'It is my dream to be part of Bigg Boss'
'Being a stunt-woman is a risky and non-glamorous job. If you are okay with getting hurt, and working odd hours, and keeping fit even after having kids, then you are welcome.'
Meet Geeta Tandon, contestant of Khatron Ke Khiladi 5.
The fifth season of Khatron Ke Khiladi will see an interesting mix of people.
One of them is stunt-woman Geeta Tandon, 28, who has jumped from rooftops and performed hair-raising bike stunts for many films.
She stands in for actresses who need stunt doubles for the more dangerous sequences.
The young woman, who describes herself as “fearless”, tells Rajul Hegde why she took to this unusual profession and what it means to her.
Tell us about yourself.
I have been working as a stunt-woman for the past seven years. I love doing this work and get paid for it too.
Due to a financial crisis, I had to look for a job. I used to do folk dances for stage shows, ads and as a film extra. But I wasn’t earning enough to run my family. So I started looking for a better job.
Then I learnt about this (stunts as body double). A friend of mine told me about a show coming up on Bindaas channel which had just launched then.
I worked as a body double for the lead actress in a show called Shakira. I liked the job. I felt I could fulfil my passion and also earn more money.
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Image: Geeta Tandon
'I want to educate my kids and give them a good upbringing'
For which actresses have you been a body double?
For Parineeti Chopra in Hasee Toh Phasee, Divya Dutta in Ragini MMS 2, Prachi Desai in Bol Bachchan and Deepika Padukone in Chennai Express.
I did Delhi 6, Click, Corporate, Agyaat... I have done south Indian films as well.
What motivates you to do stunts?
I just wanted to become a stunt-woman and give my kids a good upbringing.
I have studied only till the seventh class. I have a son and daughter studying in class seven and eight.
I want to educate them and make them earn a monthly salary of one lakh rupees. After that, I will do less work (smiles).
Image: Shah Rukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in Chennai Express
Photographs: Nisha Kothari in Agyaat
'My kids don't know much about my job'
Are you the only earning member in the family?
Yes. I am a single mother. I started working after the divorce.
Do your kids know what job you do?
I don’t tell them much. Their job is to focus on studies.
Are you insured?
Yes. We are members of the stunt fighter’s association.
Image: Prachi Desai in Bol Bachchan
'Rohit Shetty takes care of everyone from junior artists to spot boys'
Have you been hurt doing a stunt?
Yes, but that film did not release. It was for Zeenat Aman. I got a spine fracture but God saved me.
Which has been the toughest stunt you’ve done so far?
In Agyaat, I did the stunt for the heroine Nisha Kothari.
While shooting for Ram Gopal Varma’s Chakravyuh, I had to jump from the second floor.
How did you get to work with Rohit Shetty (the host of KKK 5)?
I first worked with him for Bol Bachchan.
I have been in this industry for seven years but I haven’t seen a person like Rohit sir. He is such a nice human being, he takes care of everyone from junior artists to spot boys.
Image: Rohit Shetty at the Khatron Ke Khiladi launch
Photographs: Abhijit Mhamunkar
'The payment is good and I am happy being a fighter'
Would you encourage women to join this field?
It is a risky and non-glamorous job. If you are okay with getting hurt, and working during odd hours, and keeping fit even after having kids, then you are welcome.
Are there many stunt women in the industry?
There are about four stunt women.
Have you faced any difficulty as it is a male-dominated space?
It used to happen earlier when people used to question what girls are doing in this area. But now they know that even women can do it.
Are you happy with the kind of payment you get?
The payment is good and I am happy being a fighter.
What benefits do you hope to get from KKK 5?
I want to take part in Bigg Boss. It is my dream to be part of that show (smiles).
Image: Nisha Kothari in Agyaat