Smita Gondkar is the actress she hopes you will never recognise by name but only by deed. Bollywood’s most important female stunt actor, her derring-do list of achievements would make Fearless Nadia feel proud. “Why would anyone not notice my skills first?” she asks. It’s a fair question from a woman who has ridden a motorcycle off a ramp, over a boat and into the Arabian Sea – as well as having fallen forty floors from a multistory building.
A US-returnee, Smita has also led in movies herself, including The Awakening, a movie about the rootlessness of the Sindh community uprooted from Pakistan and the efforts of a Sindh NRI to find herself. “I can understand this search for Indianness very well because I have worked abroad myself,” she says, “The urge to know my country better eventually brought me back. Anybody who hasn’t been living in India, which is so different from the West, will understand the ethos of the film.”
Smita, who is a hotel and management graduate, and used to work for Disney Cruise lines, is looking for roles of substance whilst continuing to build her stunt career. She is an expert in judo, a kayaking trainer, a wine and liquor specialist and an event manager, besides being an actress. Perhaps one day we will see her in an Heroic Trio type movie with Neetu Chandra and Gul Panag!!