People Will Always Judge You: Shama Sikander

Shama’s web series Maaya gives us a little dose of love, sex, dhokha and BDSM

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You might remember actor Shama Sikander from Yeh Meri Life Hai, a show that aired between 2003-2005 on Indian television. Her character, Pooja Mehta, was one of the bubbliest girls on the small screen. After stints as a host of a Bollywood show and a few films in a little over a decade, Shama is making her debut in the online world with Vikram Bhatt’s Maaya.

Since it is touted as the desi version of Fifty Shades of Grey, we dug a little deeper and found out that Maaya has a lot of love, sex, and dhokha, which makes it an interesting watch.

Bayside Journal caught up with Shama Sikander to know more about her role:

On how many levels do you relate to this role?

I am a very bold person in life, and quite a rebel too. To be honest, I didn’t have any reservations about Maaya. My main concern was the treatment Vikram Bhatt would give it. But knowing him, he is a wonderful person and a friend, so that kind of made it easy.

How was your experience working on this character?

It is a very demanding role, not just physically, but also mentally. It is a very sensitive subject and Vikram has done a fabulous job in portraying it as realistically, sensually, and sensitively as possible. I did my research on BDSM to understand the subject better. It was fun working on sets, and now, I miss shooting with them.

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Do you think doing such a role will lead to judgement from people, considering that this is the first time that this subject is being portrayed in a webseries in India?

People will always judge you no matter what you do. They will judge you even if you do the nicest thing in the world. You can’t stop them from judging you. But yes, it is the first time that someone is openly talking about this in India. I also think that a lot of people in India have read the book Fifty Shades of Grey and now they have a bit of knowledge, especially the younger generation. One will be surprised at how bold and free they are and how free they want to be from all these typical social norms. I don’t really fear about what people are going to say. The only fear I have is what I am going to think about myself. And I think it was great; it was a wonderful opportunity.

What made you say yes to this role?

It is the same story that Vikram had shared with me five years ago. And nothing happened for five years. I was just chatting with him and he said, “Hey, would you like to come over and listen to this subject and be part of it ?” After I heard it, I had this weird smile on my face. So I was quite sure that this project is made for me and I should do it. Vikram is a friend and I trust him completely. He is someone who respects people; he never takes advantage of anyone. He understands the vulnerability of a human and I really adore and admire this quality of his. I knew I was going to be safe hands, so I said yes.

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What challenges did you face while playing Soniya’s character in Maaya?

In the beginning, it took me three to four days to understand my character Soniya. Everybody has multiple personalities, one they show to their family, one to their friend, and one just for them. It took me time to understand what exactly he wanted. In the beginning, I was so confused, but Vikram was so clear about Soniya. How she is going to react, walk, think, and talk. He knew it. And that is great for an actor when the director is so clear. So I just heard him carefully and I just followed what he told me. After two to three days, I was Soniya and Soniya was me. Also, understanding the BDSM mentality was a bit difficult. To understand how they think and what makes them do it.