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A Reality Springboard into a Major Career: Actress Geetika Budhiraja

Sometimes talent is undeniable. There are those who seem destined for success. This doesn’t negate talent and hard work, rather it reinforces it. In the world of film and TV, there are many places available for actors to exhibit their skill but there are those who seem to be embraced by the camera and therefore the public. Geetika Budhiraja has gained international notoriety for her acting in film, television, and theater but her first production was MTV’s Roadies. While not even eighteen-years-old, it was clear that she stood out; not due to sensational over acting but rather by bringing a natural composure and emoting on camera. MTV’s Roadies is the longest running youth reality show on air in India. It’s a cultural touchstone for many television viewers. Geetika was chosen out of 10,000 aspiring to be on the show. She became the most talked about character on seasons nine and ten of this long running series. The actress quickly transitioned to scripted productions with great success, receiving accolades for her roles in Hollywood and Bollywood films.

Ranvijay Singha won the first season of the show in 2003 and assumed hosting duties of Roadies from 2004 to 2014. Singha can be seen in Bollywood blockbuster films like Toss: A Flip of Destiny (2009), London Dreams (2009), and Action Replay (2010). Due to his tenure on Roadies, he knows what audiences react to on the show. He recognized the positive star quality in Geetika stating, “I chose her because no pressure is strong enough to make her go against her morals. Her young enthusiastic passion is unstoppable and a major asset for the show.” Budhiraja’s unmalleable resolve in ethics and loyalty made her a fast fan favorite on the show. When the show placed her in a somewhat compromising situation (a typical drama inducing ploy in reality TV), Geetika proclaimed, “Right now you’re testing me and I’ve succeeded. My biggest fear in life is to lose my self-respect and to lose my identity. I’d never do anything like that.” …one could almost hear fans lining up as the confident teen drew her personal line in the sand. She emphatically states that this was no manifested character but rather her simply being herself.

Budhiraja points to the physical and mental challenge of Roadies for making her aware of her investment in the practice of yoga and imparting it to other actors. The intensity of Roadies was only conquered for her by mind over matter, something she became familiar with in her childhood with yoga and which has continued to present day. She now teaches a yoga class for actors as a way of helping her peers see the benefits. She relates, “Yoga is basically connecting to my body and soul through meditation. In acting it’s essential to be out of my head and be in my body. I can think an idea as a character but bringing it to reality requires body work and character instincts. Acting is doing; playing an idea in acting is nothing less than a plague to me. I let my body lead and my mind learn.”

There’s definitely some truth in her words and her path. Geetika’s career since Roadies has blossomed into numerous television and film roles, many of which are internationally acclaimed. As Dr. Sujata in the TV series Balika Vadhu (winner of more than thirty awards including(6) Indian Television Academy Awards, (5) Colors Golden Petal Awards, (6) Indian Telly Awards), or as Naina on the comedy series College Romance (one of the highest rated Indian series with more than ten million views).

All of the indicators of her modern day success are evident in her early television appearance in Roadies. Tenacity without abandoning her values, preparation to persevere when circumstances seem mentally or physically overwhelming, and a desire to express herself in different scenarios; Geetika seemed more than qualified to attain the international career she now possesses. In many ways, the work was the easy part. She concedes, “There are certain aspects of being a public figure that you just don’t understand until you are in that situation. Roadies was my first taste of public fame. People would just come up and take a photo without asking or try to get me to reveal things about the show that I was contractually obligated to not say; it was definitely a new experience. People understand that my work in television and films these days is simply me being a character and they are very complimentary and appreciative. I love acting and I love where I am in my career so I wouldn’t change my past…but I’m happy to be in this place in my career.”

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