived on odd jobs like making 500 rotis from 8 in the morning till 2 in the afternoon or dancing to bhangra tunes even though she hasn’t danced before. She was grilled and more than once she had to fight for her self-respect and dignity. She escaped being a sex worker by a whisker when she was taken to a massage center. During those days when she was trying to do multi kind of jobs, she was asked if she would do a stunt.
She was injured and her had burns on her face after the first assignment but once her injury was cured she started to pursue this profession since she found that this work provided her with income. She learned fast that if she needed to survive in this field she had to court the danger and face her fear. To be successful she had to be better than those who were already established in this field and needed to have an edge over the others. She learned new skills like doing car-chase stunts which were dangerous but which made her indispensable. Moreover, she got herself registered with the movie stunt association who helped her to be trained for free and also compensate for any kind of injuries caused during the shoots and well as travel expenses.
Her dreams and her achievements….
Geeta has never been trained by anyone for this job, she had learned in on the spot. Her sheer hard work and fight for her dignity took her to one of the most respectful and dared job in the film industry. She has come a long way from marital rape survivor to the most sought after stuntwoman for actresses like Alia Bhatt, Aishwarya Rai, Deepika Padukone, and Parineeti Chopra. She was noticed and become a household name when she appeared in Khatron Ke Khiladi Season 5 where she faced the camera for the first time of her career. There is no stopping this lady from living her dreams and giving her two children reasons to be proud of her and she has few goals that keep her motivated.
Image Source: homegrown.co.in
“I looked at this profession as just a means to earn money. Eventually, I found my passion. I want to be a stunt director. At the same time, I want to open my own fitness training institute, and train people at affordable prices. I have realized that we do not have well equipped and efficient fitness training centers like the ones abroad. “Saying these lines she roars with laughter but her fighter smile tells it all.
Geeta Tandon is one of those gems which came out of the deepest and the hottest mines but still outshine all and become the most priceless piece of treasure.