Heroes are not the ones we see on the big screen, but those who fight their circumstances, who refuse to bow down, who refuse to give up, and who refuse to suffer. We live among few such brave souls. One of them is Geeta Tandon, one of the most successful stuntwomen in Bollywood, who fought so hard against her life struggles that they gave up!
While sharing her inspiring struggle with HoB, Geeta Tandon shared with HoB, how life snatched away from her childhood at a very young age:
“Growing up, I was a tomboy. I did odd jobs — colouring hair, getting groceries – all for 50 Paise. My father was a singer and he barely earned. This money helped feed us. Because of this, people questioned my ‘character’ and I was married off at 14.”
After struggling so much with poverty, Geeta thought that her marriage into a wealthy household will bring happiness. But, unfortunately, it made her life a living hell.
“I’d only seen poverty, so I thought marriage in a wealthy household was an escape. How wrong I was. The abuse began the day after our marriage. He’d beat me over nothing. He used to drink, so his rage attacks were normal. But I couldn’t see them coming. My mother-in-law saw everything, but she said I had no right to resist. Even my father told me, ‘once a girl’s married, she belongs there until death’. This was worse than death.
Once, my husband’s friends came home and I served them water. They told him how nice I was. That night I got the worst beating- our neighbours had to intervene. He told them ‘I was trying to attract other men.’
At 15, he forced himself on me. When I tried to resist, he said it was my duty. That’s how I got pregnant. The beatings didn’t stop- he’d hit me with a belt, leaving me with nasty bruises. The police asked me to resolve the matter within the family or find a relative to live with. Where would I go? Back to my father who told me I had to stay with my abusive husband till death?”
But she refused to suffer! She further shared how love for her kids pushed her to recreate her life.
“I had a miscarriage. The doctor yelled at me for getting pregnant so young. I had nothing to say.
I got pregnant twice after and gave birth to my children — I finally found some happiness. But I didn’t want my children to grow up in the same world. So I left.
We stayed with my sister for a while but her family didn’t want the responsibility. So we went to a Gurdwara. They thought I was a beggar – I washed vessels, cooked food and lived on charity. I decided to build my life back and find work–any work.
I danced in Bhangra groups and saved money to rent a room. But no one was ready to lease, because I was a divorced woman. Finally, I got a room in Vashi. My husband would scream outside my house calling me a prostitute. Still, I didn’t break. I began asking for more work when I came across a job opening for a stuntwoman for a tv show. I grabbed it, I already knew how to ride a bike and was a tomboy growing up – so, action was my thing!
I was nervous on my first day, but I loved it — I finally had work.
I’ve been a professional stunt woman since the last 10 years–I’ve worked with Rohit Shetty and met all these actors– my dream is to become an action director!
5 years ago, I even bought the house I was renting–it was the best moment of my life. Never again would I depend on anyone. I hosted Ganpati for the first time in that house and bought an A.C for my children– it’s our heaven.
They say a woman is like tea–put her in hot water and you’ll know how strong she is. I’ve walked through fire, so now you can imagine my strength…it’s limitless.”
As a society we are so obsessed with celebrating our reel heroes, that we hardly care about these real heroes and their struggle. At IFORHER, we celebrate such real heroes, who inspire many through their real struggles and fighting spirit. We are proud of Geeta Tandon and how she fought her life circumstances to create a life of her dreams.