‘I expected Emraan to throw tantrums’

Geetanjali Thapa, who won a National Award for her performance in last year's festival hit, Liar's Dice, was battling an anxiety attack when she was told by producer Guneet Monga that Oscar-winning director Danis Tanovic was in town, looking for a leading lady for his upcoming film Tigers.

"I quickly watched all his movies to get a sense of how he functions," says the actress, who leaves this evening for the Toronto Film Festival, where Tigers is having its world premiere on Sunday.

The actress reveals that her co-star, Emraan Hashmi, who took time out to be present for the auditions, helped her with her lines. "I was very nervous but he made it easy for me," she recalls.

The film is about an activist (played by Emraan), who blows the lid on a multinational company selling infant baby food. Geetanjali essays the role of his supportive wife. "The first few days, I was really tense to be acting with Emraan and Supriya Pathak, but even if I blew my lines, they wouldn't make me feel like a newcomer. I thought being a star, Emraan would throw tantrums but both, Danis and he were chilled out on the sets," she asserts.

She plays a Pakistani woman in the film. Coming from Sikkim, did her physical appearance create a hitch? "As long as I said my lines convincingly, they were okay," smiles Geetanjali, admitting that she has faced bias when auditioning for Bollywood films. "They say I don't look Indian enough. It's baffling but I don't fuss over it. If it's a good role, it will come to me," she is confident.

Many believed that an actress of North Eastern origin should have been cast in the role of Mary Kom, which has now been essayed by Priyanka Chopra. Geetanjali retorts, "I wouldn't want to be cast just because I'm a North Eastern. Eventually, it's a big film and it makes sense to cast a top actress. There's nothing wrong in ensuring that your film is commercially viable."